If you search the Google `the happiest man in the world’, the result is Matthieu Ricard. The answer has not changed for years now.
Born on February 15, 1946, he is described as a French writer, photographer, translator and Buddhist monk who resides at Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Nepal.
Son of French philosopher late Jean-François and lyrical abstractionist painter Yahne Le Toumelin, he grew up among the personalities and ideas of French intellectual circles. But he later found that intellectual discourses did not make the life better for any of them around. He received a Ph.D. degree in molecular genetics from the Pasteur Institute in 1972. But his call came then and he left the promising job to practice Tibetan Buddhism in the Himalayas.
The tag as the Happiest man in the world is not a media-imposed one. He was made to undergo a 12-year brain study by neuroscientist from the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson. The scientist hooked up Ricard’s head to 256 sensors and found that when Ricard was meditating on compassion, his mind was unusually light.
“The scans showed that when meditating on compassion, Ricard’s brain produces a level of gamma waves – those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory – ‘never reported before in the neuroscience literature’, according to Davidson.
Ricard, who does not attach much value to his popular tag in the media, says that he can meditate for days without getting bored. Altruism in its sublime sense is the one and only secret of his happiness. He likes to wake up very early, see the sun-rise, visit the villages and interact with the children everyday when he is around.
The simple advise he gives to the world is that one should stop thinking about `me, me, me’. He says that anyone can be the happiest person in the world, if he looks for happiness in the right place. For him, happiness is not an endless chase of success.
A celebrated author and popular speaker, Ricard is also the founder of Karuna-Shechen, a charitable non-profit organization rooted in the ideal of compassion in action. Since 2000, Karuna-Shechen has been developing and managing programs in primary health care, education, and social services for the under-served populations of India, Nepal, and Tibet.In 2015, over 400,000 people benefited from Karuna-Shechen’s programs.
“As the world becomes increasingly busy and complex, the importance of developing and training our mind to become a better person becomes even more essential. Rushing about and striving to accomplish for the sake of “doing” does not serve the greater good or help to create a better world unless benevolent mindfulness is present. In fact, what many people refer to as accomplishments–status, wealth, and possessions–are actually the direct result of lack of wisdom. They come from striving after selfish gain at the expense of others or the planet,” he writes in his latest blog. (https://www.matthieuricard.org/en/blog/posts/caring-mindfulness-at-the-service-of-others)