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...

Can I come and live at Shechen, and possibly become a monk or a nun?

By Matthieu Ricard on November 06, 2009

Many western friends live nearby the monastery. They study Buddhism with teachers who live around and participate to some of the activities of the monastery. There are major teachings given by great masters every year or two, which may last for several months and are open to the public. There are also regular ceremonies and sacred dance Festi...

A Delightful Conversation on Creativity

By Matthieu Ricard on October 23, 2009

During the recent Peace Summit in Vancouver, which was organized around His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I was fortunate to moderate a dialogue on creativity. Murray Gell-Mann, the Nobel price laureate of physics who discovered the quarks, described how mathematician or physicists may try in vain for a long time to formulate and solve a parti...