Happiest man on earth is a Buddhist monk

by Jaya

Happiest man on earth is a Buddhist monk

According scientists, he is the world’s happiest man. His level of mind control is astonishing and the upbeat impulses in his brain are off the scale. Tibetan monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard is the happiest man in the world according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. The 66-year-old’s brain produces a level of gamma waves – those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory – never before reported in neuroscience.

HAPPIEST MAN ON EARTH Ricard, French academic-turned-Buddhist monk, is to share his secrets to make the world a happier place. The trick, he reckons, is to put some effort into it. In essence, happiness is a “skill” to be learned. As he grins serenely and his burgundy robes billow in the fresh Himalayan wind, it is not difficult to see why scientists declared Matthieu Ricard the happiest man they had ever tested.

His advice could not be more timely as very recently the world’s happiest country index showed a drastic drop of happiness in many parts of the world. Thanks to the uncertainties such as Arab spring, terrorism, economic concerns, debt & accelerating natural disasters.

Though there could be many concerning issues public have to face today, the studies show that the mind can rise above it all to increase almost everyone’s happiness. Ricard, who is the French interpreter for Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, took part in trials to show that brain training in the form of meditation can cause an overwhelming change in levels of happiness.

HAPPIEST MAN ON EARTH

He passionately sets out why meditation can alter the brain and improve people’s happiness in the same way that lifting weights puts on muscle. “It’s a wonderful area of research because it shows that meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree but it completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are,” The monk says.

MRI scans showed that he and other long-term meditators – who had completed more than 10,000 hours each – experienced a huge level of “positive emotions” in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is associated with happiness. The right-hand side, which handles negative thoughts, is suppressed. Further studies have shown that even novices who have done only a little meditation have increased levels of happiness. But Ricard’s abilities were head and shoulders above the others involved in the trials.

“The mind is malleable,” Ricard told The Independent on Sunday yesterday. “Our life can be greatly transformed by even a minimal change in how we manage our thoughts and perceive and interpret the world. Happiness is a skill. It requires effort and time.”

Ricard was brought up among Paris’s intellectual elite in the 1960s, but after working for a PhD in biochemsitry he gave up on everything behind to become a Tibetan Buddhist in a Himalayan hermitage, says anyone can be happy if they only train their brain. The 66-year-old, accompanying other senior Tibetan monks at a festival in the remote Nepalese Himalayan region of Upper Dolpa, has become a globally respected Buddhist and is one of the religion’s leading western scholars.

HAPPIEST MAN ON EARTH

He addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos at the height of the financial crisis in 2009 to tell gathered heads of state and business leaders it was time to give up greed in favor of “enlightened altruism.” His other works include “Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill” and several collections of photographs of the landscape, people and spiritual masters of the Himalayas.

Ricard donates all proceeds of his books to 110 humanitarian projects which have built schools for 21,000 children and provide healthcare for 100,000 patients a year.He was awarded the French National Order of Merit for his work in preserving Himalayan culture but it is his work on the science of happiness which perhaps defines him best.

Ricard sees living a good life, and showing compassion, not as a religious edict revealed from on high, but as a practical route to happiness. “Try sincerely to check, to investigate,” he said. “That’s what Buddhism has been trying to unravel — the mechanism of happiness and suffering. It is a science of the mind.” AFP reported.


  • Long Nguyen

    sure!!!

    • guest

      I am in partial agreement with both sides.

      It’s very impressive that he has trained himself so, but why is it better than a man who is the best typist in the world?

      Of course we know that your thoughts affect others on many levels…. but… Fukashima? and how does sitting affect that?
      I have an ex who took all my money. She dictates to me every aspect of my child relationship. She considers herself Buddhis t, and is greatly respected by all, but what it means to me is: I am not allowed to say ANYTHING, and if i try, I am outmanouvered and blamed for my negativity.

      It’s great to be happy, but don’t blame a person if they are not.

      • mpeniak

        Sorry to hear this mate, I hope things do get better for you! I wouldn’t have liked my relationship with my kids being exclusively controlled by an ex. Not everyone interprets, understands and applies the buddhist teachings in the same way and some people do get completely lost and stuck up in their asses while thinking they are one step away from enlightenment :)

      • nobloodforhubris

        “The mind is malleable,” Ricard told The Independent on Sunday yesterday. “Our
        life can be greatly transformed by even a minimal change in how we
        manage our thoughts and perceive and interpret the world. Happiness is a
        skill. It requires effort and time.”

