Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Idle Science

Researchers Crown Buddhist Monk the World's Happiest Man 348

Posted by samzenpus
from the mr.-bluebird-on-my-shoulder dept.
concealment writes in with a story about a man who has been crowned the world's happiest. "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. 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,' Davidson said. The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain's left pre-frontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity, researchers believe."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Researchers Crown Buddhist Monk the World's Happiest Man

Comments Filter:
  • Humor (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2012 @02:52AM (#41839497)

    when reading this, my brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience!

    • Re:Humor (Score:5, Funny)

      by Genda (560240) <mariet.got@net> on Thursday November 01, 2012 @02:59AM (#41839527) Journal

      You need to repeat this twice... its a mantra!

    • Re:Humor (Score:5, Funny)

      by Spad (470073) <slashdot@spad.YEATSco.uk minus poet> on Thursday November 01, 2012 @03:21AM (#41839619) Homepage

      That's nothing, when reading this, my brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience!

      • Re:Humor (Score:4, Funny)

        by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday November 01, 2012 @09:20AM (#41841755) Homepage Journal

        Wow, so many of you have gotten brain scans... I never have. Call your mom and have her scan my brain, Leonard! I'm jealous! I have no idea if my brain produces a level of gamma waves -- those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory --never before reported in neuroscience!

        But please have her not make me cry like she did Penny. Not many gamma waves there.

        An old lady I know said her brain produces a level of grandma waves -- those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory --never before reported in neuroscience!

    • by Maow (620678)

      when reading this, my brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience!

      When reading this, my brain produces a level of gamma rays — "ouch!"

  • Just like Hulk... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gagol (583737) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @03:08AM (#41839563)
    ...but the complete opposite. On a more serious note, this is the kind of story that will make me take a second look into meditation. Cant wait to enjoy massive gamma waves myself!
    • by a_hanso (1891616) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @04:44AM (#41839981) Journal
      Make me happy. You would like me when I'm happy.
    • Re:Just like Hulk... (Score:5, Informative)

      by phyrz (669413) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @07:03AM (#41840609)
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @07:23AM (#41840711) Homepage Journal

      On a more serious note, this is the kind of story that will make me take a second look into meditation.

      If I can make a suggestion, you might want to try tai chi. I found sitting meditation tedious and boring, but the meditation in tai chi, which is the same mindfulness meditation found in Buddhism, is a lot more engaging for me.

      I started tai chi when my daughter was 10 (she's 23 now) and she and my wife have told me I'm a much happier, easier-to-be-with person since I've been doing tai chi. I'm also a lot more physically healthy.

      My lineage grandmaster, Cheng Man Ching, when asked what the difference between the Buddhist meditation and the Chinese tai chi mediation, says that it gets to the same place, but if he's meditating alongside a Buddhist monk and they are attacked by bandits, Master Cheng will be able to neutralize the attackers, protecting himself and the Buddhist monk, without interrupting his meditation.

      In other words, it makes you a bad-ass too, which is a plus.

      • by tehcyder (746570) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @08:32AM (#41841311) Journal

        My lineage grandmaster, Cheng Man Ching, when asked what the difference between the Buddhist meditation and the Chinese tai chi mediation, says that it gets to the same place, but if he's meditating alongside a Buddhist monk and they are attacked by bandits, Master Cheng will be able to neutralize the attackers, protecting himself and the Buddhist monk, without interrupting his meditation.

        Not if the bandits have a GE M134 minigun he won't.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I don't know about that, some of those Bhuddist monks can be pretty badassed. I spent a year in Thailand, and in their version of Bhuddism, every young man must spend a year as a monk. I saw a Thai kickboxing vs gungfu match, and the Thais beat the holy shit out of the Chinese. Some of the Gungfu guys wound up in the hospital.

        I also saw a few of the guys in the orange robes do shit that made David Copperfield look like a piker.

      • by jkauzlar (596349) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @02:27PM (#41845479) Homepage

        The boredom and tedium you feel during sitting meditation is exactly the problem that sitting meditation is meant to solve-- that is, stopping the mental unrest that makes you constantly want to do things. So you probably *should* be doing sitting meditation. That said, yes it's incredibly frustrating, but supposedly after some time your concentration is developed and it becomes a pleasurable activity. Also I don't know the first thing about Tai Chi (except that you look silly when you do it) so you might be totally correct.

    • Following up on your "serious note" part, I did a review of the peer-reviewed literature [ideonexus.com] concerning the beneficial and inconsequential effects of meditation from the perspective of a rational secular skeptic. Some studies have found no benefits, but the majority of them do find mindfulness meditation, as opposed to other forms of meditation, does improve brain plasticity, increase novel thinking, and greatly improves the sense of well-being. This really seems to be something we should work into our lives li
      • This really seems to be something we should work into our lives like physical fitness and eating healthy.

        Well damn! I haven't done well at including those in my life, either!

  • Idle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Thursday November 01, 2012 @03:27AM (#41839635) Homepage

    This research has practical uses. It's a shame it was filed under "idle".

    Understanding how happiness in the human brain works could lead to new ways to treat depression and other mental illnesses. It could also lead to the development of a tasp like device.

