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Matthieu Ricard was born in France in 1946. His father, Jean-François Revel was an honored philosopher, writer, journalist and a member of the noted Académie Française, which is a gathering of some of the most notorious French intellectuals. His mother, Yahne Le Toumelin is a painter and watercolorist. 

He grew up among the personalities and ideas of Paris’ intellectual and artistic circles. He studied classical music, ornithology and photography. He counted Luis Buñuel, Igor Stravinsky and Henri Cartier-Bresson among his friends.

He did a Ph.D. in cellular genetics at the Institut Pasteur under Nobel Laureate François Jacob. After completing his Ph.D. thesis in 1972, Mr. Ricard decided to forsake his scientific career and concentrate on Tibetan Buddhist studies. He spent 40 years meditating in the Himalayas and has done 40,000 hours of meditation.

Matthieu Ricard has lived in the Himalayas since 1972 and has been a Buddhist monk for 37 years at the Shechen Monastery in Nepal. He has met the greatest living teachers and became the close student and attendant of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one of the most eminent Tibetan masters and luminaries of our time, until the death of Rinpoche in 1991.
Since 1989 he has accompanied HH Dalai Lama to France, acting as his personal interpreter.
He has been awarded the French National Order of Merit by President François Mitterrand for his involvement and his efforts to preserve the Himalayan cultures. 

Matthieu Ricard is a bestselling author.
He has translated and edited numerous books on Tibetan Buddhism and is highly praised for his vast knowledge of Tibetan religion and culture.
He is the author of The Mystery of Animal Migration,Hill & Wang, NY, 1969, The Monk and the Philosopher, Knopf Publishing Group, 2000, a best-seller book of dialogues with his father Jean-François Revel, which has been translated into twenty-three languages and on the bestseller booklist in France for nine months.

The Quantum and the Lotus, Crown Publishing Group, 2004, presents an in-depth conversation with the astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan. According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, it “is the rich and inspiring result of a deeply interesting dialogue between Western science and Buddhist philosophy. This remarkable book will contribute greatly to a better understanding of the true nature of our world and the way we live our lives.”
He has also published The Spirit of Tibet, 2001, (also in video), a photo book on the life of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Monk Dancers of Tibet, Shambhala Publications, 2003, in collaboration, the photobook, Buddhist Himalayas, Harry N Abrams Inc, 2002 and numerous translations of Tibetan texts, including The Life of Shabkar, The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin, Snow Lion Publications, 2001 and The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones, The Practice of View, Meditation, and Action, Boston, Shambhala Publications, 1993.
With Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill, Matthieu Ricard continues to bridge the dialogue between East and West.

Motionless Journey features photographs taken from the hermitage's terrace and surroundings.

His latest books

Matthieu Ricard’s pictures of remarkable spiritual masters, the people of the Himalayas and the landscapes, have appeared internationally in numerous magazines and books. Henri Cartier-Bresson has said of his work that « Matthieu’s spiritual life and his camera are one, from which springs these images, fleeting and eternal ». His work has been exhibited in New York, Paris, Perpignan, Winthertur, Stockholm, and Hong Kong.

Matthieu Ricard has dedicated his efforts to supervise various humanitarian projects. For instance, 110 projects are already completed in Tibet, Nepal and India, 12 schools built in Tibet and 3 in Nepal, where 5000 children study, 14 clinics and small dispensaries built in Nepal, India and Tibet,100,000 medical services given every year, 8 bridges built in Tibet, including 3 large suspension bridges, 3 homes for the ederly. Matthieu Ricard talks about Karuna-Shechen humanitarian projects.

All proceeds from his books go to funding all Shechen’s humanitarian projects in Tibet, India, Nepal and Bhutan. Each year 100 000 patients, of which 15 000 children, are being taken care of.

Since 2000, Matthieu Ricard has been an active member of the Mind and Life Institute and participates in current scientific research on Training the Mind and Brain Plasticity headed by the cognitive scientist Professor Richard J. Davidson, one of the world's leading investigators in the field of neuroplasticity.

At the University of Wisconsin, researchers attached 256 sensors to his skull and placed him into a functional magnetic resonance imager (fMRI). Ricard's MRI showed the highest level of activity ever recorded in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, the area associated with positive emotion. With the scoring ranging from +0.3 to -0.3 (beatific) Matthieu Ricard's scores were actually off the scale at more than -0.45. It was a world first!!!


The paper describing the remarkable results, published in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in 2004, would become a year later the fifth most-downloaded scientific publication in history. So far, this research has been downloaded more than 150 000 times.  http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/101/46/16369

Matthieu Ricard is engaged in the research on the effect of mind training and meditation on the brain at various universities: Wisconsin-Madison, Princeton,  Harvard, Berkeley in USA, at Maastricht in the Netherlands, at Zurich in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Leipzig in Germany.

In 2006, 2009 and 2010 Matthieu Ricard took part to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He is co-director of the Buddhist Shechen monastery in Nepal.

He dedicates his activities to fulfilling Khyentse Rinpoche’s vision.

About Matthieu Ricard


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French Buddhist Monk Matthieu Ricard

The Happiest Man Alive?

Talking with Matthieu Ricard about Happiness and Meditation

abc NEWS

The Happiest Man Alive Talks Meditation And Mood (VIDEO)

Dalai Lama's Vision for a Healthy, Happy Mind (VIDEO)

Matthieu Ricard Speaks on Compassion

SoundSeen: Unedited Interview with Matthieu Ricard

De toewijding van Matthieu Ricard - 01:06:26 - English


The Happiest Man in the World

Meditation and happiness

Transcript of Radio Program

Matthieu Ricard: Happiness Is a Skill


Mantra of the Buddha of Compassion

Om mani padmé houng HRI

Mantra of the Buddha Shâkyamuni

Om mouni mouni mahâmounayé sôhâ