  • Neville Isnt

    ignorance is Bliss. How to be Happy…. Ignore the Elephants near Extinction rate. Ignore Palm oil and Orangutan threatened species. Ignore 7 Billion people in the world. Ignore Death. Etc, etc. Meditation….. HAPPY thoughts.. Selfish delight. HAPPY, HAPPY. Dumb….. I close my mind to everything and I become HAPPY! Frontal Lobotomy might work as well. I know some very HAPPY Dumb people who love SPORT! and Family activities.

    • Choying

      Dear ‘Guest’, Do you know why this person meditates so much? Buddhist Meditation has a very special motivation that cares for and includes ALL the 7 billion people, animals and every other ‘living thing’. If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself. Research it. Otherwise, your comments won’t hold much weight. Just unfounded criticism.

      • Neville Isnt

        We know that… Dirrrr

    • BBN Team

      The entire universe and the actions of mankind are all issues. Can you deal with all unless you yourself is a Buddha? I can feel your emotions. I must also mention that fact that I see the point you are making. There are various ways people find to resolve issues. Whats needed is that you find your own way to help people and continue doing it. What are you doing about it? With Metta BBN team.

      • Neville Isnt

        I’m talking about other Species.. Are we that out of it that we miss other species suffering? All the talk about giving money to other people. I agree its good as suffering is NOT nice. Hope his book proceeds can deliver to some Orangutan or Elephant causes also. Enough of my depression :-p

        • Guru Ātma Ösel Rinpoche

          it would appear you are suck on parts 1 and 2 of the Four Noble Truths, perhaps study, meditation, and reflection on parts 3 and 4 might improve your outlook towards life. Namaste!

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths

          • Neville Isnt

            oh fuck an apple. I’ve seen LIFE!!! I know the SUPREME IGNORANCE CHIEF! We are but a thought. Family scene. Kids running around all over the place. Ego. Im not me im you not you. TIME! Sit in a park amongst MANY families. The PURE INSANITY of it all. Such a fine line. SUPREME SUPREME IGNORANCE. U don’t know your alive until u wake UP! So many houses. Which one should I drive into?? 1 life. THATS IT! No more. Here is your suit. Yes…. I could be happy. If I BLOCK OUT SHIT!! I COULD BE SUPER SUPER HAPPY WITH OUT ADHD OH THE PLEASURE.. So much noise! So little Time. Forever dead. millins of people we wont ever know. But who are they to know? Memories and belief and biology. Make other people happy! OH yes. yes , yes, yes. For all my crap let it know it wasn’t I that killed your son and daughter YO! It was Happy Banker. STOP ALL THE WARS WORLD PEACE! MASS Unemployment from it. Mass extinctions. Cancer is good for the health industry. Im so happy it hurts. when I wake up in the morning 1st thing I think off is FANTASTIC TIME! Hey Guru man. its all one big lie. I don’t want to make u miserable. Im happy I beat cancer twice. Im Mr Smith. like what I done to the place Mr Anderson?

          • Guru Ātma Ösel Rinpoche

            you are still missing the point, read instead of post, and I would appreciate you showing the same honor and respect that I have shown you by filtering your language, for one who wishes to see and end to suffering you are spreading quite a bit of it with your tongue.

          • Neville Isnt

            You shouldn’t be affected by ‘oh fuck an apple’ I didn’t tell you to fuck an apple did I? Meditation helps you to overcome such small concerns with free speech. Glad you got after all I posted. The wisdom of belief instilled inside you to condescend while making 4 thumbs up group of pals who also are overcome with brainwashing. PS. Im not fking Guru but a fulltime 3rd person monkey. You know. Im feeling some pain now. I just got a THOUGHT about many people in prison in America who are serving life sentences for petty crimes. DAMN!! I better meditate and block it all out. Empathy is BAD news. Feelings? Oh come on! A child is not about to commit suicide but rather play ball. Here is a thought GURU man. 4.5 Billion years old is the Earth. Il be on Earth for 50 years. I, I, I, me, me me….. Find a Girl get married. have children, Die. 7 more years to go!!!! Oh the anxiety! In my room only I exist here! Do u get it? Yes I should meditate. or take a Risperdal or Ritalin. Instant meditate results. Lets discuss Quantum Physics over fish & chips. HEY. heres another idea. Im going to book an airplane flight to another state just for kicks and meet people I would never have met!! Il even try a relationship. Build memories then fly back home pretend it was all a dream. which it might as well have been. Gotta go to my life thing!

          • Keith

            Aggressive despair. painful hollering madness. a sensitive raw nerve banging into endless ouch producers. The world is full of more of the same. Rage, burn, rage,burn, rage…. Who gets what they deserve? no one? me? you? You’ll get tired of it one day. Or you will burn out and die. but in the mean time, who will want to be your friend?

