Everyday Enlightenment, by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa

Achieving enlightenment is the easiest thing in the world if you put others first – yet that can seem like the hardest thing to achieve.

Golden buddha statue
Credit: Jarl Schmidts

To give the book its full title, Everyday Enlightenment is about ‘Walking the path to happiness in the modern world’. In other words, everyday things anyone can do to feel more at peace with themselves and the world.

To be fair, this doesn’t have to involve sitting in a cave. Instead, the book offers various ways in which to be ‘present’ in everyday life. Meditation is one aspect (covered here in very brief outline), along with watching nature, caring for the environment, giving up attachments, facing up to ‘burning emotions’ and even contemplating death. It’s about being gentle with yourself and others and practicing gratitude, because nothing is permanent and everything is therefore a gift.

More than anything, however, it comes down to always putting others first: this is in many ways the opposite of how the West has structured its notions of success and survival. For that reason this is a gentle read hiding a deceptively tough proposition.

This book doesn’t claim to make you a better business leader – and it may not even make you a better Buddhist – but it does serve to underline how much we accept about modern life without questioning whether it truly makes us happy.

“If you have patience and tolerance, your life will be rich, but they are not instantly easy concepts. That is why so often life is wobbly, like an old antique table. I used to have a very old British dining table, and whenever you went near it, it wobbled and creaked – you couldn’t rest anything on it for fear it would break. This is like life without patience and tolerance.”

His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, Everyday Enlightenment: Walking the Path to Happiness in the Modern World. London: Michael Joseph, 2012

Other books like Everyday Enlightenment
  • Happy, by Derren Brown
  • The Art of Happiness, by the Dalai Lama