B. R. Ambedkar once said that “a great man is different from an eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society”. Matthieu Ricard definitely fits the definition. Born in 1947, the French doctor, photographer and Buddhist monk, has dedicated his life to others through a very unorthodox path.
After getting his Ph.D. degree in molecular genetics under French Nobel Laureate François Jacob, Ricard decided to settle in the Himalayas so he could concentrate on the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, where he has lived since 1972.
He has translated into French numerous Tibetan masterpieces, and became in 1989 the French translator of the Dalaï-lama. Additionally, he has published dozens of photographic books, showing life in Tibetan monasteries and some marvelous Himalayan landscapes and day-to-day events.
Ricard spreads his lessons and thoughts through numerous vehicles, among which this fantastic Ted talk. Amidst other advices, he gives five very simple lessons of wisdom. First, to cultivate altruistic love. Second, to distinguish and overcome emotions. Third, to develop good will and wisdom (for instance, he refuses to fell hatred even before the worst of massacres). Fourth, to search the cure for pain. And lastly, to develop the skill of cooperation.
The completeness of his property rights are donated to the Karuna-Shéchèn organization, an entity founded by Ricard and which handles over a dozen humanitarian projects in Tiber, Nepal and India, in the areas of health, education and environment.
Since 2000, he integrated the Mind and Life Institute, an organization favoring the dialogue and the sharing between Buddhism and science.
Today, he lives in Nepal at the Schéchèn Monastery, devoting much of his time to the preservation of the Tibetan culture.