          • Jerry Simon

            Buddhists, I would hope.

          • Jerry Simon

            Spreading it? The man’s in pain. He can’t help showing it because it’s burning him up, he’s seeing things he can’t cope with. I know how he feels, though am not feeling like that right now. Bad language is nothing. His pain is the problem. I hope you guys can help him find his peace, or that someone else can. We all need love, and compassionate understanding, and I hope we all get as much of it as we need.

        • Jerry Simon

          Yes, the way we’ve brought the natural world to its knees does my head in too, and it often makes me weep. That’s an appropriate response, I think, to something so tragic.
          A few years ago I looked into the steady deep conscious eyes of an orang utan at Chester Zoo – where they seem to be very well-kept by the way, and where the message is conservation,conservation, conservation – while my daughter – a conservation biology PhD student (studying duck family demographics) quietly said to me “Dad, they’re saying they could be extinct in the wild by 2020″ – and it was just unbearable, broke me up.
          A happy person is better equipped to work against the bad things than an unhappy person. Really. I want to do good work, to contribute towards reversing the damage to our planet’s biosphere and to promote fairness, safety, and health amongst human beings.
          The more INNER stillness/peace/happiness I familiarise myself with, the better I will be able to achieve anything towards those goals. I hope you can find peace without losing your compassion and determination to work for the good, brother – they are NOT mutually exclusive. These are good people here I think, not our enemies, and not as uncaring as you’ve been seeing them. Best wishes to you.

    • Tarol

      Its not shutting everything in the world out. Thats not what meditation is.

      “The 66-year-old’s brain produces a level of gamma waves – those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory.”Clearly he is not “closing his mind” as he is perfectly conscious and has attention. This monk even states, “Our life can be greatly transformed by even a minimal change in how we manage our thoughts.”
      This is what meditation is. Managing your thoughts, observing your thoughts, and in way, simply accepting your thoughts.

      This, the ability to manage your thoughts and watch as they unfold, comes with much much practice that I have barely even made a dent in. So imagine this man, who has dedicated his life to it, is able to simply be, happy. He is capable of seeing his thoughts, seeing THE WORLD, for how it is and yet, he still doesn’t let it effect his happiness.

      So yes, while there are all these horrible things going on in the world, many of which you have listed, meditation allows us to almost come to peace with it.

      Meditation is not forcing yourself to sit quietly and ignore the world while thinking happy thoughts. Meditation is sitting and observing oneself, everything going on in the world, and not letting it effect you personally.

      tl;dr Youre being an ass. Research and experiment before making comments.

    • Tarol

      Its not shutting everything in the world out. Thats not what meditation is.

      “The 66-year-old’s brain produces a level of gamma waves – those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory.”Clearly he is not “closing his mind” as he is perfectly conscious and has attention. This monk even states, “Our life can be greatly transformed by even a minimal change in how we manage our thoughts.”
      This is what meditation is. Managing your thoughts, observing your thoughts, and in way, simply accepting your thoughts.

      This, the ability to manage your thoughts and watch as they unfold, comes with much much practice that I have barely even made a dent in. So imagine this man, who has dedicated his life to it, is able to simply be, happy. He is capable of seeing his thoughts, seeing THE WORLD, for how it is and yet, he still doesn’t let it effect his happiness.

      So yes, while there are all these horrible things going on in the world, many of which you have listed, meditation allows us to almost come to peace with it.

      Meditation is not forcing yourself to sit quietly and ignore the world while thinking happy thoughts. Meditation is sitting and observing oneself, everything going on in the world, and not letting it effect you personally.

      tl;dr Youre being an ass. Research and experiment before making comments.

      • Neville Isnt

        You still haven’t answered my question dumb ass. So see the world but don’t let it effect you! RIGHT!!! Like ok elephants nearing extinction. I’m not effected. I choose to feel nothing but happiness. COME TO PEACE WITH IT!! Selfish delight. What me worry. DOH!
        By the way… I DO Find myself happiest when im ignorant! It doesn’t help writing Poetry or fighting for a cause if you cannot FEEL Sensitive empathy for another species. Which requires feeling another’s pain. Which offcourse ISNT HAPPY THOUGHTS!
        So Buck wheat. You might want to crack at your belief system by the way. Ive done plenty of research and spend fulltime attention NOT to be outside myself all my life. I know about Biology and Quantum Cognitive and TIME.

        • Sam

          You are clearly a miserable human being. Nothing you say will have a single bit of influence or impact on other people because no one wants what you have, internally.

