True potential

By Matthieu Ricard on June 28, 2010

Every being has the potential for perfection, just as every sesame seed is permeated with oil. Ignorance, in this context, means being unaware of that potential, like the beggar who is unaware of the treasure buried beneath his shack. Actualizing our true nature, coming into possession of that hidden wealth, allows us to live a life full...

True novelty

By Matthieu Ricard on June 21, 2010

If you're always looking for novelty, you're often depriving yourself of the most essential truths. The antidote to suffering and to the belief in a self consists of going to the very source of your thoughts and recognizing the ultimate nature of the mind. How could such a truth ever grow old? What novelty could ‟outmode” a teaching that lays...

Wonder and Sorrow

By Matthieu Ricard on June 08, 2010

For years ornithologists were intrigued by the fact that bar-tailed godwits (a species of waders, in the family of birds who live principally near water, but who cannot land on or dive in water to fish) became so fat before their winter migration. ‟They looked like flying softballs,” noted the researcher Robert Gill. Indeed, they had to travel ...

Magic moments

By Matthieu Ricard on May 11, 2010

For the last ten years, I have been fortunate to spend a few months a year in a small hermitage in the Himalayas, in Nepal where I live. In the summer, during the rainy season, as well as during the cold winter mornings, mist occasionally forms in the valley below. There is also a monastery, lying atop another hill about 2 miles awa...

Our Attitude toward Death (Part 3) — To be continued

By Matthieu Ricard on May 06, 2010

(Radio Canada interview)  Because they have the notion of a ‟stream of consciousness,” Buddhists see death as a transition, whereas, in the West, death is experienced in a very different way: if at times there are funerals with inspirational moments drawn from the deceased's life, which is then celebrated, we must admit that in general such ...

Our Attitude toward Death (Part 2) — To be continued.

By Matthieu Ricard on May 02, 2010

(Radio Canada interview)  To think about death is a healthy process, which is neither sad nor morbid. It shows lucidity because, otherwise, to mask reality is inevitably a source of frustration: when our death will approach and that of those dear to us will occur, we will be shocked and completely at a loss. But if we understand that death is...

Our Attitude toward Death (Part 1) — To be continued

By Matthieu Ricard on April 28, 2010

(Radio Canada interview)  Question: The Western world seems to be suffering from a sense of great reluctance regarding both the contemplation of death and its attitude toward it; death has become a taboo subject, one that is increasingly the object of an absurd denial. As a Buddhist, does this situation not trouble you? Matthieu: Indeed. P...

Mid-term help for Yushu earthquake victims

By Matthieu Ricard on April 22, 2010

During the recent earthquake which affected the city of Yushu (Kyerku in Tibetan) and the surrounding areas, the monks from our Shechen monastery, located under 150 km away, were among the first of many groups of Buddhist monks who joined the other rescue teams. In particular, the Shechen monks were able to pull off alive a young girl from th...

A Science of Awakening

By Matthieu Ricard on April 12, 2010

How should I lead my life? How should I live in society? What is knowable? These three questions have been puzzled over through the ages.  Ideally, our lives should lead us to a feeling of plenitude, so that we have no regrets at the moment when we die. Life in society should inspire us with a sense of universal responsibility. Knowledge shou...

The fear of change

By Matthieu Ricard on April 05, 2010

We are like birds that have lived too long in a cage to which we return even when we get the chance to ?y away. We have grown so accustomed to our mental habits that we can barely imagine what life would be like without them: the vast sky of change makes us dizzy.