Davidson discovered that Ricard’s brain produced a level of gamma waves – which are linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory – that had never before been reported in scientific studies.
Now the happy monk claims that eating with a clear conscience is his top tip to achieving a peaceful life.
“I am extremely concerned by the fate of the 8 million other species who share this world with us, and who, like us, wish to avoid suffering and live out their lives,”Ricard told animal rights organisation Peta.
“True happiness can only be attained when we avoid causing pain to others,” he concluded.
When quizzed on ways people can achieve total happiness, Richard also told Business Insider last year that benevolence and altruism are equally important. The reason, he says, is that thinking about yourself is exhausting and ultimately leads to unhappiness.
“It’s not the moral ground,” Ricard says. “It’s simply that me, me, me all day long is very stuffy. And it’s quite miserable, because you instrumentalise the whole world as a threat, or as a potential sort of interest [to yourself].”
He also believes that meditating on happy thoughts, which the monk can do for days at a time, can also lead others onto the path of enlightenment.
“With mental training, we can always bring [our level of happiness] to a different level,” he told Business Insider.
“It’s like running. If I train, I might run a marathon. I might not become an Olympic champion, but there is a huge difference between training and not training. So why should that not apply to the mind?”
Speaking to GQ, he also said that comparing yourself to the lives of your peers will fill you with an unhappy jealousy. “Comparison is the killer of happiness,” he said.