          The simple fact is a human beings psychological reality can’t change what is existential reality. This doesn’t mean you don’t see what is, and even have empathy, too. It means you don’t add resistance that only creates suffering.

          Becoming a pleasant human being is the best thing you could ever give to a world that is in so much suffering. From a state of pleasantness you will contribute more and perform at your best to make it a better place for all beings involved. You will also have true influence and impact on other people.

          From a state of misery, you will likely just sit on a computer and troll the internet while soaking in a discontent, infected funk.

          • Neville Isnt

            Yeah thanks for passing your miserable crap energy to me DUDE!
            I wasn’t expecting a message like yours to read in the morning. I was expecting like minded people like myself. Hahaha.
            Try telling me something that will make me NOT Yawn..
            I mean why tell me what I already know?
            No one wants what I have you say…Why most clearly don’t. they watch SPORT and eat Animal Fat. that’s what they want.
            Now go run along the beach or kick the football with your mates.

          • Dilhank

            Mate, if you are not interested in what these people say, why waste your time commenting here? That itself shows that you arent focused and unaware of your interests. Good luck!! :)

          • Joan.n

            I am happy to report that elephants are nowhere near extinction. Down here at the Southern tip of Africa we are far more concerned with the extinction of rhinos. Just a thought…

          • Neville Isnt

            OH the drama!??? YES ITS VERY IMPORTANT! Don’t you think so? Drama!

          • Neville Isnt

            BECAUSE YOU PEOPLE KEEP REPLYING TO ME!!! DID THAT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION?

          • Leila Lind Karlsson

            Explain to me in what way your mind set is doing any good. To have the strength to create change we need to believe it is possible. What do you believe is possible? Do you have any hope left? If not, then improving the world is something out of your reach to accomplish.

          • Trudy Kretschmer

            I absolutely agree with you. Don’t add resistance that only creates suffering. This is also the 12 steps message. As you say “From a state of pleasantness you will contribute more and perform at your best to make it a better place for all beings involved.” Again, part of the 12 step program’s message. A little known fact is that Carl Jung contributed greatly to the 12 steps of AA and that he was influenced by no less than Buddha. But let’s reconsider, if you will, the notion that a human being’s psychological reality cannot change existential reality. I beg to differ, only because I have experienced what can only be described as miracles occuring in mine and other’s lives….DUE to our psychological state of attunement to the Universe and to Love. When thoughts are attuned to vast and unconditional Love circumstances change in marvelous ways for the better and sometimes within a matter of minutes. :-)

        • Keith

          Seek help. You are creating the state you find yourself in. You may need a professional to help you find your way out.

    • http://rosscmpbll.com/ Ross Campbell

      Yeah and you can really help the world by being miserable. Ever tried to do an essay or help a friend while feeling like crap, unhappy and unmotivated? It’s ten times harder.
      Being happy is important not only for yourself but for those around you and even more.. the planet.

      • Neville Isnt

        Hey I love life…. I love its Cancer and short life. Im the buddist of miserable. you need unhappy for happy. Hang on… Believe me. BE Great if all the world was happy. As long as the happy ones didn’t shoot at Elephants. Seems the Psychopaths are more happy than sensitive types. GO life!!
        Forgive me that I feel STRONGLYYY!!!!! when I see the suffering of other species. Im just not able to shut it out! Kind of crappy to wake up from all my 30,000 hours of meditation to turn on the news that elephants went extinct coz everyone was meditating at the same time except the Poachers.

        • Ariadna Stan

          Dude, you get the point wrong. Both with your mind and your heart. Yes, shit happens. Daily. But you feel better when you try to change (improve things) not only around you but with you. The way you put it is like … “oh, shit happens and no onea cares. Do you care? ok, so what do you do? How did you affect your own and another’s lives? Or you just sit around hopping life on earth shall be better one day? See what i mean? Now that you understand, let me tell you smth that i teach my daughter (who’s 5): Sweety, i love you more than i love myself. Because if i didn’t love myself, what love would i have to give to you?! Since i wouldn’t know what this means… The same applies to you, sorry to say so. I understand your point of view. I had it as a teenager…

          • Neville Isnt

            Thanks for your condescending reply. MASTER Supreme Person OH 1. Teach me some more super Philosophies im ignorant too. I love Lamp.
            How did you have a daughter? Sperm? I know some people who had cancer and cant have kids. shoot blanks. Adopt an Orangutan. before they are all gone from so many Daughters and sons being pumped out. ignore going to bed :-P

          • Keith

            You choose to feel that way. Is it fun?

