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Spiritual leader Dalai Lama to blow out candles on his birthday cake as retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu looks on at the Tibetan Childrens Village School in Dharmsala, India, on April 23, 2015.
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Kirsten Salyer is a writer and the former Deputy Editor of TIME Ideas

How do we find joy in a world filled with suffering? That timeless question drives The Book of Joy, a weeklong conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu woven into a narrative by Douglas Abrams. As the two men reflect on their personal experiences, they impart advice for finding inner joy. The secret? Not thinking too much about yourself.

Over the week in Dharamsala, India, they go deep on feelings and philosophy, to the point that Abrams suggests speeding things up. The Dalai Lama remarks that they have time aplenty, and the Archbishop jokes, “You must shorten your answers. I am brief.” Together, they celebrate the Lama’s 80th birthday at the Tibetan Children’s Village with cake and trick candles. And they outline eight pillars of joy, divided by

And they outline eight pillars of joy, divided by mind (perspective, humility, humor, acceptance) and heart (forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, generosity). The question may be timeless, but their answer has urgent significance.

This appears in the October 03, 2016 issue of TIME.

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