Happiness Is Overrated: Simple Lessons on Finding Meaning in Each Moment (Paperback)
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Stop chasing happiness and reconnect to the meaning of each moment with this poignant guide, told through vignettes of life growing up as a Buddhist monk under the spiritual leader Thich Nhat Han.
We spend so much time in pursuit of happiness—trying to purchase it, experience it, meditate our way toward it—but happiness is elusive and doesn’t last. According to the teachings of the Buddha, this is not a problem! As Cuong Lu writes, “suffering is not a problem to be solved. It is a truth to be recognized.” Happiness Is Overrated invites us to look deeply at the truths in our lives—not glossing over or denying our suffering—and focus on the meaning and value already within us.
Each chapter shares a lesson drawn from Buddhist psychology and the Four Noble Truths, which are accessible to all readers. Short practices at the end of each of the 30 short chapters help readers apply the teachings in their own.
Happiness Is Overrated helps readers get in touch with their true selves and their true minds, through meditation and mindfulness practices that include paying attention to the breath, considering our minds, connecting with our hearts, interconnectedness with others, and more.
About the Author
CUONG LU, Buddhist teacher, scholar, and writer, was ordained a monk at Plum Village in France under the guidance of Thich Nhat Hanh. In 2000, he was recognized as a teacher in the Lieu Quan line of the Linji School of Zen Buddhism. Cuong is the founder of Mind Only School, leads retreats, and gives Dharma talks in Europe, the US, and Asia. He is the author of The Buddha in Jail: Restoring Lives, Finding Hope and Freedom (OR Books/Counterpoint Press) and Wait: A Love Letter to Those in Despair (Shambhala Publications).
“In this enlightening guide, Buddhist teacher Lu lays out lessons on finding value in every emotion. The author skillfully distills Buddhist psychology down to graspable spiritual principles and delivers them in a compassionate tone, making for easy reading and lessons readers will be able to apply to their lives. This deceptively brief entry has insight to spare.”—Publishers Weekly
“An insightful, inspiring, uplifting, guide for building a meaningful life, and living it to the full. Written in an engaging and easy-to-understand style, what makes this book stand out from the crowd is its incredibly practical approach. It’s full of simple but powerful practices that anybody can do to enrich and enhance their life, moment by moment.”—Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap
“Cuong Lu’s poetic and simple teachings can lead one to immediate peace. Meditation is in between each word and the application of that meditation is in his teaching stories. In this sweet and gentle text, Lu makes it clear that happiness is overrated when the joy in our lives is giving and receiving. This book is truly a gift.”—Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, author of the Deepest Peace and Shamanic Bones of Zen
“Cuong Lu's simple, down-to-earth teachings—rooted in a unique blending of the Yogachara teaching of Consciousness-Only and the Vietnamese Zen discipline of mindfulness—reveal the profound depth of Buddhadharma. A lay dharma heir to the late Thich Nhat Hahn, whose wisdom lingers throughout this small gem of a book, Cuong offers 30 refreshing contemplative prompts at the end of each chapter, inviting you to inquire into what he calls the ‘raw mind’ of innate freedom and connection. This is a wonderful guide for all those interested in mindfulness and meditation.”—Guo Gu, author of Silent Illumination and Passing through the Gateless Barrier
“‘Please remember this is not a theoretical presentation… It’s a call for peace.’ Cuong Lu’s Happiness is Overrated is that rarest of achievements: a deeply spiritual text providing simple yet profound bite-size, doable exercises offering a practical path to that place of great healing and lasting peace—our ‘true home’—which already resides within each of us if we know where and how to look. Like his beloved teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, Cuong Lu provides us with concrete ways to quiet, deepen and focus the mind on what truly matters in life.
After reading Happiness is Overrated, I found myself treasuring everyday opportunities to practice the exercises Lu so wisely and lovingly provides us. Suddenly, waiting in line at the bank, grocery store or post office are transformed from drudgery into precious opportunities to practice, to deepen, and to grow. And isn’t that what great literature does: awaken us to the possibilities offered in each moment? Happiness is Overrated belongs with Ram Dass’s Be Here Now, Bo Lozoff’s We’re All Doing Time and Eknath Easwaran’s The Mantram on that most important shelf in any personal library—the one labeled ‘Books that changed my life.’”—Brian Lindstrom, filmmaker