Can we deprive animals of the right to live?

By Matthieu Ricard on December 11, 2009

Leonardo da Vinci wrote in his notebooks: ‟The time will come when people like me will think of the murder of an animal just as they think today of the murder of a man.” And George Bernard Shaw said, ‟Animals are my friends, and I don't eat my friends.” It's not a matter of denying that there are differences in intelligence between animals an...

Environment and Altruism

By Matthieu Ricard on December 07, 2009

Recently during the course of only one day I heard these facts about the environment: 1) The Greenland glaciers are melting much faster than previously thought. This is because of the cumulated effects of the melting ice and the acceleration of the movement of the glaciers toward the sea. We know that the complete melting of the Greenland ...

What photo equipment do you use?

By Matthieu Ricard on December 05, 2009

For many years I used Nikon FM2 cameras, with fixed focus lenses, adjusting the settings manually. However, four years ago I started making use of the wonderful possibilities of high range digital cameras such as the Canon Ds Mark III, and the excellent zoom lenses of this same brand. Because the digital system is so versatile, it is possible...

The Melting of Glaciers in the Himalayas

By Matthieu Ricard on December 03, 2009

During the last few years, there has been dramatic changes in the Himalayan glaciers. These two photographs of the Langtang Range were taken from the same place, the first one at the end of September 2006, and the second one in October 2009. These changes are related to reduced yearly snowfalls, combined with the accelerated melting of the gl...

Sects and spirituality

By Matthieu Ricard on December 02, 2009

An authentic spiritual path implies making great demands of oneself, but being very tolerant towards others. In most sects, however, people are very demanding of others, but flagrantly contravene the ideals they profess themselves. It only needs one person with a little bit of charisma who decides to exploit his or her influence, for people t...

Do you have to be a Buddhist to meditate?

By Matthieu Ricard on November 30, 2009

Meditation essentially means to train the mind. The purpose of meditation is to develop qualities such as loving-kindness and attention, as well as a correct understanding of reality. For 2500 years, Buddhists have used meditation to eliminate ignorance and mental toxins, that is to say destructive emotions, which are the principal causes of ...

Are you the happiest person in the world?

By Matthieu Ricard on November 20, 2009

This is really a joke. Of course, it is better than being called the unhappiest person in the world, but this assertion is absolutely not based on scientific findings. Some years ago, the Australian television network ABC made a documentary on happiness, in which I participated. At some point, the commentator announced: ‟Here is perhaps th...

Where can I learn to meditate ?

By Matthieu Ricard on November 17, 2009

There are many centers, Buddhist and non-Buddhist, throughout the world where meditation is taught. It is not up to me to recommend one organization rather than another. Nevertheless, I can testify to the authenticity of a teaching center in France with which I have a long-standing personal connection. Centre d'études de Chanteloube is a cent...

A Meeting with Youth

By Matthieu Ricard on November 15, 2009

Sometime ago, I met with a group of young people in Canada. Some of them told me that they had graduated from college and did not know what to do next. One of them said, ‟I filled out a lot of questionnaires that were supposed to help me find out what would be the best profession for me to pursue. After that, for six months I tried a variety ...

Non-violence is not weakness

By Matthieu Ricard on November 08, 2009

When we are the object of abuse or injustice, it is absolutely legitimate to use whatever means might be appropriate, including any necessary force; but never with hatred. Deep within ourselves, it's important to maintain invincible compassion and inexhaustible inner strength. It's not a matter of either passively submitting to the merc...