A passionate plea

By Matthieu Ricard on October 12, 2009

Recently the Dalai Lama Center Canada organized a Peace Summit in Vancouver with the Dalai Lama and other Nobel Prize winners and speakers. One evening the rock singer and humanitarian Bob Geldof, whose Live Aid concerts have raised 100s of millions of dollars for Africa, made this passionate plea: ‟For most of us, all we can do when witne...

A conversation in the mountains

By Matthieu Ricard on October 07, 2009

Last week I went on a hike in the mountains with an eighty-one year old friend who is a brisk walker. After an hour, we reached a 10,000' high pass with a view of a breathtaking landscape that stretched for a hundred miles in front of our enchanted eyes. As we sat on a log and gazed at this magnificent scene, he asked me: --"What does Bu...

Dealing with stress and anxiety

By Matthieu Ricard on September 26, 2009

Stress is a natural response that marshals all our energies to deal with an emergency — such as fleeing from a charging elephant for example. However, if you spend your entire day thinking that you are being charged by an elephant, it is very bad for your health. Chronic stress weakens the immune system, damages brain neurons, generates unusu...

A few numbers to ponder

By Matthieu Ricard on September 19, 2009

The annual budget of the UNICEF (3 billions US dollars) is only half the budget of Paris public transportation system (RATP) 5 billions dollars would suffice to provide education to all the children in the world who do not go to school yet. 95% of all weapons are manufactured and sold by the five permanent members of the UN Security C...

Notes about Creativity

By Matthieu Ricard on September 10, 2009

The Process of Creativity In order for creativity to develop, the mind needs to be free from the automatic and habitual thinking that runs around in circles. It should remain in a state of openness, lucidity, flexibility, clarity, and wisdom. This will allow it to stop superimposing its own projections on to reality. A new unders...

Adaptation: resignation or freedom?

By Matthieu Ricard on August 29, 2009

During a recent dialogue with North American academics, I mentioned that training the mind through meditation helps people experience difficult situations in a different way and develop inner resources to deal with the ups and downs of life. Some of them argued that promoting such an adaptation was a very dangerous thing to do; that it wou...

Meeting on the Plane

By Matthieu Ricard on August 24, 2009

When our meal was served on a recent international flight my neighbor, a young man, asked me with a touch of surprise: -- Are you vegetarian? -- Yes, I am. -- Do you feel that meat is dirty? -- Not at all, but I do not want to cause harm through eating. -- But all animals eat each other. This is natural. -- It might well be, but I...

Happiness beyond selfishness

By Matthieu Ricard on August 11, 2009

To imagine happiness as the achievement of all our desires and passions, is to confuse the legitimate aspiration to inner fulfilment with an utopia that inevitably leads to frustration. Among all the clumsy, blind, and extreme ways we go about building happiness, the most sterile is selfishness. Even if we display every outward sign of ...

What does reality mean?

By Matthieu Ricard on August 02, 2009

In Buddhism the word reality connotes the true nature of things, unmodified by mental constructs superimposed upon them. Fabricated concepts open up a gap between our perception and reality, and create a never-ending conflict with the world. ‟We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us,” wrote Rabindranath Tagore. We take for perman...

Not identifying with our suffering

By Matthieu Ricard on July 24, 2009

We usually identify completely with our suffering and become one with it. Yet, even when they torment us the most, we are not our suffering in the same way that we are not the sickness when afflicted by some ailment. To achieve fulfillment in this life, it is most important to understand that suffering is an illness that affects us all t...