The Book of Joy Summary – Embrace the Reality

Author: Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu

The Book of Joy (2016) is a three-step guide by one of the most famous spiritual leaders, the 14th Dalai Lama, known as Gyalwa Rinpoche, who is also a former leader of the Tibetan people and human rights activist Desmond Tutu. The Book of Joy summary will teach you how to accept sorrow with open arms and be content with it. It opens your eyes in a way that enables you to find joy in the smallest things when everything in the modern world is stressful and mind-boggling.
the book of joy summary

Detailed Summary of The Book of Joy

Having encountered multiple struggles throughout their life, Lama and Tutu decide to compile a guide that can help others look for ways in which they can create a life with everlasting joy.

The first lesson you must learn as you embark upon the road to joy is accepting suffering as your companion. Suffering is everywhere, so we must accept it. However, our suffering can be reduced if we help others overcome their troubles because being empathetic and offering help creates abundant happiness.

As we serve humanity, Lama and Titu remind us to be humble and not think of ourselves as superior. We can reduce our emotional baggage by forgiving others and offering thanks to the world and its people for their blessings and opportunities.

You may also like to read As a Man Thinketh Summary.

The Book of Joy Summary Key Points

Have you ever think how someone can find joy without facing unhappiness and suffering? Grief and sufferings are part of world affairs, but the thing that matters the most is how you can cope with them.

The book of joy summary key points tells you various paths to embrace sorrow and pain with an open heart. Moreover, the following main tents will enable you to find and accept happy moments even in the smallest actions of life.

Suffering is an Essential Part of life

As you grow up, you realize that escaping suffering is inevitable. In fact, from the moment you are born, one of the initial feelings you encounter is that of suffering. From being someone who did not even exist a few seconds before.

The baby is bombarded with tons of stimuli that his senses are not developed to even recognize at that time. Then the same baby grows up, and suffering becomes a part of his life. From huge matters like finding a college and a job to everyday traffic jams and long queues outside departmental stores, suffering becomes a routine.

According to Lama and Tutu, if suffering is everywhere, then why not accept it? Why do we feel a need to run away from it when we know it will shapeshift to find us again?

Accept the Suffering but Do not Let it occupy You

So, you have accepted that life will be ruthless and aggressive, and the first step towards finding contentment is being okay with this ruthless nature of life. But do you want to sit and wallow for weeks and months when a single thing does not go as you plan it?

You certainly do not have the time to mourn each of your losses. That is why it is important to build immunity to the hardships you face. Just as your body develops immunity against viruses, you should train your mind to build resilience against these hardships.

Understand that most of the feelings you encounter are just a production of certain chemicals in your brain and nothing more. They do not dictate reality; thus, you can control them.

Cope with your Suffering by Helping Others

Let us understand Lama and Tutu’s advice in a common layman’s example. Imagine that you are having a bad start to your day. You come to the office and realize a very close teammate has just been informed that his mother has passed away.

At that moment, you will forget the traffic jam you faced on your way to work, the bad cup of coffee you had in the morning, and the terrible sleep you had last night. You align your feelings with those of your teammate.

Taking care of him becomes your priority, making you forget your worries. In the same manner, if we start reaching out to others and offering help in any way, we start feeling better and forget our worries.

The Eight Pillars of Joy

Although used synonymously, joy and happiness are not the same according to our spiritual guides. Happiness is fleeting and is marked by temporariness. On the contrary, joy is ever-lasting and permanent. Hence the main goal should be achieving joy.

Joy stands on eight pillars. The first of these pillars is Perspective. Keeping a healthy and positive perspective will reduce your suffering and lead you toward attaining joy.

The second pillar is Humility. One of the greatest lessons that encompass every religion. Never believe you are better than others, and keep yourself grounded. When you think you are the same as other humans, you will be able to reduce your suffering. Because you know, everyone else also experiences the same tribulations and feelings as you do.

Humor and Acceptance are the third and fourth pillars. It is no surprise that the guides of the spiritual world want you to take situations lightly. Humor can help alleviate situations that generally appear tense. Along with using humor to relax and accept the things that are out of your control. Giving up control when change is impossible will lessen the burden on your shoulders.

Forgiveness and gratitude are the fifth and sixth pillars of Joy. Do you think you can experience joy when you are busy hating someone or when you are being ungrateful about everything in your life? Certainly not. That is why it is important to forgive others. Forgive for your peace and find something to be grateful for something every day.

The compassionate concern is the seventh pillar of joy. It means you feel happy and joyful when helping others.

Be compassionate and spend time cultivating happiness for others

When you selflessly exhibit empathy, care, and love and do things for people, you begin to experience delight and joy that you can’t receive any other way. That is why it is important to be selfless to find that deep gratification and joy that cannot be found in any other way. Finally, being compassionate and helping others are the final steps to reaching your destination towards joy.

The Book of Joy Quotes

“If you are setting out to be joyful you are not going to end up being joyful. You’re going to find yourself turned in on yourself. It’s like a flower. You open, you blossom, really because of other people. And I think some suffering, maybe even intense suffering, is a necessary ingredient for life, certainly for developing compassion.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear more times than I can remember, but I hid it, a mask of boldness. The brave man is not to he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

The Book of Joy Review

The book of Joy offers numerous ways of handling your stress in a world where we are constantly bombarded with struggles. Embracing our troubles and thinking about others are the two core principles that can enlighten our journey toward finding everlasting joy.

The book is like a warm hug you may need on days you are feeling down and troubled and a lifelong companion filled with wisdom by the world’s greatest spiritual leaders at the same time.

To Whom I Would Recommend the Book of Joy Summary

The Book of Joy is a perfect read for anyone who has been let down by life many times and is struggling to see the light and hope. I would recommend it to anyone who is having a hard time being empathetic, and kind, and struggling to shift the focus from themselves to others.