  • by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox&gmail,com> on Thursday November 01, 2012 @03:30AM (#41839647) Homepage Journal

    I find pretty much all religion abhorrent. Buddhism however, while still abhorrent for believing in mystical ideas that go against the simplest (and therefore best) definitions of reality, is definitely less abhorrent than the others. I've seen a lot of quotes from the Dalai Lama that I really appreciate and can agree wholeheartedly with. This is something I can't often say for religious leaders of any other faiths.

    What I'd really like to see is some good scientific research put in to this sort of thing, stripping away the associated mysticism and getting right to the core of it. Based on the rather limited article, it appears this might not be too difficult as he may already be keeping the mysticism to a minimum.

    • by Tom (822)

      There's quite a bit of "real" at the core of most religions. The problem is that the part that's real is not what they say it is.

      For example, group prayer certainly strengthens a community, communicates shared values etc. And quite a few religious rituals do have psychological effects (not all positive - an exorcism is a pretty good way to give someone mental damage).

      That is true for most "old knowledges". Strip away the mysticism from things like Meditation, Tantra or some of the esoteric stuff and you fin

    • by Fantom42 (174630)

      What I'd really like to see is some good scientific research put in to this sort of thing, stripping away the associated mysticism and getting right to the core of it. Based on the rather limited article, it appears this might not be too difficult as he may already be keeping the mysticism to a minimum.

      That's probably what these neuroscientists were likely doing. There has been a bunch of psychology research into the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness_(psychology) [wikipedia.org]
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144007.htm [sciencedaily.com]
      http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/012311.htm [nih.gov]

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      This is something I can't often say for religious leaders of any other faiths.

      Among every single major religious umbrella, you can find people who are the wisest and nicest folks you've ever heard of, and also people who are the dumbest and meanest folks you've ever heard of.

      And that includes atheists: There are plenty of hardworking and moral atheists out there. There are also dogmatic atheists (mostly communists) who ordered that anyone who professed a religion be executed.

    • ...the simplest (and therefore best) definitions of reality...

      Serious question, but how do you find such things as M-Theory or Quantum Mechanics to be the simplest explanation?

      Also with regards to scientific research that strips away the mysticism, there is actually quite a bit of solid scientific research into meditation [google.com] that has been going on the past couple years that have been pointing to a number of positive effects due to it.

      • Serious question, but how do you find such things as M-Theory or Quantum Mechanics to be the simplest explanation?

        Because despite their complexity, no simpler theory has yet been proposed that matches the facts quite as well...

        Plus, the jury is still firmly out on M-Theory (although I do admire the elegance, even if it turns out to be horribly wrong)

        Also with regards to scientific research that strips away the mysticism, there is actually quite a bit of solid scientific research into meditation [google.com] that has been going on the past couple years that have been pointing to a number of positive effects due to it.

        Oh definitely - that's the sort of research I'm interested in. I have no doubt meditation can be extremely useful; but I'd like to understand the mechanisms and whys and wherefores without it all being tied up in mysticism.

    • by Amouth (879122)

      Please note that Buddhism isn't a religion, it is a way of life. Don't confuse the two

    • Buddhism's great, you just need to kill the Buddha (lose the hero-worship and the mysticism).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2012 @03:35AM (#41839673)

    I know when I can get Enlightenment to compile I am very happy, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2012 @03:48AM (#41839711)

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2569 ... :-)

  • This article was brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

    Enjoy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2012 @05:51AM (#41840257)

    It's because he's not married :).

  • Why don't we base a country's prosperity on some kind of 'happiness index' (long-term), rather than things like GDP, unemployment rate, or life expectancy?

    Whatever you want to call it - 'happiness', 'wellbeing', or 'contentment', I would think this metric takes into account GDP, unemployment rate, health, and many more. It's what we all ultimately need after all, so why do we never seem to bother with it? Even if a 'level of happiness' is a scientifically vague concept, we could at least make a rough att
  • "I am the serenest!" [archive.org]. Apologies for archive.org link but the page has disappeared from their website.
  • ...as just this last weekend I was an attendee of the first internet based PSYCH-K conference in which brain mapping was a good amount of the talks. Also was mentioned of relevant articles published and yet to be published on brain mapping and PSYCH-K.

  • Remember, Buddhist monks can't have sex with a woman or even touch a woman. If this is the only way to get gamma waves for him, I'll pass...I've found a better way to get the same results than just dreaming and my wife agrees.
    • by Guppy (12314) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @11:12AM (#41843117)

      Remember, Buddhist monks can't have sex with a woman or even touch a woman.

      Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling. As they came around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross at an intersection.

      "Come on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

      Ekido did not speak until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

      "I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"

  • Did he sleep with a hot chick last night who was dressed as Wonder Woman? Sorry buddy, you're #2.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @08:38AM (#41841365) Homepage Journal
    After a couple of decades of not being happy with anything, you have to start to realize that perhaps the cause of the problem... is you.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @10:13AM (#41842321) Journal
    Scientists at the University of Lubbock, TX, reported that Richard Small, a Microsoft sales engineer, to be the world's angriest man. When he was shown Nate Silver's projections of Romney's chances for victory, while thinking about his name and how it matches his employers name his brain emitted Delta waves at levels never reported in neuroscience before. The delta waves are said to measure the level of anger.

Klein bottle for rent -- inquire within.

Working...