        • Keith

          you are ranting and not making sense. try to relax.

        • Keith

          Also, you are totally missing the point and the results of meditation. Its not about ignoring the world. Its about looking directly at it, which often result in people taking direct action to help things get better.

    • Michelle Ma Belle

      so your conclusion is that happiness is evil? This is your actual conclusion if you check..

      Or that meditation is shutting out the world ie blanking out? This one makes more sense to say to blank out the world is wrong. Buddhism isnt blanking out.

      Whats killing the elephants? Tiger etc? Greed. Until the mind of greed is sorted it will go on and on. If the world was full of people like this guy animals would be safe cos they dont kill animals but respect each animal they meet as their equal. Ie as much respect as for a human. Its the mind that destroys or protects the animals cos the mind is where the decision to harm or to protect comes from.

      The only reason you care for the animals is because you yourself developed your mind to do that. You meditated on it. You are a meditator! :D

      • Michelle Ma Belle

        in fact every time you think about the animals and make plans to protect them you are doing a meditation…so if you hate meditation you better stop thinking like that

      • Neville Isnt

        who said I concluded anything? you said happiness is evil! not me. oh my..where talking about Poachers! Bankers, Governments, Corporations, Individuals. I care for the animals coz I was born with this mind. I give a shit. psychopath don’t. I don’t enjoy hunting. It wasn’t mediate the hardware.

    • John Lawlor

      It is what it is. Apocalyptic and disastrous or Regenerative and painful.. Supernovae are beautiful and serve a purpose. Perhaps this current disintegration of the biosphere is way more than mind can perceive.

    • Keith

      This mindset is poison… Abandon it at once. Harsh cynicism and sadness will not help us fix any of the situations you list. True happiness does not come from ignorance or hiding ones head in the sand. Ignorance is not bliss. The place that a meditator taps into that has happiness as a side effect has absolutly nothing to do with blindness. We can see through all of these problems to the clear light of the void underlying all of this shifting swirling illusion.

  • S. B.

    Can you speak for a foreign dignitary and translate his words to – let’s say French or maybe even English. Have you written any books and then given the proceeds to 110 humanitarian projects that have built schools for 21,000 children and helped 100,000 patients a year. I haven’t …this monk seems to be pretty active in the world in a kind of unselfish way. Ignorance is ignorance. Bliss is being useful to many and finding happiness in that.

  • Linda Gail Walters

    Never once does the article even mention his Dharma name that he took at ordination; it only calls him by his birth name. How very Eurocentric of you.

  • tsewang tenzin

    how wonderful, I love the dharma, may we find each other in our hearts.

  • maria

    Yummy gamma!

  • Newfirelock

    Ommmmm…….. ;-)

  • Guru Ātma Ösel Rinpoche

    From reading the comments here, I have a feeling that there are some misconceptions on what it is to be Buddhist.

    1 we do not find happiness in ignorance and we do not find happiness in ourselves, instead we find happiness in altruistic compassion towards others.

    2. We know that we can influence what we can control, and influence others to do the same in the hopes that each person finds enlightenment and strives to end suffering in the world.

    3. There are many different types of meditation out there, not all of them mean “empty-headed” or “empty-minded” In order to reach the peace found in meditation. There is also focused meditation, guided imagery meditation, mindfulness meditation, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy meditation, just to name a few.

    4. the four noble truths are key teachings in the Dharma

  • Geoff Cartridge

    “The happiest man on earth” according to scientists! Well!

    It is so reassuring to know that their scientific rigor extends to the whole world. All were tested eh? I wish I was that confident of their research. I am “Buddhist” and admittedly very flawed, but that is the nature of Buddhism. I am not enlightened. My journey is just beginning and I am 64. Who is perfect? Certainly not me.
    But for a claim like that to be made about happiness, peace, tranquility etc is ignoring just how Matthieu Ricard and others in holy orders of many faiths, not just Buddhism achieve this. Their accommodation, food, clothes, travel, health care etc are achieved with the generosity of others largess their labour, their sweat and their donations. Their enlightenment and spiritual achievements are at the expense of others far less fortunate. If the happiest person on earth was living free of charge in a 5 star hotel, living in luxury with a coterie of beautiful companions catering to their every whim AND they were GENUINELY happy and free of all necessity to work, we would say that they were parasites and scorned. Matthieu Ricard may be happy, good on him and I hope that he can show others how to be happy too. But maybe he needs to contact the poor and dispossessed, the hungry, the sick, the oppressed and those who find it necessary to work hard to put food in the mouths of their families or die in pain and misery. Yes you can be happy when you are warm and clothed, with a full belly and in good health. Introduce years of unmitigated suffering and deprivation and happiness becomes impossible. Even the Buddha found it impossible in the face of starvation.

