Ханна Нидал
Hannah Nydahl (1946-2007) was a translator, a lama, a confidante of the highest lamas of Karma Kagyu tradition.

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03.01.2019 - 31.12.2019

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Home  → About us  → News  → March 20 the world celebrated the International Day of Happiness

March 20 the world celebrated the International Day of Happiness



The Day was established during the latest session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. All 193 United Nations member states have adopted the resolution proposed by the Kingdom of Bhutan representatives.

The date has not been chosen at random. March 20 is the day of the spring solstice when the day is equal to the night in length and the sun shines the same amount of time almost everywhere on the globe. Thus, the day symbolizes the equal right for happiness for every Earth’s inhabitant.

The UN resolution states that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal” that should be “necessarily recognized in public policy objectives”. In this respect it is worth mentioning that the Kingdom of Bhutan that initiated this new festival, long ago proclaimed happiness as the main goal of its state policy. Bhutan is the only country in the world which developed the concept of gross national happiness (GNH) in 1971 and has been following it to the present day. Unlike gross domestic product (GDP), gross national happiness is the population’s well-being indicator, which measures primarily spiritual and psychological rather than material values. GNH marks such a development of the state and economics, which preserves and fosters the unique culture of the country based on Buddhist spiritual values.

The concept of gross national happiness itself derives from the Buddhist views on happiness. What do Buddhist teachings say concerning happiness? The Buddhist teacher Lama Ole Nydahl in his talk at a Seminar on Psychology in Basel explains that in Buddhism one makes a separation between conditioned and unconditioned happiness, between the one dependant on outer conditions such as houses, cars, money and the one that has to do directly with the mind of every human. Buddhism understands relative happiness as transient and impermanent with absolute happiness on the contrary to be everlasting and representing a real human nature.

The source of happiness is in one’s own mind and not somewhere outside, – says Lama Ole.  – Only one’s own mind can become happy. What looks through our eyes and listens through our ears at this very moment – is where it all happens. Thus the common attempts to base happiness on outer factors are both transient and inaccurate by nature. This can be compared with attempts to move something at a distance with the help of a whip. Trying to attain lasting happiness through conditioned causes simply does not work. Especially obvious it becomes at the moment of death, – as the Danish say “the last shirt has no pockets”. Nothing can be taken with us and one has to rely only on lasting values. Thus it is wise to use one’s time and effort seeking for the source of the true and permanent happiness.   

Happiness, by Lama Ole Nydahl. An excerpt from the talk given at a Seminar on Psychology in Basel, Switzerland




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