Happiness, East and West
a book discussion course presented by Doug Muder at First Parish in Bedford
In 1998 the book The Art of Happiness was published. It was written
by the American psychologist Howard Cutler after many conversations with
the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. I was struck
by the similarity of this title to The Conquest of Happiness, which
was written by humanist philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1930. Reading these
two books back-to-back gives us a unique opportunity to see two great minds
approach the same basic human issue from two very different perspectives.
Not only can we hope to learn something about how to live a happier life,
we also get to see Buddhist and humanist thinking applied to a subject
that we care about and have opinions on.
I've prepared detailed notes on the two books, partly to aid the discussion
and partly to organize my own thoughts.