The Bigger the Ego, the More Vulnerable We Are

By Matthieu Ricard on February 12, 2019

Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche (1897-1975), one of the great Tibetan teachers of the twentieth century. Leaving aside a promising career in molecular biology, Matthieu Ricard chose instead to become a Buddhist monk and has never regretted it. French interpreter to the Dalai Lama, today he travels the world in an effort to bridge the gap between...

The Enlightened Vagabond, The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche - Part 6: That's it!

By Matthieu Ricard on January 29, 2019

One day, as Patrul Rinpoche and a student close to his heart, Nyoshul Lungtok, were staying in retreat in the forest of Ari Dza, Patrul asked Lungtok, “Do you miss your mother?” “Not really,” Lungtok replied. “A-dzi!” said Patrul. “That’s what happens when you fail to cultivate compassion!” He continued, “Now go into that willow grove ov...

The Enlightened Vagabond, The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche - Part 5 : Patrul is Taught His Own Teachings

By Matthieu Ricard on January 09, 2019

Patrul had decided to go to Kathok and gather merit by circumambulating the stupas at the Kathok Kumbum (the Hundred Thousand Images of Kathok). A few people noticed this shabby nomad lama stopping at each stupa, sticking his head inside, and saying a few words. Beyond that, there was nothing out of the ordinary about him. When he first ar...

The Enlightened Vagabond, The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche - Part 4: Patrul on Having Things and Patrul and the Widow.

By Matthieu Ricard on January 01, 2019

This huge building is entirely made of flat stones engraved with mantras and prayers. Province of Myniak, Eastern Tibet. Photograph by Matthieu Ricard. Excerpts from The Enlightened Vagabond, the biography of the 19th century hermit and spiritual master Patrul Rinpoche. Patrul on Having Things Patrul often pointed out the uselessnes...

Ultimate Truth According to Buddhism

By Matthieu Ricard on December 18, 2018

During a teaching that I attended in Nepal given by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche he reminded us that all of the Buddha’s teachings were given so that we may realize, in stages, the ultimate truth. If we limit ourselves to only conventional or relative truth, our understanding will remain narrow. It is said that meditative experiences are fle...

The Enlightened Vagabond, The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche - Part 3 : A Robber Sets His Sights on an Offering of Silver

By Matthieu Ricard on December 04, 2018

A landscape near Dzogchen Monastery, in eastern Tibet Near the monastery of Dzamthang, Patrul was sitting on a grassy mound, having just finished teaching The Way of the Bodhisattva to a large crowd of people. An old man who had attended the teachings came up to him and offered him a large piece of silver called “horse-hoof silver” becaus...

The Enlightened Vagabond, The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche - Part 1

By Matthieu Ricard on November 05, 2018

A monk sits above the site where Patrul Rinpoche was cremated in Khormo Olu, Dzachuka, Eastern Tibet. Down in the valley below is also the place where Patrul Rinpoche was born. Photography by Matthieu Ricard. Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887) was one of the most revered spiritual masters in the history of Tibet, widely recognized as a scholar...

In Praise of Simplicity

By Matthieu Ricard on October 23, 2018

"Simplify, simplify, simplify". These refreshing words written by Henry Thoreau remind us that much of our suffering comes from adding unnecessary and disturbing complications in our lives. We seem to be continually weaving elaborate conceptual webs around even straightforward events. We distort reality and shroud it with complications by su...

The Illusion of the Self

By Matthieu Ricard on October 09, 2018

According to Buddhism, our view of the self as a singular, distinct, autonomous and lasting entity is at odds with reality and, therefore becomes a source of frustration and suffering. An exacerbated feeling of self-importance, self-cherishing, and self-centeredness are the basis for impulses of attraction and aversion, which quickly develop...