I certainly have every confidence that this gathering will generate greater knowledge and further wisdom on the subject of happiness. Introduction Gross National Happiness, as the guiding philosophy of Bhutan’s development process, was pronounced by His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, soon after his enthronement in 1972.Over the decades, many conferences and discourses have led to increasing elaboration and development of this concept as well as its practice. May I begin by saying what a pleasure it is to be here at St.
It is heartening to observe that toward the end of the last century and at the beginning of this millennium, the reflective and the analytical across all sections of society are seeing the need to search for a clearer purpose and a more rational approach to development.
There is a growing level of dissatisfaction with the way in which human society is being propelled without a clear and meaningful direction by the force of its own actions.
International Context In general, models for both developed as well as developing countries do not explicitly include happiness as a development end, and contemporary measures of progress do not usually address happiness.
It is assumed to be the collateral result of social and economic policies.
This is not to suggest that we should reject altogether current approaches and their indices.
In fact, the purposes of Human Development, Sustainable Development and Millennium Development Goals are noble and supported by fairly well developed indicators.Surely, these are a reflection of the rising popular concerns and interests of society - that society is not content with our unsustainable, unfulfilling and unhappy way of life amid ominous signs of our collective future.This should help engender further understanding, knowledge and wisdom, through such worthy activities as the one in which we are presently engaged.Likewise, the Genuine Progress Index pioneered here in Nova Scotia is a noteworthy measure of true human advancement.Equally, there are other institutions and individuals, both in North America and Europe, who are doing similar work.As it is popularly known, much about what we may call Buddhist science of the mind is about managing feelings and emotions.Thus, a great deal of cultural knowledge and education in traditional society was aimed at conditioning the mind to give or cause happiness to all beings.Let me begin by saying that Bhutan is deeply committed to pursuing happiness. We have certain strategies, certain policies in place, to pursue this goal of happiness.But we are certainly mindful and aware of the possibilities of enriching our knowledge and understanding of happiness itself; and further, how much we can improve and refine the processes that we have adopted.It is a matter of some satisfaction to note that the media, academia, development experts and social engineers alike have shown growing interest in the subject of happiness in recent years.The desirability and feasibility of happiness as an essential goal and purpose of society have been bolstered by empirical findings of and an upsurge in research.