30 November, 2020

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Buddhist Monk Declared World’s Happiest Man

” Matthieu Ricard, a globe-trotting polymath who left everything behind to become a Tibetan Buddhist in a Himalayan hermitage, says anyone can be happy if they only train their brain. Neuroscientist Richard Davidson wired up Ricard’s skull with 256 sensors at the University of Wisconsin four years ago as part of research on hundreds of advanced practitioners of meditation.” Agence France-Presse reports. Read more here

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    The headline should read “French geneticist who became a Buddhist Monk shows more left frontal-lobe activity and more gamma waves than others who have been tested”. But that wouldn’t sell as many newspapers, would it?

    What was found in the actual science (disproportionate activity in the left frontal lobes and many gamma waves when meditating on compassion) does not justify the conclusion that this is the “world’s happiest man”. These findings can have other explanations and interpretations. Besides, isn’t the dedicated pursuit of ones own personal happiness a rather selfish objective? (even if it IS enshrined in the American constitution).

    Still, it’s nice to see the neuroscience establishment investigating positive rather than negative emotions, for a change (the vast majority of studies on emotion, since the 1940s, have been on fear, anger and rage, usually using mistreated animals rather than meditating monks).

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      I agree because the scientific results have to be further investigated before coming to conclusions like ‘being the happiest’ etc. Happiness is a composite thing with traces in socio-politco-cultural-economic environments. A man, however much he has meditated, cannot be happy when all his fellow beings are suffering and hence, the conclusion has been drawn by ignoring the suffering of others.
      What a paradox in life and living!

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      It is not a competition

      Enlightenment is the aim of Buddism

      A bit different to ‘Happyness’

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    Mahinda must be even more happier with all those commissions from the chinese.

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    What is Happiness? I believe when one has no worries he is a Happy Man. What brings Worry? Ownership of Wealth, Protecting and Propergating Wealth. I have built houses for my children educated them to hold comfortable jobs and I have nothing of my own. I live in a small rented Apartment where repairs or breakdowns are not my concern. I have sufficient clothing and there is nothing that compels me to yearn for. I travel often, visit friends and relatives. An avid reader and have enough spare time in my hands where I spend on serfing the Net. I eat moderately, take a drink socially and enjoy life. I have no qualms whether I live or die tomorrow. Happiness is self created as much as Worry is.

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      Gamini my friend, you omitted the thing that brings you the greatest happiness! Bashing all theists! We have come along way since our first encounter! I believe our communication has helped us to understand opposing views in a more civilized manner! Keep smiling always.

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        Jamal you have got me wrong. If only we have been friends you will realise what sort of a character I am. I have raised such issues with some of my Muslim friends and none have spat venom or have attempted to harm me. The discussions have been very peaceful and cordial although very heated and volatile. That is the spirit. How can I gain happiness, as I am not denouncing Islam but have spoken facts and not mere belief, that is all. You are completely free to believe and have faith in Islam as that is your right.

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          Gamini, I was really ‘pulling your leg’ to engage you in light banter. Now seriously speaking what you say makes sense. If your needs are few then that state of self satisfaction is easily acquired. Greed and envy has the opposite effect. How often do we feel that same satisfaction when we extend our hand to help the needy and less fortunate? Strangely I am living in circumstances not very different from the description of your lifestyle ( except taking that social shot! – I think you will understand why!)

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          Jamal this life of ours when we start, we believe, to live up to 70 to 80 years is a hell of a long time. By the time one turns around, half of it is gone and one has very little time left. It is only then that wisdom dawns on many, that jealousy, hatred, envy, makes no sense and does not bring happiness to one. If one lives a life in moderation, without great expectation, take life as it comes, one will never have regrets. Never look back and repent. Look forward and learn from past mistakes if any. Take care and good luck to you and family.

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      DHANITA GOPALA IN 21 CENTURY.

      Why you are not challenging in the environment to make any thing against you?

      samarasekara

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      DHANIyA GOPALA IN 21 CENTURY.

      Why you are not challenging in the environment to make any thing against you?

      samarasekara

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      I like it baby. but sometime be negative with ruling party. doesnt mattar whoever ruling party keep your mind with your goal.

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    Meditating on compassion should be an end it itself and not a means for our own aims. It is becomes simply contradictory that research makes a conlusion that meditating on compassion can bring happiness. I agree with you Romesh and SL Watcher.

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    This Tibetan buddhist should think of/meditate about, the tibetan monks who have been self immolating themselves to protest the human rights abuses on the tibetan nation by the chinese.
    Will he be happy?
    Is meditation a form of mental masturbation? Is this why it brings ‘happiness’?

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      And what use will meditating on suffering produce, other than unhappiness? Why be unhappy when one can be happy?

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    Some time ago, I carried a news story in my monthly Buddhist newspaper Buddhist Times published in Sri Lanka, about Matthieu Ricard as the “worlds’ happiest man”, but like Dr. Romesh Senewiratne, I was wondering how one arrived at that conclusion.

