The idea for the topic and title, ‘The Secret of Happiness’, came about after reflecting on my first meeting with Ajahn Sumedho in 1977, just a few weeks after his arrival in the UK. I had been very impressed by the sense of ease and joy that he seemed to carry with him. That, in itself, it was remarkable. What made it even more remarkable was what I had been told about the monks: that they followed an extremely exacting way of life and a discipline that required them to rise at 4.00 a.m. for meditation, and to eat only one meal a day before noon. They had no money, no entertainment, no sexual contact of any kind. The list of things they had given up was long – and yet… and yet… they seemed deeply happy and at ease.