One Christmas, my dad gave me and my siblings copies of the Dalai Lama's book The Art of Happiness - a quick read with a valuable missive. ("Be content with this book – you didn't need other presents" was my takeaway.) I was reminded of this when reading about a recent visit - focused in large part on happiness - by His Holiness to Silicon Valley.
During his visit, which was co-sponsored by Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), the Dalai Lama gave a talk at Santa Clara University on business, ethics and compassion. As Stanford News reports from the event:
In his opening remarks, [James Doty, MD,] noted that stress, anxiety and depression are the greatest health care costs to businesses – he referred to an "epidemic of depression." Companies do not pay enough attention to the well-being of its employees, he suggested.
"Is there a different approach?" asked Doty, referencing the effects of meditation and compassion on the brain. This type of research, he said, has stimulated a revolution in science. Being compassionate increases one's health, well-being and longevity, he said.
The Dalai Lama talked about how to become a "happy person" and build a "happy community" where people spread love and compassion.
"Everyone has the right to be a happy person, but generally we have too much of an emphasis on material values," he said.
Doty is director of CCARE, which studies the science of compassion. (The Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor of CCARE.) More from the article:
Doty said that researchers are especially interested in ways to integrate technology and well-being.
"We're studying the development of interventions, including web-based or smartphone-based apps that support health and well-being by decreasing stress and anxiety in the workplace," Doty said in an interview before the Dalai Lama spoke.
Previously: Are women more compassionate than men? What the science tells us, How practicing compassion could ease or eliminate chronic stress and How being compassionate can influence your health