People may not be familiar with the Tibetan culture and many may not practice their ways. However, recent Western studies have found out that the secrets of happiness that many people have been looking for may be contained in old Tibetan wisdom.

Tibet is among the most geographically isolated cultures in the world. The Tibetans have long been practicing and preserving a wisdom tradition that modern sciences are only now catching up to.

We now have the so-called "mindful revolution" spreading in the West and a growing amount of research funding that is dedicated to the study of contemplative practices.

Joe Loizzo, founder of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, told The Huffington Post, "Tibet has probably the greatest treasure trove of ancient contemplative knowledge, science and wisdom about how to influence the mind from the inside out. The Tibetans have an unbroken lineage of oral knowledge and technical expertise ... both in medicine and in psychology."

Loizzo is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and Columbia-trained Buddhist scholar and he has spent his career merging "the scientific and the spiritual". He tries to bring ancient teachings on contemplative practice to modern Western psychotherapy and preventive medicine.

"There's a growing understanding that we need to move back in the direction of the contemplative traditions -- the ancient wisdom that says slow down, pay attention, be kind, be at peace -- whereas our modern wisdom has said that we need to just push forward and move into the future."

Having spent years with Tibetan teachers in exile in India and in the West, Loizzo is adamant that the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, emphasizing training in mindful awareness and compassion, has something to teach everyone about living better lives.


Below are 4 principles from Tibetan Buddhism which could teach a thing or two about real happiness.


1.    Get intimate with your own mind.

According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, we need two main things to become happy: mindful awareness and loving compassion.

Loizzo says that the theory posits that the combination of attention and loving-kindness, which can be both built through contemplative practices like meditation, can help bring the brain into its most growth-oriented state and support the development of a greater state of consciousness.

Sogyal Rinpoche advises in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, "Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature". The book is a guide to meditation and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.

Studies show that meditation is effective in reducing anxiety and depressionlowering stress levels,reducing loneliness and boosting emotional well-being.

2.  Practice compassion, at every moment.

In Buddhism, there is a form of meditation for loving-kindness,"mettā bhāvanā". It requires sending kindness to yourself, loved ones, members of the community, people you dislike, and ultimately, all beings. In Tibetan tradition, monks practice the tonglen method. It requires breathing in suffering whilst breathing out happiness, eventually reducing pain and spreading peace among all beings.

What Loizzo has to say of the loving-kindness practice is, "What's unusual about the Tibetans is that they have what I call an industrial-strength version of this discipline. These practices allow us to turn our sense of life as a battle, a struggle for survival against everybody else, into a communal experience of connecting with friends and the larger world. That, we've learned, is so important to our quality of life and our personal sense of meaning in life."

Other studies shows that the loving-kindness meditation could increase positive emotions and could lead to positive relationships in the long run.

3.  Connect with others who support your journey.

Increasing happiness and well-being by your own is a difficult thing to do. You will require the support and love of other people in your life.

"Modern neuroscience is showing us that we're really wired to be extremely social creatures," Loizzo says. "We're happier and healthier when we do that in a committed way ... We need to learn to connect with others with mindful openness and positivity, and to deal with the daily slings and arrows and work through those and maintain a sense of connection that's positive. This is something we practice in spiritual communities."

A positive social support network has been linked to a number of health benefits, including lower stress levels and increased longevity.

4.  Embrace death -- don't fear it.

Many people fear death, but this principle of Buddhism teaches you to embrace it. Tibetan Buddhist believes that death should be embraced, and that dying can be the "crowing achievement" of a life well lived. Although this sprung forth from a belief in reincarnation, it still holds true. Tibetans believe that meditation can help people come to terms with the nature of life and death.

Loizzo says that embracing the idea of death and being present ... gives his patients a new lease on life. "The ancient traditions made a science of trying to understand the death process and make meaning out of it ... This kind of approach of facing reality, even the parts that scare us, has tremendous potential for healing."

And this early doctrine has science to back it up.  Recent studies by Australian researchers say that an acceptance of what can't be changed may be a significant predictor of life satisfaction.