The (modified) Proust Questionnaire — 5

By Matthieu Ricard on January 16, 2011

From an interview recently published in the French press (end). For what cause would you be ready to die? If it could save a few lives. I hope that I will have the courage to do so, would such circumstances occur. How would you like to die? The mind filled with joy and fully lucid, blending my mind with that of my spiritual ma...

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. C...

Rights and Aspirations

By Matthieu Ricard on January 04, 2011

Thorbjorn Jagland, the Chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee said at the recent ceremony in Norway: ‟People like Liu Xiaobo are not dissidents, they represents the world's common values and standards.” Pointing to Liu Xiaobo's empty chair, Jagland said: ‟This fact alone suggests that the Price was necessary and appropriate.” He also reminded ...

The (modified) Proust Questionnaire — 3

By Matthieu Ricard on December 29, 2010

From an interview recently published in the French press (continued). What do you think is the most important ecological step we can take? We should not live off the death of sentient beings who ask only to remain alive. Although this is not the main reason for my being vegetarian since 40 years, we should not forget that to ‟produce”...

The (modified) Proust Questionnaire — 2

By Matthieu Ricard on December 20, 2010

From an interview recently published in the French press (continued). What is your first thought in the morning? ‟May I progress on the spiritual path and be of benefit to others.” What moral quality do you regard as essential? Benevolence. What is the most overestimated virtue (or value) today? A brilliant yet sup...

In Memoriam: E. Gene Smith (1936-2010)

By Matthieu Ricard on December 18, 2010

It is with immense sadness that we heard of the untimely death of our dear friend and mentor Gene Smith. Gene was one of those luminaries that come once or twice in a century, unbelievably learned, entirely dedicated, entirely selfless. At any time in history, he would have stood as the perfect example of an authentic, consummate scho...

The (modified) Proust Questionnaire — 1

By Matthieu Ricard on December 14, 2010

From an interview recently published in the French press. ‟What are the underlying principles of practicing meditation?” • Give rise to an altruistic motivation: transforming oneself in order to alleviate others' suffering. • Try to savor the freshness of the present moment, without dwelling on the past or imagining the future....

What does Buddhism mean by "Enlightenment"?

By Matthieu Ricard on December 07, 2010

Enlightenment is a state of perfect knowledge or wisdom, combined with infinite compassion. Knowledge in this case does not mean merely the accumulation of data or a description of the world of phenomena down to the finest details.  Enlightenment is an understanding of both the relative mode of existence (the way in which things appear to us)...

Knowledge and Moral Values

By Matthieu Ricard on December 01, 2010

The mere accumulation of knowledge is not enough. My teacher, Khyentse Rinpoche said: ‟If you amass intellectual learning just so that you will be influential and famous, your state of mind is no different from that of a beggar sponging off the rich. Such knowledge will bring no advantage either to yourself or to others. As the proverb goes: ...

An Arch of Light

By Matthieu Ricard on November 25, 2010

It is not easy to photograph through the window of a commercial airplane, since one must go through a double plastic glass, with a lot of reflections and frequent scratches. It is nevertheless possible as shown on this image taken recently above the Gulf of Thailand. (Canon Mark III Ds, 70mm, 50 ASA)