The (modified) Proust Questionnaire — 4

By Matthieu Ricard on January 10, 2011

From an interview recently published in the French press (continued).

According to you, the height of luxury is…?

It is spending a few months in retreat, facing the Himalayas.

Which object is indispensable according to you?

There are only useful objects. The only thing that is indispensable is to put an end to suffering.

Could you name a neurosis?

This word is not in my vocabulary, neither with regards to myself, nor with regards to others. There are only varied types of suffering and as many remedies.

What is the sentence that unsettles you?

I value provocations that are meant to be unsettling, because if they are justified, they must be taken genuinely into consideration, but, if they are groundless, there is always a way of finding a good argument to counteract them.

What do you hate most?

Hatred itself. But it is more a question of seeking to understand it and remedy it rather than to hate it.

What irritates you the most when you come back to the West?

Irritation reflects a form of arrogance, which I strive my best to avoid.

What is your favorite saying?

‟Be good, do good.”

(to be continued)