Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk who lives on a monastery in Nepal, thinks that veganism could be the key to peace and happiness.
Ricard has been called the "happiest man in the world" by several popular media outlets, and was given the nickname by scientists after he took part in a 12-year study into meditation and compassion at the University of Wisconsin, and scored significantly above the average of hundreds of volunteers.
To reach the conclusion that Ricard is the world’s happiest man, neuroscientist Richard Davidson monitored the monk, attaching 256 sensors to him as he meditated.
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 advises 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.
He went on to say:
"True happiness can only be attained when we avoid causing pain to others.
When you ask people, 'are you in favour of justice and morality', everyone will say yes.
Do you think, you could then ask, that is it just and moral to inflict unnecessary suffering on sentient beings?
And that's exactly the case, because today this suffering is not necessary."
Ricard also highlights the health problems associated with animal product consumption. Numerous scientific studies have been taken to measure the impact of a plant-based diet in reducing the risk of major diseases, including diabetes and heart disease with positive results. A vegan diet also eases the symptoms of arthritis-sufferers and can help to prevent obesity, which affects 1 in 6 Britons and is a leading cause of death.
A 2016 study from Oxford states that the mass-adoption of a vegan diet could prevent over 8 million deaths a year.
Highlighting the damage the meat industry causes, Ricard concludes saying: “True happiness can only be attained when we avoid causing pain to others, so please become vegan like me."
Thankfully more and more people are choosing to embrace a compassionate lifestyle and going vegan than ever before.
** WARNING: the following video also features graphic footage of animals being killed for meat **
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