using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : March 2016
Peter Singer: Matthieu, how did you come to be known as the “happiest man in the world”? What is it like to walk around with that burden? [Laughter] Matthieu Ricard: We were studying the effect on the brain of meditating on compassion and altruistic love, and we saw that it powerfully activated certain areas of my brain, in gamma fre- quency especially. Then several years later, I got a midnight call in Nepal that the BBC wanted to talk to me, because an article in the Indepen- dent said that they’d found the happiest person in the world— who was me. I got on the line and said, “Well, anyone can be the happiest man or woman in the world—if you look for happiness in the right Put Your Compassion into Action Philosopher PETER SINGER and philanthropist JULIA WISE talk with Buddhist monk and author MATTHIEU RICARD about why altruism leads to innumerable benefits—not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but for all beings. ILLUSTRATIONS BY ANDRÉ SLOB Ricard, Singer, and Wise at “A Conversation About Altruism” at Princeton University. place.” I made all these disclaimers, but from then on it was out of control. The “happiest man” idea still pops up every few years. Finally, a Tibetan friend of mine said, “Just use it for a good purpose. It’s better than being called the unhappiest person in the world!” [Laughter] But there’s clearly no scientific basis for it—there’s no happiness center in the brain as such. Peter Singer: So, what is happiness? Matthieu Ricard: One misunderstanding is that it’s an endless succession of pleasant experiences. That seems more like a recipe for exhaustion than anything else. [Laughter] Pleasure is something that changes all the time. You can listen to the most beautiful music, but twenty-four nonstop hours of it can be torture. You can also feel great pleasure even if everyone is suffering around you. I think happiness is basically a cluster of the fundamental human qualities. Altruism is one of the key ones, and also inner strength, inner freedom, resilience. This kind of happiness is a way of being, and the more you experience it, the more it deep- ens. You can cultivate it. Peter Singer: In your book you argue that altruism is the path to happiness, rather than consuming material goods, and there’s good research on that. In one study, students were randomly selected and given money. Half were told to do something good for others, and half were told to spend it on having a good time. LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2016 60