About Andrea Miller: Andrea Miller is a deputy editor of Lion’s Roar magazine and the editor of three anthologies, most recently, All the Rage: Buddhist Wisdom on Anger and Acceptance. In 2018, Wisdom Publications will release her first children’s book, The Day the Buddha Woke Up.
Robert Waldinger is a Zen Priest and leader of the longest-running study of human happiness. As Andrea Miller tells us, he’s found that science and Buddhism agree on what makes life happy and meaningful.
What makes life worth living? What really makes us happy? As a Zen priest and leader of the one of the most important studies of human happiness ever undertaken, Robert Waldinger has sought the answers to these questions.
What he’s discovered is that science and Buddhism arrive at the same basic answer. They both conclude, he says, that “moving beyond the small self is a huge source of both meaning and contentment.”
Waldinger is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard University and director of the famed Harvard Study of Adult Development. It’s perhaps the longest-running study of adult life ever conducted. For seventy-five continuous years, it has tracked the lives of 724 men in order to understand what makes for a healthy, happy life. Now it’s following the next generation, as it tracks the lives of the original subjects’ children and their families.
The study is one of the most important longitudinal research projects ever undertaken. Over the decades, the scientific community has followed the Study of Adult Development with interest, but the public was largely unaware of it and its findings about what really makes people happy and healthy. Then Robert Waldinger became an internet star.