Don't worry, be happy

HAPPINESS has to come from within us. When a jolly monk says this, people tend to listen.

Gharwang Rinpochea, a Tibetan Buddhist monk from Sikkim, India, who heads the Zurmang Whispering lineage, was in Malaysia recently to talk about joy and how to achieve it in our busy modern lives.

In an interview after the talk, he jovially declares: "I'm happy with who I am now, with my life. I try my best every day, give my best shot and have low expectations."

So when things turn out better than expected, he says, "I rejoice. I feel so happy! It's better than I expected."

The Rinpochea, 46, shares how the small nation of Bhutan was once one of the happiest countries on earth.

"The Bhutan government declared that the Gross National Happiness (GNH) index, not the Gross Domestic Product index, would be the measure of success in their country.

"In an attempt to preserve GNH, the government restricted tourism and didn't even allow television or Internet services. For a long time, happiness levels were very high."

In 2000, Bhutan's king allowed television and Internet services into the country and the Bhutanese discovered an entire world they had never known before.

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