A thousand smiles

By Matthieu Ricard on November 22, 2011

The smile of the Buddha celebrates the peaceful victory over ignorance, hatred, craving, arrogance and jealousy. But there is also the smile of a loved one, the smile of one who loves, a mother's smile and the smile of a child - ‟To know your mother, O child, learn to read in the book of her smile,” wrote Virgil - the smile of one who contemplates an well-completed work, a smile free of all regret, the smile of a generous goodness free of ostentation, the smile of one who has fully given the measure of himself, the smile of one who chooses to lose in a conflict rather than lose respect for himself, the smile of inner peace ...

A smile can dissolve the barriers that separate us from each other. It expresses the awareness of our common humanity. Setting mistrust aside, a smile indicates our acceptance of the vulnerability associated with trusting in others. It then transforms this vulnerability into strength as trust help us work together rather than struggling alone.

I heard a blind person say, ‟When I smile with my lips, I feel the muscles in my face contracting, but I don't really have the inner experience of smiling. Without seeing the smile that lights up on the other's face in response to mine, smiling feels for me as sending a dead letter. Because what matters most in a smile, is the smiles that echoes yours. Yet, I can smile with my voice and hear the other person's smile.” from the recent photobook 108 Sourires