    • wolf

      Totally agree with you Geoff. Yes people who meditate are happy but to say a single person is the happiest in the world looks a little unhappy. A very flawed research. They have generalized their findings across the whole globe!!!!! Ha ha. What were the selection criteria? What were the indices to measure the level of happiness? How did you define these indices? How about their validity ? What were the confounding variables (so many, as you have listed abgove: hunger, sickness, already happy, no worries for future etc etc.). It looks like scientist have risen above buddhism with their research methodologies and flawed rigour. The conclusion should have been ” one of the” amongst many happy monks around the world.

      • Keith

        You are taking it too seriously. Its a fluff piece. Its not meant to be this big scientific fact that this man is the happiest man on earth. I’m sure thats obvious to the people who worked on this project. Its simply a cute phrase and a nice headline to encourage people to meditate.

    • nobloodforhubris

      “Ricard donates all proceeds of his books to 110 humanitarian projects
      which have built schools for 21,000 children and provide healthcare for
      100,000 patients a year.”

      • Geoff Cartridge

        It would be nice to think that Ricard being such a successful author was able through the sale of his books to fund solely from his donations schools for 21,000 children and such health-care for 100,000 people! The reality is the same could be said for me and countless thousands of other people. We all contribute to to charity projects like eg World Vision. Ricard has just CONTRIBUTED to these funds like so many others. It still does not excuse the notion that his apparent “happiness” is at the expense of others working and providing for his every day needs.
        I am reminded of the hierarchy in monastic holy orders from medieval times to the present whereby the thin village people and the thin hard working lay brothers would be at the bottom of the pyramid doing the hard graft and the plump prayerful hierarchy would impress at Mass with their sanctity. It is no different. Ricard is one of the privileged and he would not be so happy if he had to work hard.

        • Keith

          Just because monks in medieval time took advantage of the poor doesn’t mean that’s how finances still work today. How do you know where there money comes from and how its spent? You assert that he is clothed and fed by the work of the poor while he does no hard work, but how could you possibly know these things? How can you know how much and at what that man works? Why try to make negative assertions about a fluff piece that’s meant to make people feel good and encourage meditation? Some people are starving and we should all be trying to help them, but that doesnt mean we have to walk around frowning while we do it.

          • Geoff Cartridge

            In reply to Keith. I lived in monastery for quite some time and as I mentioned before I am a poor Buddhist and I have a great respect for most monks and teachers. But some are certainly there for the ride!The money necessary to support monastic workers comes from investments, donations, bequests, legacies, sales of produce and fees for services. It has been like that for so many centuries.
            The mainstream religions and cults have accumulated huge fortunes and have become capital and real estate rich. Even to the extent that religious investments are a significant part of our financial system. Just cast you eyes around your local capital city, even small towns and see where church properties are situated and…they are freehold. Often the property was not bought but donated and capital values increase over the centuries. Look at that unused church on that corner block just ripe for a fast food outlet development. When it is sold, do they pay capital gains tax? Are not the religions tax exempt? What % of their income really goes to charity and what goes in eg. administration, salaries, transport, maintenance and lately legal fees?Many educational institutions are owned freehold by churches. Students pay fees to go there.Their grounds are real estate and have monetary value, Just open your eyes to view the wealth in religious properties. “How could you possibly know these things?” Really!
            In reference to most mainstream religions they are in reality business entities and you would have to be very naive to believe that their charitable works subordinate their investments.
            An example of almost exponential growth is the wonderful Tzu Chi Buddhist Compassionate Relief Society based in Hualien, Taiwan. It is a new comer. It started off in a very humble way with the Hon Cheng Yen and a small group of nuns lived in abject subsistence poverty until Taiwanese and others started to donate in a truly massive way. Hospitals, colleges, schools and universities, medical schools and world wide relief efforts have all been funded by donations.
            But it too is now a billion dollar enterprise and a significant holder of real estate in Taiwan and overseas. All has value. All has to be supported.
            No Keith, modern monks today do not knowingly and deliberately “take advantage” of the poor. They don’t see it like that at all. In fact they just don’t see it. They just accept their situation thankfully, secure in their warm well clothed, healthy happiness and let the management and their students concern themselves with the tawdry pursuits of supplying income. After all, in social terms aren’t money matters one of the biggest causes of unhappiness in society. How perfect to offload this responsibility and be happy, expecting others to achieve this.

