Book Interview: The Buddha’s Way of Happiness

Would you like to eliminate depression and feel happy everyday? If you answered, “yes” then a good book to read is The Buddha s Way of Happiness by Thomas Bien, Ph.D. To learn more about what The Buddha s Way of Happiness is about I have interviewed Dr. Bien.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

“I’m a psychologist practicing in Albuquerque , New Mexico . For many years I have had an interest in spirituality, especially Asian and Buddhist spirituality. My work centers around mindfulness, which is a core Buddhist practice that has been a great help to me personally as well as in my work with clients. I am the author of a number of books on this subject besides The Buddha’s Way of Happiness. For professional readers, I wrote a book called Mindful Therapy. I also co-edited a book with Steven Hick called Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship . This book includes contributions from many of the leaders in the field of mindfulness-based psychotherapy. Utilizing my background in addictive behavior, I applied mindfulness to addiction in Mindful Therapy, and for general readers, there’s Finding the Center Within.”

What made you decide to write the book “ The Buddha ‘s Way of Happiness”?

“I had originally planned to write a book on mindfulness and depression, but discovered another book that pretty much covered that territory. Instead, I thought I’d approach this from the other side, from the side of happiness or well-being rather than the opposite.”

What is the book “ The Buddha ‘s Way of Happiness” about?

“The central idea of the book is that happiness is the result of letting go of our concepts and stories about life, and learning to live deeply in the present moment instead. In other words, it’s about living mindfully'”living with deep, clear, non-interfering awareness. This involves two basic strategies: first, opening ourselves to what is pleasant and healing around us. We often fail to do this, taking the rich smell of the rain or the wonderful sunset for granted because we are preoccupied.

The second strategy is to take care of our pain. When we learn to hold our pain in mindfulness, opening to it rather than resisting having it, we begin to change our relationship to our pain. Our experience of it becomes less tight, less claustrophobic, which already begins to ease our experience of it. In addition, when we can hold our pain in mindfulness, we begin to find ways to change what we do and say that help us walk in the direction of well-being.”

Who can benefit from reading “The Buddha’s Way of Happiness”?

“Anyone who wants to be happier, perhaps especially those with an interest in meditation and Buddhism. But the book will also be of interest to those who don’t know much about either and serve as an introduction. From the other side, in keeping with the origins of the book, people with mild to moderate depression will also find it helpful.”

Thank you Dr. Bien for doing the book interview on The Buddha ‘s Way of Happiness. For more information on Dr. Bien or his book you can check out his website on