Bhutan, Meditation, Bread, Learning, Friends, Family, Music, Books, MT

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Meeting Matthieu

I first met Matthieu Ricard's photos in a book called Journey to Enlightenment. A book about one of Ricard's Buddhist teachers, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Ricard, born in France, started his career as a biologist, then made a paradigm shift to become a Buddhist monk. His father Jean-Fran├žois Revel was a prominent philosopher. They wrote a book together called The Monk and the Philosopher. It is about a monk and a philosopher. I read that some time ago.
His book, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill, did not have very good photos. There were no photos, apart from a picture of his face on the back flap. The words were great though. The book contains valuable information on how to be happy, and some startling results from scientific research into meditation. Some people believe that we need to experience some sadness and suffering to make us appreciate the good times. Not me.
Early in 2008, Ugyen and I were waiting in the departure lounge at Paro airport, on our way to Bangkok. Ugyen told me not to put this photo as she looks "sagay". That means like the village idiot. Ugyen's affectionate name for me is "sagay". If you pronounce it differently it has a different meaning. At least, that is what Ugyen told me.
As we lined up at the baggage counter, I noticed the wine-coloured maroon of monk's robes in front of us. Not so uncommon here. This was a large white monk though. He looked a little like the man on the inside flap of that Happiness book. Before making a fool of myself, I checked the name on his travel papers. It was the man on the flap. With the rest of the body.
I introduced myself. He did not know of me. Yes, he was happy and looked about 40 years old. Some people would say that if you spend your life in a monastery just having to sit around saying prayers and meditating, then you would be happy. Not me.
He has a new book out titled The Art of Meditation. My birthday is coming up.
The following link has an article by an initially skeptical writer discussing happiness with Ricard and Lord Layard, an economist. The happiest men in the world - Times Online.
You can find some of Ricard's photos here.

No comments:

Post a Comment