          • Keith

            At this point its almost impossible to get away from the corruption of our monetary system. The way we collectively choose to operate makes things this way. As long as our finances and economic system is structured like this, we will all share some amount of guilt for the plight of those in poverty. Are those who chose to pursue a particular spiritual path more guilty than the rest of us, because they should know better. I don’t know about that. They probably should be louder about the need for creating a more equitable society. (we all could) but I wouldn’t blame them more than anyone else really.

    • Keith

      Why would you think that that man is unaware of the plight of the poor? They practice meditating on the suffering of those people quite a lot i imagine. Are you implying that it is impossible to be happy unless you ignore all the suffering in the world? If so, I disagree. Happiness is a byproduct of how we live our lives. True happiness doesn’t arise from ignorance, but from acceptance and holding things lightly I think.

    • Jerry Simon

      Ooh, Mr Grumpy!
      This inspires me.
      AND the plight of others in this world where suffering is an integral part reality matters to me too.
      I celebrate that beautiful look on his eyes, the help he gives the Dalai Lama in translation, the money he donates to humanitarian projects. I wish I were as helpful to humanity as Ricard seems to be!

  • Kodenavn Lise

    I got provoked by the grading of happiness. We are all on different Journeys- and happiness come and go, some have much luck at times , other more constant , others in rare small moments … I think I was provoked by the fact that he ‘s an older man of means who are highly educated – far away from the reality of most … Is he happier than others? Maybe. I just think that life is too complex to manage to be happy all the time. Detachment is difficult if you have people around you who are struggling , responsibility … I believe that yes , we can as individuals can do much to find our own happiness … but it is also a socioeconomic responsibility to facilitate that ordinary people do not have to wear themselves out completely to survive everyday life. And it is a geographic and architectural challenge to urban planners to make our surroundings easy to get excited by . More green plants. more room for integrating nature, cozy common areas, ecological design , vivid landscapes, flowing water – beauty creates harmony and happiness. Gray blocks kills it. I doubt that this monk would lable himself as happiest… he would be more humble then that and the dogmastruck journalist writing the article.

  • Kodenavn Lise

    I got provoked by the grading of happiness. We are all on different Journeys- and happiness come and go, some have much luck at times , other more constant , others in rare small moments … I think I was provoked by the fact that he ‘s an older man of means who are highly educated – far away from the reality of most … Is he happier than others? Maybe. I just think that life is too complex to manage to be happy all the time. Detachment is difficult if you have people around you who are struggling , responsibility … I believe that yes , we can as individuals can do much to find our own happiness … but it is also a socioeconomic responsibility to facilitate that ordinary people do not have to wear themselves out completely to survive everyday life. And it is a geographic and architectural challenge to urban planners to make our surroundings easy to get excited by . More green plants. more room for integrating nature, cozy common areas, ecological design , vivid landscapes, flowing water – beauty creates harmony and happiness. Gray blocks kills it. I doubt that this monk would lable himself as happiest… he would be more humble then that and the dogmastruck journalist writing the article.

    • Kodenavn Lise

      Ps. Real Name is Lise Sand Mellem – Discuss wont let me change it it seems.

  • Lise Sand Mellem

    I got provoked by the grading of happiness. We are all on different Journeys- and happiness come and go, some have much luck at times , other more constant , others in rare small moments … I think I was provoked by the fact that he ‘s an older man of means who are highly educated – far away from the reality of most … Is he happier than others? Maybe. I just think that life is too complex to manage to be happy all the time. Detachment is difficult if you have people around you who are struggling , responsibility … I believe that yes , we can as individuals can do much to find our own happiness … but it is also a socioeconomic responsibility to facilitate that ordinary people do not have to wear themselves out completely to survive everyday life. And it is a geographic and architectural challenge to urban planners to make our surroundings easy to get excited by . More green plants. more room for integrating nature, cozy common areas, ecological design , vivid landscapes, flowing water – beauty creates harmony and happiness. Gray blocks kills it. I doubt that this monk would lable himself as happiest… he would be more humble then that and the dogmastruck journalist writing the article.

  • wombatmobile

    The pseudoscience in this article reminded me of Lucy in Charlie Brown, who fixes broken hearts by tilting the patient to the left so the goodness can spill over to cover up the hate:

    “MRI scans showed that he… experienced a huge level of “positive emotions” in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is associated with happiness. The right-hand side, which handles negative thoughts, is suppressed.”

  • Lise Sand Mellem

    Why are my comments deleted?

