Happiest man on earth is a Buddhist monk

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by Jaya

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.

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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.

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Long Nguyen
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Long Nguyen

sure!!!

Neville Isnt
Guest
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
Guest
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.

BBN Team
Guest
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.

Tarol
Guest
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… Read more »

Tarol
Guest
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… Read more »

Ross Campbell
Guest

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.

S. B.
Guest
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.

Neville Isnt
Guest
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.… Read more »

Neville Isnt
Guest
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

Neville Isnt
Guest
Neville Isnt

We know that… Dirrrr

Neville Isnt
Guest
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… Read more »

Sam
Guest
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… Read more »

Neville Isnt
Guest
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.

Linda Gail Walters
Guest
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
Guest
tsewang tenzin

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

Dilhank
Guest
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!! 🙂

Leila Lind Karlsson
Guest
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.

Ariadna Stan
Guest
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… Read more »

Joan.n
Guest
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…

Michelle Ma Belle
Guest
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… Read more »

Michelle Ma Belle
Guest
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

maria
Guest
maria

Yummy gamma!

Newfirelock
Guest
Newfirelock

Ommmmm…….. 😉

Guru Ātma Ösel Rinpoche
Guest
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
Guest
Neville Isnt

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

Neville Isnt
Guest
Neville Isnt

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

Neville Isnt
Guest
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… Read more »

guest
Guest
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… Read more »

Neville Isnt
Guest
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.

Neville Isnt
Guest
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 😛

Guru Ātma Ösel Rinpoche
Guest
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.

Guru Ātma Ösel Rinpoche
Guest
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… Read more »

Geoff Cartridge
Guest
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… Read more »

Kodenavn Lise
Guest
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 ,… Read more »

Kodenavn Lise
Guest
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 ,… Read more »

Kodenavn Lise
Guest
Kodenavn Lise

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

Lise Sand Mellem
Guest
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 ,… Read more »

wolf
Guest
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… Read more »

wombatmobile
Guest
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.”

Neville Isnt
Guest
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… Read more »

Lise Sand Mellem
Guest
Lise Sand Mellem

Why are my comments deleted?

Lise Sand Mellem
Guest
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 ,… Read more »

mpeniak
Guest
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
Guest
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.”

nobloodforhubris
Guest
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.”

nobloodforhubris
Guest
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.”

cv
Guest
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… Read more »

Geoff Cartridge
Guest
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.… Read more »

Danny Antivalidis
Guest
Danny Antivalidis