8 Pillars of joy


The tagline of this blog is “how to find peace and joy everyday: with gratitude and humility”. Gratitude and humility are two of 8 pillars of joy pointed out by Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Southern Africa, in a 2016 book, “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World”, authored by Douglas Abrams. They group the 8 pillars in 4 attributes of the mind – perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance ; and 4 of the heart – gratitude, forgiveness, compassion, and generosity.

In previous blogs we have touched on some of these pillars even before this book came out, even though we have not systematically enumerated or grouped them as these two titans of spirituality have done. What is most illuminating is how they have reaffirmed the principle that joy is consequential.  Joy comes from a combination of mind and heart attitudes. For example, the mind that has learned to view the world and its daily happenings with a wide viewpoint,  (perspective), contributes to a life of joy. Similarly, the heart that is tuned to respond (to everything) with gratitude adds a significant measure of joy to life.

The book is the culmination of a week that the two luminaries spent together in Dharamsala, India, for the Dalai Lama’s 80th. birthday. Both men know, from personal experience, a life of affliction and sorrow. But they have taught millions too, how to rise above that with joy. At a time when the ailing Desmond Tutu was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and the Dalai Lama spending half a century in exile, the two were able to demonstrate how humor and compassion lift life from anger and vengeance to peace and joy.

Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu

As the author points out, it was a week where a Buddhist monk, a Christian cleric and a Jewish secularist experienced true joy in mutual companionship. The idea in the book is to demonstrate that everyone of us can contribute to our own joy, everyday, when we choose a life governed by the 8 pillars of joy.


Stay tuned for more insights on these pillars.


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