  • Lise Sand Mellem

    I got provoked by the grading of happiness. We are all on different Journeys- and happiness come and go, some have much luck at times , other more constant , others in rare small moments … I think I was provoked by the fact that he ‘s an older man of means who are highly educated – far away from the reality of most … Is he happier than others? Maybe. I just think that life is too complex to manage to be happy all the time. Detachment is difficult if you have people around you who are struggling , responsibility … I believe that yes , we can as individuals can do much to find our own happiness … but it is also a socioeconomic responsibility to facilitate that ordinary people do not have to wear themselves out completely to survive everyday life. And it is a geographic and architectural challenge to urban planners to make our surroundings easy to get excited by . More green plants. more room for integrating nature, cozy common areas, ecological design , vivid landscapes, flowing water – beauty creates harmony and happiness. Gray blocks kills it. I doubt that this monk would lable himself as “happiest” – he is more humble then that.

  • nobloodforhubris

    The hype label “Happiest man in the world” was cooked up by the media; it has nothing to do with Ricard or his work. His books are excellent and practical.

    “[Contemplative neuroscience] is a wonderful area of research because it shows that
    meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree, but it completely
    changes your brain and therefore changes what you are.”

  • cv

    Great article, great person, and great comments by practitioners! It is normal for Buddhism to seem opaque to those new to it, so I understand and appreciate many of the doubting comments below. I practiced for decades before suddenly coming to any real understanding. What an eye opener! As far as meditation goes, the point is understanding the nature of consciousness, so you can’t miss, it’s everywhere! When the veils and chains of memory release for an instant, there spontaneously arises the direct perception that there is no division between self and other. This is transformative and extends beyond personal boundaries. What are we? A magnificent evolving moment! Everything we experience is what we are. Sounds intellectual but is not: it is unbelievably shocking and beautiful. It is not an attainment or goal, but an uncovering of what was and is and has been always there, awaiting the opening of the doors of perception, of our minds and of our hearts.

  • Danny Antivalidis
  • Tony Dickson

    Everyone seems to be missing the point here. We need to adopt an aptitude for the attitude of gratitude. This can be achieved and meditation (mindfulness meditation) & living a mindful life (8 fold path). To dig at this person and each other is to miss the point by miles. I bow to the Buddha in you & I. Namaste.

  • Ancient Brain

    Who are the researchers? What was the trial? What were the conditions? Ricard is an impressive individual, but this is not scientific; this is, sadly, Buddhistic aggrandizement. Research and science are extremely specific, and require controls and operating procedures to be valid. As many Buddhists defend their dedication as a specific set of actions and behaviors and dedications, so too, does the scientific community. This “research” is empty and misleading without specifics and methodology. One more reason to avoid being associated with any one group that says it has “the answer.” Getting very tired of the spiritual sports that seems to be governing the discourse of enlightenment–“our approach is more enlightened/better than your approach” is no better than any religion’s “my god is better than your god,” sadly…

  • LiberateYourself

    I believe it is important to remember the teachings of this philosophy if you are going to try and verify it’s truths. The Buddha taught that *life* IS suffering. Everyone who is alive will experience some kind of suffering. The key is that we do not add to, or create unnecessary suffering for ourselves or others. If we can convince others to do this, the world will be that much better for it.

    I once questioned many of the things listed in the comments. Even felt rage that someone else had attained the peace I so desperately wanted. However, I realized that the only peace I can truly attain is my own. Inner peace. There was a song once that featured a man speaking these words (sorry I do not remember it): “When you accept inner peace, the world you perceive becomes peaceful.” Does that fix all the problems in the world? No, it doesn’t. But it allows me to be a more whole human being, and to have faith in my fellow man, that if I can do it, so can he.

    At that point it is a matter of giving back. To share the message of peace and compassion with all. For if everyone changed their thinking in this way, if they opened their hearts and minds, then we would do what we can to make things right. It doesn’t mean that everything will always be perfect. That is the nature of this world, it is imperfect. But we would all experience this same happiness. Greed would never be a problem again. Don’t you see? The whole point is for *everyone* to treat others with compassion. It is the only logical way to end suffering.

    So my friends, no matter what philosophy or religion you practice, no matter if you believe in science or something spiritual… let us spread a message of peace and love across the world. Because it is the root of suffering we need to cut. All those other problems will just arise again if we do not develop compassion in our hearts, and learn how to teach others to be mindful. Being a good person has to be learned, being happy has to be learned, being compassionate has to be learned. By our nature as humans we are only programmed for survival, yet we have this gift that would allow us to elevate ourselves to a state of bliss, and to help elevate others to that state as well. We should use it!

  • Guest

    Happiness is great and all but there are other aspects to life such as unhappiness that give happiness it’s real meaning. There is just as much beauty in pain as there is in bliss.