A Humoristic Look at the Zen Tradition

The End of Happiness

A Humoristic Look at the Zen Tradition

The End of Happiness by Roger Martin is a humorous take on the Buddhist art of the four truths: suffering, impermanence, dissatisfaction, and non-attachment. The main thrust of the book is to poke fun at Zen monks and other such Zen-flavored individuals. It also lampoons other topics as mundane as how good it is to be fat and that life is too short. Overall, however, The End of Happiness is a hilarious look at Zen Buddhism and the Zen masters who follow it.

The premise of The End of Happiness is that happiness is short lived. The very concept of happiness is an illusion, one that we, seemingly, create for ourselves. This is done by focusing only on the short comings of life, on what is happening to us here and now, and avoiding the long term effects. It is suggested that this avoidance of the long run causes unhappiness, a state of being that we find short lived and latch onto to in order to avoid it all. Roger Martin’s comedy is, in a way, a look into these unhappiness feelings.

When you read The End of Happiness, you realize that all you really need is some humor, a little laughter, to help you get through the day. There are even characters throughout the book, who are, apparently, mere mortals who need to maintain their sense of humor, to remain sane and prevent boredom from overtaking them. It is these characters, along with Roger Martin’s sage advice, that help us realize that the short comings of life aren’t as bad as they seem. They may be short, but they can also be immensely powerful. With the right guidance, you can find your own little piece of The End of Happiness.