The measure of happiness
MATTHIEU RICARD, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, is said to be the world’s happiest man.
Scientists gave the 70-year-old the moniker after he took part in a 12-year study into meditation and compassion at the University of Wisconsin.
But Ricard, who is originally from France and lives in a monastery in Nepal, revealed to GQ magazine that he finds the title “absurd.”
“I know happier monks,” the Buddhist who can meditate for days at a time told the magazine.
“I really do. It’s absurd,” he added.
To reach the conclusion that Ricard is the world’s happiest man, neuroscientist Richard Davidson hooked the monk up to 256 sensors as he meditated on compassion.
Davidson discovered that Ricard’s brain produced a level of gamma waves – which are linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory – never before reported in scientific literature.
“The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain’s left prefrontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, allowing him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity,” Davidson wrote.
Despite shunning the title, Ricard has written widely on his life philosophy in books including Altruism, On the Path to Enlightenment, and Happiness.
Asked how others can achieve happiness, Richard told the Business Insider last year that benevolence and altruism are key.
Training the mind by thinking happy thoughts continuously for 15 minutes a day also helps.
Science backs his ideas, as Davidson’s study showed that 20 minutes of meditation can make a person feel happier.
“Comparison is the happiness,” he said. Independent killer of – The
Ricard (left) and Davidson before the start of the test to measure Ricard’s happiness.