The philosophical and religious views on happiness of world known personalities and scriptures are compiled here. It is an effort to gather all the knowledge of the world about happiness.
Aristotle contributed significantly towards philosophy as a pioneer on happiness. One of his major works is Nicomachean Ethics which talks a lot about happiness. He considers happiness as the purpose and the ultimate goal of life. He also focuses on the fact that happiness is within the individual, it is nowhere else. We have it already; we need not to realize it.
“Happiness depends on us, more than anybody else.”
The main features of Aristotle’s theory of happiness include:
“Happiness is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence.”
"Happiness is not pleasure, nor is it virtue. It is the exercise of virtue.”
"Happiness cannot be achieved until the end of one’s life. Hence it is a journey.”
"Happiness is the perfection of human nature. Since man is a rational animal, human happiness depends on the exercise of his reason.”
Albert Einstein's view on happiness and science are very visionary. His views clearly establish that all scientific and technological discoveries should further enhance human happiness or else they are useless.
"Why does this magnificent applied science, which saves work and makes life easier, bring us little happiness? The simple answer runs: because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it."
His holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader of Tibet. He is working to promote peace, happiness and harmony across the globe through his teachings. He has shared his preaching on happiness through his book “The Art of Happiness”. His famous quotes are:
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.”
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
Sri Sri Ravishankar
Sri Sri is a humanitarian leader, who is working to promote global peace and violence free society. Being a student and preacher of science and spirituality, he has given some enlightening quotes on happiness.
" How can you always be happy? Forget about always- then you will be happy."
"Happiness is an attitude. If you are used to being unhappy, then Even in the best of situations, you will still grumble and be unhappy. Nothing can make you happy in life."
"Being happy is a practice. Being unconditionally happy is a practice: "Come what may, today I am going to smile… Let me at least smile this moment, enjoy my very breath."
"You sell your happiness for peanuts! You sell your smile for pennies! I tell you, it is not worth it. The entire world is not worth your smile. Even if you are made the king or the emperor of the world, It is not worth giving a away your smile."
"People say, there is so much suffering in the world; How can you be happy?" By becoming unhappy, you only add to unhappiness, isn't it?"
"You can be happy now, right now- wherever you are. And you can still do all that you want to do. We have a wrong notion that only when we have ambition and desire will we be able to make progress. It is not so. You can make better progress Without this ambition, without this feverishness. To be happy just need a little skill. Be happy! This is an order as well as a blessing."
The main features of Hinduism on happiness are -
Happiness [sukha] and misery [dukha] are relative experiences and are termed dvandva which means dualities.
The real happiness is inherent within each one of us. We are bliss. Our nature is of immortal bliss.
In the Bhagavad Gita (5.21), it is said: ‘He who is unattached to the external world and its objects, and is attached to the inner Self, will attain supreme happiness, which is everlasting.’
Real happiness, called ānanda in Sanskrit, is the goal of all beings. All are seeking that goal only.
Main features of Islam on happiness are -
“True enrichment does not come through possessing a lot of wealth, but true enrichment is the enrichment of the soul.”
“Allah has placed ease and happiness in certainty of faith and contentment. He has placed worry and misery in discontent and doubt.” - Ibn Mas`ûd
“Those who believe, and whose hearts find contentment in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment.” - [Sûrah al-Ra`d: 28]
“Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, we shall make them live a good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do.” [Qur’an, 16:97]
For Buddha, the path to happiness starts from understanding the root cause of suffering. Buddha discovered the “middle path” of moderation, an idea that closely resembles Aristotle’s “golden mean.” Buddha began his teachings with the four noble truths and eight fold path to happiness. These paths are –
1. Right view/understanding
2. Right intention/thought
Buddha said – “We are what we think” and David Lungtok, a Buddhist monk, says “If we train our mind properly, happiness will be the result.”
Christianity is all about spreading love and happiness among people .The son of god, Christ sacrificed his life for human beings, so that their sin can be forgiven and they can get new life. Christianity teaches about forgiving enemies and confessing sins. This leads to self-contentment, love and happiness among people. The idea of happiness in Christianity is based on the saying of Jesus,
“…now is your time of grief, I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22)
In conversation with ‘You’
Above are some of the views of great philosophers, scientists, leaders and views of major religions. The list can go on and on. So much has been said about happiness that if we understand and follow them, we can literally change our lives. It is not the lack of existing wisdom, it is the lack of proper understanding, internalizing and feeling the preachings on the subject matter of happiness that is responsible for our unhappiness. We have to engage in the meaning of the world wisdom in order for them to work for ourselves.
Any amount of knowledge is useless until and unless we can for ourselves understand, feel, experience and put them into practice in our lives. We wish to engage the world community in the act of happiness, by inviting them to share their personal experiences, their knowledge and their queries on how to be happy. In doing so we wish to create a world repository on the wisdom of happiness. A platform where everyone can share their own experiences and benefits with others as well as gain from their experiences.
Lets engage ourselves in sharing!