Praise and Criticism

By Matthieu Ricard on November 19, 2010

Craving praise and fearing criticism, these only trouble our mind needlessly. Such concerns, each in their own way, promote and reinforce our vulnerability to others' opinions and remarks. We yearn for praise because it flatters our ego, and we dread criticism, which threatens it. However, craving and an inflated sense of self-importance ...

Each to his own reality

By Matthieu Ricard on November 13, 2010

Our perception of an object as desirable or undesirable doesn't reside in the object itself, but in the way we perceive it. There's no inherent quality in a beautiful object that does the mind any good, nor anything in an ugly object that might harm it. If human beings were to disappear, the phenomenal world wouldn't necessarily disappear alo...

Fulfilling our deepest aspirations

By Matthieu Ricard on November 08, 2010

What might best fulfill human needs? Science? Spirituality? Money? Power? Pleasure? No-one can answer such questions without also asking themselves what mankind aspires to most deeply, and what the very purpose of life might be. Buddhism's answer to that question is to point out that finally what we all seek in life is happiness. But it is im...

Peace through war?

By Matthieu Ricard on October 29, 2010

A few days ago, the International Herald Tribune ran a revealing front page article : ‟Hitting Taliban hard to encourage peace talks.”* The article reports that from June to September this year, U.S pilots dropped 2,100 bombs during airstrikes against Taliban insurgents, a 50 percent increase over the same period last year. This effort, orc...

Three Key Indicators: Gross Domestic Product, Life Satisfaction (‟Gross National Happiness”), and Environmental Quality

By Matthieu Ricard on October 24, 2010

Initially intended as a means to manage the 1929 economic crisis, The GDP can be used to measure only one aspect of the quality of life. The combined scientific, technological, and industrial revolution, which has grown since the 19th century, has led to an improvement of living conditions (a considerable increase in life expectancy, improved...

Liberating the monkey mind

By Matthieu Ricard on October 24, 2010

To accomplish this task, we must begin by calming our turbulent mind. Our mind behaves like a captive monkey who, in his agitation, becomes more and more entangled in his bonds. Out of the vortex of our thoughts, first emotions arise, and then moods and behaviors, and finally habits and traits of character. What arises spontaneously does...

Education: Promote Cooperation, not Competition

By Matthieu Ricard on October 19, 2010

Is it not education's first mission to give children the opportunity to actualize what is best in them? Several studies have shown that young children who are encouraged to cooperate with others in school achieve better academic results and engage more often in ‟pro-social” behavior, in other words, conduct that brings about positive resu...

A MASTERY THAT SETS US FREE

By Matthieu Ricard on October 09, 2010

The way we deal with thoughts in meditation is not to block them or feed them indefinitely, but to let them arise and dissolve by themselves in the field of mindfulness. In this way, they do not take over our minds. Beyond that, meditation consists in cultivating a way of being that is not subject to the patterns of habitual thinking. It ofte...

Training the Mind

By Matthieu Ricard on October 05, 2010

The object of meditation is the mind. For the moment, it is simultaneously confused, agitated, rebellious, and subject to innumerable conditioned and automatic patterns. The goal of meditation is not to shut down the mind or anesthetize it, but rather to make it free, lucid, and balanced. According to Buddhism, the mind is not an entity b...

Meditation on Altruistic Love

By Matthieu Ricard on September 06, 2010

We have all, to varying degrees, had the experience of profound altruistic love, of a feeling of all-encompassing benevolence, of intense compassion for those who are suffering. Some people are naturally more altruistic than others, at times to the point of heroism. Others are more focused on themselves and find it hard to consider the welfar...