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    Well, he looks happy!

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    Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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    The Sri Lankan Buddhist monks also must be happy for having vanquished the Tamils!
    Happiness for Sri Lanka is to get rid of minority tamils and muslims.

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    Gamini – I am impressed with your attitude to life and am not surprised in your secular approach to the reality around us. Both of us have much in common – that includes occasional courtesies to Bacchus. Ricard comes from a family with strong educational and cultural moorings. His parents are close friends of Nobel Laureates and he comes from that liberal paradise – Paris, a city I loved to visit since I set my foot there in 1974. The Land of Voltaire, Rousseu and Montesque. Of Victor Hugo and Jean-Paul Sarte in recent times. To those in search of mental peace, truth and justice genuine Buddhism offers much learning potential. I find much satisfaction in my daily (Hindu) prayers. I have profited learning from Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Sufism as well. I find those people in any part of the world practising true religion in peace are easy to get along with. They believe their happiness is integrated with that of others and, therefore, structure their conduct and attitudes accordingly. In this world of much complexity, it is good to hear of a man who has at last found true happiness.

    Senguttuvan

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      Dear Senguttuvan,
      I too read about the monk Ricard’s culturally and educationally enriched childhood…how Nobel-prize winners were friends of his parents etc. Also about his love of music and his pre-clerical achievements. Such experiences are among several reasons why he may have shown more left frontal-lobe activity than right frontal-lobe activity on scan. The scientific data does not establish that he is even particularly happy let alone the “happiest man in the world”.

      I am glad that Gamini regards himself as happy, and wish him well. I am surprised, though, that a happy, contented, elderly gentleman would be advocating “bullets if the ballots fail”. A course of action to be taken by others and not himself.

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        Romesh tell me frankly, what recourse is there when the Ballot fails due to deliberate distortion and manipulation? You can see justice being meted to their own appointee of CJ.

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          Gamini, there is deliberate distortion and manipulation in political propaganda around the world, not to mention in advertising. The laws, rules and regulations that are designed to govern countries are shaped by vested interests, and so is the “economy”. Though things are slowly improving, the dissemination of information in the media has been controlled, almost completely, by the so-called “mainstream media” – corporate media giants, in other words. The bottom line for the companies we relied on to provide information about the world was attracting advertising dollars, rather than enlightening the reading, listening and viewing public.

          The best remedy to the global epidemic of distortion and manipulation, is to be wise to the lies and to try and get to the truth about things. Then, those who are motivated to do so can share the information with others – quickly and with unprecedented efficiency using modern digital technology! I’d rather continuing to believe that ultimately the pen is mightier than the sword, the keyboard is mightier than a bullet, and the camera is mightier than the gun.

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      Senguttuvan, thanks for your sentiments expressed. Unfortunately Buddhism has been hijacked by some for their own advantage. Really Buddhism does not belong to any, not even the Sinhalese and Lord Buddha did not leave a Register for one to register as a Buddhist, to claim his Philosophy. I never state that I am a Buddhist, but I live according to the Buddhist Philosophy. Infact the period I lived in Manchester in the UK, I saw the neighboured although Anglican, practising a Buddhist way of life more than the labeled Buddhist in Sri Lanka. Although they do not recite the five precepts of Pansil everyday, they adhere to them in practise. The society was free of hatred, jealousy and envy. Very helpfull to the neighbours in need. In Salford where I lived, one day my vehicle the battery run down, two passing vehicles stopped and helped me, by Brits who were completely unknown to me. Here in Sri Lanka the known also would have conveniently passed pretending not to see. I believe we have a long way to go, to discover us as HUMANS. I am honestly happy that we have a Media as this to exchange ides across the Globe to understand each of us better, that we are all ONE and all divisions are man made. Good Luck! Take Care!

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    Gamini – Sometimes I am accused of being anti-Buddhist (and even anti-Islamic) I certainly am not. Buddhism also, in its fullest essence, has much to offer. This is why many of the learned in the West and elsewhere respect it. My problem is with those who have hijacked the institution of Buddhism in Sri Lanka – for economic, social and political advantage and try to fool the public with their sophistry. In mhy visits there I see similar weaknesses in Thailand and Burma too – though their infection in governance there is to a lesser scale. If Buddhism is taught, understood and lived ideally we will soon be the Miracle of …… which our rulers now deceitfully claimours to be.

    Senguttuvan

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    Senguttuvan, who cares for what others think. Do what is right always. I have no respect for Buddhist Priests and I have no need for them as I have laid strict instructions not to allow any near my coffin. There are none who have renounced worldy desires. The Priest’s craving are more than the Laity.

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    WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO THE BUDDHA AND TEACHINGS, I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THE PRIESTS. WE KNOW WHAT THEY ARE UP TO WITHIN AND OUTSIDE TEMPLES.
    “POKING” THEIR FINGER IN EVERY “PIE-YA”

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