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The happiest day in your life

By Matthieu Ricard on December 21, 2011

A Japanese researcher, specialist of laughter, took part in a meeting between the Dalai Lama and a group of scientists and philosophers, organized by the Mind and Life Institute to which I belong. This distinguished researcher was scheduled to make his presentation on the fifth and final day of the meeting. During the week he rarely intervened and hardly ever smiled. So we were all the more eager and curious to hear his presentation. It turned out that this scholar had a the dry sense of humor. He explained that a group of a hundred people with diabetes were invited to attend a performance of one of the most popular comics in Japan. All had a good dose of laughter for over an hour. Blood samples taken at the end of the show showed a significant decrease in the level of a blood protein involved in the symptoms of diabetes.
The next day the same group of people were invited to hear a scholarly presentation by a university professor. When blood samples were taken at the end of the conference, it appeared that the level of the same protein had not decreased but had in fact increased slightly.
The Japanese scientist then delivered his verdict with great seriousness: ‟The conclusion of this study is: if you have diabetes, do not listen to an academic presentation! ‟ 173- A Japanese researcher, specialist of laughter, took part in a meeting between the Dalai Lama and a group of scientists and philosophers, organized by the Mind and Life Institute to which I belong. This distinguished researcher was scheduled to make his presentation on the fifth and final day of the meeting.
During the week he rarely intervened and hardly ever smiled. So we were all the more eager and curious to hear his presentation. It turned out that this scholar had a the dry sense of humor. He explained that a group of a hundred people with diabetes were invited to attend a performance of one of the most popular comics in Japan. All had a good dose of laughter for over an hour. Blood samples taken at the end of the show showed a significant decrease in the level of a blood protein involved in the symptoms of diabetes.

The next day the same group of people were invited to hear a scholarly presentation by a university professor. When blood samples were taken at the end of the conference, it appeared that the level of the same protein had not decreased but had in fact increased slightly.

The Japanese scientist then delivered his verdict with great seriousness: ‟The conclusion of this study is: if you have diabetes, do not listen to an academic presentation! ‟ As yet Marcel Pagnol wrote: ‟Laughter is something that God gave men to console them from being intelligent.”

Then he ended with a question to the Dalai Lama: ‟Your Holiness, can you tell us what was the happiest moment of your life? ‟ A silence full of expectation fell in the room, composed of a dozen scientists, some Buddhist scholars and meditators, and a hundred guests. The Dalai Lama paused for a while, looked up in space, as if seeking an answer deep within himself, then suddenly, he leaned forward and said to the Japanese scholar in a resounding voice, ‟I think …. Now ! ‟
Everyone broke into a joyful laughter and the meeting was adjourned. Delighted, the Japanese scholar was himself laughing heartily.
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From the recent photobook 108 Sourires