The Happiest Man In The World

( – promoted by buhdydharma )


Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

And now, for something completely different.  Really.  I could relentlessly, clenching my teeth, continue to pound the keyboard to rant and fulminate about the latest outrages.  We all do that. Or right now I could do something else, something that might even make me smile.  Which brings me directly to Daniel Goleman’s lovely piece in today’s New York Times, “Sitting Quietly, Doing Something,” which is about “the happiest man in the world.”

Some anecdotes, though the entire article is well worth your time:

I recently spent an evening with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, the Tibetan lama who has been dubbed “the happiest man in the world.” True, that title has been bestowed upon at least a few extremely upbeat individuals in recent times. But it is no exaggeration to say that Rinpoche is a master of the art of well-being.

So how did he get that way? Apparently, the same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice.

When I called him at his Manhattan hotel… he told me he was in the middle of a shower – but not in the usual sense. The shower, he told me, had run out of hot water midway. When he called the front desk, he was told to wait several minutes and there would be more hot water. In this situation, I probably would have been peeved. But as Rinpoche told me this, he was laughing and laughing.

The only momentary glitch I’ve witnessed – a few years back – was slapstick: he sat down in an office chair with a faulty seat that suddenly plunged several inches with a thump. Once when this chair had done the same to me I cursed and groused about it for a while. But Rinpoche just frowned for a second – and the next moment he was his upbeat self again.

Another fruit of these spiritual practices seems to be a healthy dose of humility. When Rinpoche told my wife that he was being billed as “the happiest man in the world,” he laughed as though that were the funniest joke he’d ever heard.

So I’m wondering about this man.  And his happiness.  And my happiness.  Wouldn’t being this happy be incredible fun?  And wouldn’t I be so much more fun to be around if I were happier?  And wouldn’t the happiness feelings drive whatever worry and anxiety I might be feeling right out of my mind?  Wouldn’t everything in my life and surroundings look and feel and actually be different?

I’ve been a long time meditator, but unlike the great meditators whose minds are measured in laboratories, I’m sure I have nowhere near 10,000 hours of meditation. And I’d be lying if I said I was happy all of the time, or even the majority of the time.  Sometimes I’m happy.  Those times, sometimes, seem rare.  Mostly, I think I’m in neutral. I have some equanimity. Sometimes, and I hope this is not the majority of time, like everyone, else I’m upset, afraid, depressed, anxious.  I have negative feelings and emotions.  Sometimes these occupy me for what seems like a long time.

So I wonder.  What can I do to be more like Rinpoche?  I want to be like Mike Rinpoche. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place?


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles


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  1. Thanks for reading, and have a superb day!

  2. … in NYC by Mingyur Rinpoche a couple of years ago.  I remember a couple thing about it.

    One was that I could not stop looking at his hands — they were so expressive and graceful — everything about him was graceful, but those hands!

    The other thing was a story he told about a watch.  He held up the watch and said how when that watch belonged to him he was so anxious that it worked, that nothing happen to break it, all that attachment.  But if he sold the watch, after he walked away, he wouldn’t care at all about what happened to it — and it was the same watch, after all.

    I also believe that Rinpoche suffered a lot from anxiety in his youth and managed to overcome it.  He is the grandson of one of the greatest Tibetan meditation masters, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, whose books are a joy to read.

    I am happy all the time — when I am miserable I am happy and when I am fearful I am happy and when I am depressed and angry I am happy.  Hee hee.

  3. meditation does not come easy, but I manage. My cats are great at meditation. Nothing disturbs them except me cooking and Lizards outside the window.

    I make a decision in the mornings to be happy, not let anything disturb my peace. That lasts about as long as I don’t have to leave my house. My house is my sanctuary the world outside not so much.


    make up their minds to be.”

    It seems that Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche has made up his mind to be happy.  Good on him!  

  5. now I windsurf instead. I find I get many of the same benefits on some days.

    • Joy B. on July 19, 2009 at 03:54

    At least, not on purpose. Have arranged my life so I don’t have to leave my mountain for days or weeks at a time, and then only for happy trips to the grocery or some event or to visit friends/family. The forest makes me happy. The garden makes me happy. Mowing the grass makes me happy, and so does da bear! That’s one impressive critter, for sure. Jim The Cat makes me laugh, and so does Starfish The Puppy and Noel the Magic Dove. Who laid an egg yesterday at the age of 16, and that makes me happy because she is happy.

    The orchard makes me happy, the vineyard makes me happy, and sitting here reading DocuDharma while cutting chives and apples to dry makes me happy. It made me happy to send my brother and sister’s ashes over Cumberland Falls on the 4th of July, and it made me happy to watch my son’s son scatter his ashes in the rose garden and pet cemetery a few days later. Great-grandma’s pain and loneliness don’t make me happy, but being with her in her last months does. When we lay her to rest finally next to the love of her life, I will be happy. I don’t happily look forward to my own end or my soul-mate’s, but it will come one of these days, and I hope I will be happy when it does. Or when it’s over.

    I am happy that tomorrow when we finish mowing the fairways we’ll enjoy a rousing game of disc golf on the top nine. Er… ten, counting the bathtub under the rose & honeysuckle tree…

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