Archive for 2014

The Virtues of Humility - 2

By Matthieu Ricard on April 27, 2014

A humble person has nothing to lose or to gain. If he is praised, he thinks it's for what he has been able to accomplish, not for himself as an individual. If he is criticized, he thinks that bringing his faults out into the open is the best service anyone could do him. ‟Few are sufficiently wise to prefer censure, which is useful, to praise...

The Virtues of Humility -1

By Matthieu Ricard on April 19, 2014

Humility is sometimes scorned, regarded as a weakness. The writer Ayn Rand proclaims, ‟Discard the protective rags of that vice which you called a virtue: humility.”* Pride, however, the narcissistic exaggeration of the self, closes the door to all personal progress, since in order to learn, you must first think that you don't know. Humility ...

The Solitude of Hyperconnectivity

By Matthieu Ricard on April 13, 2014

According to the American sociologist Sherry Turkle, so-called ‟social” media in fact constitute for the individual a way to be alone while still being connected to many people.* A sixteen-year-old boy, an inveterate texter, remarked with some regret: ‟Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I'd like to learn how to have a conversation.” Youn...

Black and White by Matthieu Ricard

By Matthieu Ricard on April 02, 2014

Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche during the Tsechu Celebrations at Shechen Monastery, Nepal, March 25, 2010 Young Buddhist monks at Shechen Monastery, Nepal

Altruism Does Not Require ‟Sacrifice”

By Matthieu Ricard on March 26, 2014

The fact of experiencing joy in working for the good of others, or of coming away with unexpected benefits for oneself, does not, in itself, make an action selfish. Authentic altruism does not require that you suffer from helping others and does not lose its authenticity if it is accompanied by a feeling of profound satisfaction. What's more,...

Is a beneficial action selfish if one also benefits by it?

By Matthieu Ricard on March 17, 2014

A disinterested action is no less so when one is satisfied with carrying it out. One can draw satisfaction from an altruistic gesture without this satisfaction having motivated our action. Moreover, the individual who carries out an altruistic action for purely selfish reasons risks being disappointed when he does not obtain the expected effe...

Everyone Loses or Everyone Gains

By Matthieu Ricard on March 10, 2014

Seeking selfish happiness seems doomed to failure for several reasons. First of all, from the point of view of personal experience, selfishness, born from an exaggerated sense of self-importance, turns out to be a constant source of torment. Egocentrism and excessive self-cherishing multiply our hopes and fears and makes us brood on what migh...

Selfishness is not a wise way to find happiness

By Matthieu Ricard on March 03, 2014

Selfishness cannot be regarded as an effective way to love oneself, since it is the prime cause of our frustrations and unhappiness. It constitutes a particularly clumsy attempt to secure one's own happiness. The psychologist Erich Fromm, in line with Buddhist thinking, sheds light on selfish behavior in this way: ‟The love of my own self i...

Expressions of gratitude in animals

By Matthieu Ricard on February 17, 2014

Primates often show gratitude in various ways toward those who have taken care of them. A recent video shows how a chimpanzee, who had been brought back to health from the verge of death, hugs the legendary ethologist Jane Goodall for a long time before heading to the jungle where she was being released.* One of the pioneers in primatology, W...