A Sniper's "Mindfulness"

By Matthieu Ricard on April 28, 2009

Is mindfulness wholesome in and of itself? An inspiring meeting convened by the Mind and Life Institute between the Dalai Lama and a group of distinguished scientists and scholars recently was held in Dharamsala, India. Rupert Gethin, an eminent scholar of the Theravada and Pali tradition of Buddhism, expressed the opinion that mind...

Attention and Emotions

By Matthieu Ricard on April 25, 2009

Attention is a quality that is indispensable to the attainment of our goals, whether they are oriented to the world and others, or focused inwardly to self- transformation. When attention is focused, directed, free from bias, and sharpened by penetrating insight and logical investigation, it will help to ascertain reality correctly.  When att...

Daily spiritual practice

By Matthieu Ricard on April 23, 2009

Spiritual practice can be enormously bene?cial. The fact is, it is possible to undergo genuine spiritual training by devoting some time every day to meditation. More people than you might think do so, while leading regular family lives and doing absorbing work. The positive bene?ts of such a life far outweigh the few problems of schedule arra...

Cultivating altruism

By Matthieu Ricard on April 21, 2009

Usually, we all experience thoughts of loving kindness, generosity, inner peace and freedom from conflicts. But these thoughts are fleeting and will soon be replaced by other thoughts, including afflictive ones such as anger and jealousy. To fully integrate altruism and compassion in our midstream, we need to do more than that. We need to cul...

Happiness and Reality

By Matthieu Ricard on April 20, 2009

Happiness is, to begin with, a love of life. To have lost all reason for living is to open up an abyss of suffering. As important as external conditions may be, suffering, like well-being, is essentially an state of mind. Understanding that is the key prerequisite to a life worth living. What mental conditions will sap our joie de vivre, and ...

True patience

By Matthieu Ricard on April 11, 2009

True patience isn't a sign of weakness, but of courage. It certainly doesn't mean to let everything happen passively. Patience gives you the capacity to act correctly without being blinded by hatred and a thirst for revenge, which deprive you of any capacity for judgment. As the Dalai Lama often says, true tolerance isn't a question of saying...

The illusion of the self (end)

By Matthieu Ricard on April 05, 2009

For Buddhism, paradoxically, genuine self-confidence is a natural quality of egolessness. To dispel the illusion of the ego is to free oneself from a fundamental vulnerability. Genuine con?dence comes from an awareness of a basic quality of our mind and of our potential for transformation and ?ourishing, what Buddhism calls ‟buddha nature”, w...

The illusion of the self (continued)

By Matthieu Ricard on April 01, 2009

At every moment between birth and death, the body undergoes ceaseless transformations and the mind becomes the theater of countless emotional and conceptual experiences. And yet we assign qualities of permanence, uniqueness, and autonomy to the self. Furthermore, as we begin to feel that this self is highly vulnerable and must be protected an...

The illusion of the self

By Matthieu Ricard on March 30, 2009

According to Buddhism, our view of the self as a singular, distinct, autonomous and lasting entity is at odds with reality and, therefore becomes a source of frustration and suffering. An exacerbated feeling of self-importance, self-cherishing, and self-centeredness are the basis for impulses of attraction and aversion, which quickly develop ...

In praise of simplicity

By Matthieu Ricard on March 26, 2009

« Simplify, simplify, simplify� » These refreshing words written by Henry Thoreau remind us that much of our suffering comes from adding unnecessary and disturbing complications in our lives. We seem to be continually weaving elaborate conceptual webs around even straightforward events. We distort reality and shroud it with complications by s...