A joint workshop on happiness was held between members of the Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH, and Wonkwang University of South Korea yesterday in Thimphu.

Wonkwang University’s executive director of administration Won-Buddhism, reverent Hahn Eun Sook said the participants learnt about the government policies of happiness during the workshop.

She said that Bhutan’s concept of happiness emphasising harmony, not only between human beings but also with nature is similar to the teachings of the founding master of Won-Buddhism, Sotaesan Park Jung-bin included in one of The Fourfold Graces, the grace of all living beings. “GNH and Won-Buddhism have the same goal of bringing happiness not only to individuals but also to the world.”

President of CBS, Dasho Karma Ura, while presenting the concept of GNH said that the main objectives of GHN are to make individuals understand the things that can make them fundamentally happy without government policies.

He also said that in a larger context, the government’s policy and investments could be properly directed through the empirically generated data conducted every four years.

He said that although people do not say it, people have to feel three things to get happiness. “People have to feel meaningful, have a feeling of aesthetic values, meaning feeling happy when something appears harmonious and feeling fundamentally happy when we think we have done something ethical.”

Dasho Karma Ura said the world’s current measurement of happiness is based on measurement of subjective wellbeing, which is not a rich concept. “It does not have a good basis to suggest policies, and seems that its measurement is biased towards material development.”

Chairman of the board of trustees with Wonkwang academy, Shin Soonchul (PhD) said Wonkwang University is a private Korean school founded by Master Sotaesan Park Jung-bin. His successor master Jeongsan established it in 1946. “Bhutan, Wonkwang University and won-Buddhism have common goals to bring peace, harmony and happiness in the world.”

The workshop was organised by Wonkwang University and coordinated by the honorary consul general of Bhutan to Korea HY Kim.

Karma Cheki