Matthieu Ricard is a Renaissance man: a scientist, among the best-selling authors, photographer, charismatic speaker, translator, and great humanitarian.
He has lived and worked in the Himalayan region for over forty years.Born in France in 1946, he grew up among the personalities and ideas of Paris intellectual circles. Travelling to India in 1967, he met some of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist masters of the time, including Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, who were to become his main spiritual teachers. After he earned a Ph-D degree in cell genetics, in 1972 he moved to the Himalayas and became a Buddhist monk, studying and living near his teachers. Since 1989, he has been the French interpreter for the Dalai Lama.He is the author of several best selling books including The Monk and the Philosopher, Happiness, A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill, and Why Meditate? He is also the author and photographer of several books including Tibet: An Inner Journey, Motionless Journey, and Bhutan, Land of Peace.Through his writings and photographs, Matthieu Ricard infuses the dialogue between Tibetan Buddhism and the West with understanding, intelligence and compassion.
Matthieu Ricard is a pioneer and active participant in the research with neuroscientists and psychologists on the effect of meditation on the brain at various universities in the USA and Europe and with the Mind Life Institute.He devotes all the proceeds of his books and seminars and much of his time to humanitarian projects (education, social services, health, and environment) in Tibet, India, and Nepal through Karuna-Shechen, the charitable organization he founded. He received the French National Order of Merit for his humanitarian work in the East.We are honored that Matthieu Ricard replied to our 2 questions:
What Brings You Happiness?
To sit on the balcony of my small hermitage in the early morning and engage in spiritual practice while gazing at the Himalayas. To see the smile of children who can finally get an education through the schools we built in Nepal. To feel the contentment of the elderly in a home we provided for them in a remote area of Tibet.
To be in the presence of men and women who radiate wisdom and compassion, such at the 14th Dalai Lama and to remember the kindness of my spiritual teachers. To sincerely attempt to transform myself to better be of service to others.
What Would You Change (If You Could) To Make Our World
A Better Place?
To bring about more altruism and compassion in people’s minds and in our cultures. Important and beneficial changes could be accomplished if we cooperated more effectively with each other and were more considerate of others. In the short- term we would manage the economy with less greed; in the mid-term we would make sure that working conditions, family life, and many other aspects of our lives were improved; and in the long-term we would not blindly sacrifice the world that we will hand down to future generations in favor of our short-lived desires.