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Handbook of Religion and the Asian CityAspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520281226

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520281226.001.0001

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date: 07 March 2021

Cultivating Happiness

Cultivating Happiness

Psychotherapy, Spirituality, and Well-Being in a Transforming Urban China

(p.315) 17 Cultivating Happiness
Handbook of Religion and the Asian City

Li Zhang

University of California Press

This chapter examines the effort to blend modern psychotherapeutics with Buddhist and Daoist techniques in the zealous quest for happiness. The intense interest in and fervent pursuit of personal happiness in the name of science and well-being represents a new form of urban aspiration that is emerging among China's middle-class professionals in the midst of rapid and often disorienting socioeconomic transformations. This “happiness craze” (xingfu re), which often calls for professional intervention, is taking place against the backdrop of a society that is increasingly competitive and distressed as unprecedented surges in material wealth are coupled with mounting social inequality and moral crisis. This chapter considers why the search for personal happiness is quickly gaining such a salient place in contemporary Chinese urban life, especially among educated professionals. It concludes by discussing how the quest for happiness relates to the fusion techniques of self-cultivation and well-being.

Keywords:   psychotherapeutics, Buddhism, Daoism, happiness, well-being, China, happiness craze, material wealth, urban life, self-cultivation

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