“May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes…” – part of Brahma Viharas (The Four Immeasurables). Traditional Buddhist prayer before beginning mediation.
This is one of the main reasons I am going to Bhutan in October of this year:
Equitable socio-economic development. Conservation and protection of the environment. Preservation and promotion of unique cultural heritage. Good, responsive governance in which people participate. Health care and education accessible to all. Roads and communication devices. Livestock and agricultural development. Traditional handicrafts.
These are the ingredients for happiness. In Bhutan.
Back in the 1970’s, Bhutan’s Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, developed a unique and revolutionary philosophy for his people. His primary idea is that people strive for happiness. He coined it “Gross National Happiness.”
GHN is a way of measuring Bhutan’s development and economy, not by its Gross Domestic Product, but by the idea that material wealth alone does not bring happiness. The country’s development should really be measured by its citizens’ overall happiness and well-being.
Based in Buddhism (the main religion on Bhutan) and its spiritual values, GNH is aimed at balancing economic development, such as creating new jobs, having quality living standards and opportunities for the future, with providing for everyone’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health, as well as education, housing, and security. This includes the people living in even the most remote areas of Bhutan.
Some other ingredients for happiness include sharing interests with others; participating in cultural life, heritage, and local traditions; strong community feelings; healthy family relationships; and religion.
For the past several decades, the Fourth King, and then his son, the Fifth King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, and several Queens, have implemented these components for happiness, striving to make the people and country of Bhutan one of the happiest places on this planet. In fact, other countries and people around the world have thought about adopting the philosophy of GNH.
To show the success of GNH, in 2006, Bhutan was considered the eighth happiest country on this planet! Eight out of 195 countries. Now that’s happy! And that is one of the main reasons I am going to Bhutan.
Sweet (and very happy) Travels!
Much information on GNH from an awesome book written by a former Queen.
Other information and King’s written slogan on GNH from Wikipedia.
Smiley face from clipartguide.com.