A couple months ago I had picked up a book by the Dalai Llama about achieving happiness. There were several things that struck me from that book, and I’ll probably write about those later. The one thing in particular that struck me was the very analytical approach that Tibetan Buddhism takes in its view of the world Perhaps because of this, it was this book that really got me thinking about happiness in a more significant way than I ever have before.
Later I learned about the monk, Matthieu Ricard, a French Buddhist monk with a background in molecular science who had written and talked extensively about meditation. I was interested in seeing Ricard’s TED talk to learn more about some of what I had read in the Dalai Llama’s book. What surprised me and what I really found interesting in the talk was a discussion of the difference between happiness and pleasure.
Maybe this is obvious, but I immediately realized that I had never paid much attention to this difference. This fits in with the philosophy that I understand behind Buddhism. In many ways, what they define as happiness I might define more appropriately as contentment. Taken from this perspective, happiness and pleasure are very different. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it is an area I am interested in exploring a bit more.