A Buddhist Monk’s Five Tips for Cultivating Happiness

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Photo: Courtesy of Motoki Tonn

When we heard that Gelong Thubten, Buddhist monk, meditation teacher, and the author of A Monk’s Guide to Happiness, was coming to Dubai, we jumped at the opportunity to ask him for his five top tips (just in case you don’t have time to read the full book) for cultivating happiness, which he calls “a trainable skill”. Read on for his advice.

 

1

Meditate

“I think it’s helpful to meditate every day, even if it’s only for ten or 15 minutes. Happiness is a state of mind, and you can cultivate that by learning how to get less caught up in negative thoughts and emotions. Meditation isn’t about trying to clear or empty the mind; it’s a training for getting less wrapped up in thoughts and feelings, letting them pass you by like clouds in the sky instead. That will weaken their hold over us, so that we can begin to choose happiness. It’s a good idea to attend a class to learn different meditation techniques.”

2

Practice Mindfulness

“It’s also useful to build a habit of practicing micro-moments of mindfulness many times per day. This can be done by bringing awareness to your body, like feeling the ground under your feet or the presence of the chair you are sitting on, just for a few seconds, many times per day. This helps bring your meditation into daily life.”

3

Express Gratitude

“When you wake up in the morning, cultivate gratitude. Just take a few moments to think about all the things in your life you could feel grateful for. That includes even difficult situations, as they can help us learn and grow.”

gelong thubten
Photo: Courtesy of Gelong Thubten
4

Have Compassion

“Compassion is a really important part of the meditation journey, and we can only be truly happy when we are living from a place of kindness. It’s good to remember to be kind to yourself and others, and to practice tolerance and forgiveness. Realize that everyone is just doing their best with all kinds of personal limitations, and try to be less judgemental.”

5

Look After Your Overall Wellbeing

“As well as using mind-training techniques, it’s of course essential to also take good care of the body. Eating healthy, nutritious food and including sensible amounts of regular exercise in your routine is important for your physical health and also helps with improving a sense of wellbeing, enabling you to feel calm and positive. It affects your body chemistry in a beneficial manner, which can help you to feel happy in a sustainable way.”


Gelong Thubten is a Buddhist monk, meditation teacher, and author from the UK. He has been teaching for over 20 years and is a world pioneer in the mindfulness movement.

Meet Gelong Thubten at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature from February 4 to 7, 2020.