Resources to Deal with the Ups and Downs

Matthieu Ricard “I think we should clearly see what are the inner conditions that foster a genuine sense of flourishing, of fulfillment, that the quality of every instant of your life has a certain quality that you appreciate fully. So, you see, it's very different from imagining that constant happiness will be a kind of euphoria or endless succession of pleasant experiences. That's more like a recipe for exhaustion than happiness...

Pleasure depends very much on circumstances, on what triggers it. Then it's a sensation in a way. So, sensation changes from pleasurable to neutral and to unpleasurable...you can experience pleasure at the cost of other's suffering. So it's very vulnerable to the change of other circumstances. It doesn't help you to face the other circumstances better.

[But we can] think of happiness as a way of being that gives you the resources to deal with the ups and downs of life, that pervades all the emotional states, including sadness.”

~ Matthieu Ricard, from “The ‘Happiest’ Man in the World,” Speaking of Faith, November 12, 2009

A Tibetan dancer from Shechen Monastery in Nepal during a sacred dance performance in France. 2004.

Photographs by Matthieu Ricard