Jean Francois-Revel, a pillar of French intellectual life in our time, became world famous for his challenges to both Communism and Christianity. Twenty-seven years ago, his son, Matthieu Ricard, gave up a promising career as a scientist to study Tibetan Buddhism -- not as a detached observer but by immersing himself in its practice under the guidance of its greatest living masters. Meeting in an inn overlooking Katmandu, these two profoundly thoughtful men explored the questions that have occupied humankind throughout its history. Does life have meaning? What is consciousness? Is man free? What is the value of scientific and material progress? Why is there suffering, war, and hatred? Their conversation is not merely abstract: they ask each other questions about ethics, rights, and responsibilities, about knowledge and belief, and they discuss frankly the differences in the way each has tried to make sense of his life. Utterly absorbing, inspiring, and accessible, this remarkable dialogue engages East with West, ideas with life, and science with the humanities, providing wisdom on how to enrich the way we live our lives. From the Hardcover edition.
In Search of Wisdom is a book born of the friendship of three gifted teachers, exploring the universal human journey and our quest for meaning and understanding. This translation of the French bestseller brings readers an intimate, insightful, and wide-ranging conversation between Buddhist monk and author Matthieu Ricard, philosopher Alexandre Jollien, and psychiatrist Christophe André. Join these three luminaries as they share their views on how we uncover our deepest aspirations in life, the nature of the ego, living with the full range of human emotion, the art of listening, the temple of the body, the origin of suffering, the joy of altruism, true freedom, and much more. “We don't pretend to be experts on the subject matter or models in accomplishing the work or overcoming the obstacles involved in it,” they write. “We are only travelers in search of wisdom, aware that the path is long and arduous, and that we have so much still to discover, to clarify, and to assimilate through practice . . . Our dearest wish is that when you cast your eyes on these pages, you will discover subjects for reflection to inspire you and brighten the light of your life.” In Search of Wisdom Highlights • Discovering our deepest aspirations • The ego: friend or impostor? • Learning to live with the full spectrum of our emotions • The art of listening • The body: burden or idol? • Suffering and its origins • The joy of altruism • The school of simplicity • Guilt and forgiveness • True freedom • Daily practice
Every cow just wants to be happy. Every chicken just wants to be free. Every bear, dog, or mouse experiences sorrow and feels pain as intensely as any of us humans do. In a compelling appeal to reason and human kindness, Matthieu Ricard here takes the arguments from his best-sellers Altruism and Happiness to their logical conclusion: that compassion toward all beings, including our fellow animals, is a moral obligation and the direction toward which any enlightened society must aspire. He chronicles the appalling sufferings of the animals we eat, wear, and use for adornment or "entertainment," and submits every traditional justification for their exploitation to scientific evidence and moral scrutiny. What arises is an unambiguous and powerful ethical imperative for treating all of the animals with whom we share this planet with respect and compassion.
This step-by-step guide to achieving happiness is the most significant book of its kind since Daniel Goleman's runaway bestseller, Emotional Intelligence. 'A remarkable book. It is hard to imagine a more convincing guide to that elusive thing: happiness' Pankaj Mishra. Although we are materially better off than ever before, surveys show that we are depressed and listless. In his revolutionary book, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard shows that happiness is not just an emotion, but a skill that can be developed. Free of jargon, Happiness contains simple exercises that will train the mind to recognize and pursue happiness by concentrating on the fundamental things in life, and in doing so change the way we view the world. Matthieu Ricard exhorts us to realize the toxic, self-harming nature of anger and envy, get off the roller coaster of alternating happiness and unhappiness, and instead experience the pleasure of being calmly alive and aware. - Sunday Times
Matthieu Ricard trained as a molecular biologist, working in the lab of a Nobel prize—winning scientist, but when he read some Buddhist philosophy, he became drawn to Buddhism. Eventually he left his life in science to study with Tibetan teachers, and he is now a Buddhist monk and translator for the Dalai Lama, living in the Shechen monastery near Kathmandu in Nepal. Trinh Thuan was born into a Buddhist family in Vietnam but became intrigued by the explosion of discoveries in astronomy during the 1960s. He made his way to the prestigious California Institute of Technology to study with some of the biggest names in the field and is now an acclaimed astrophysicist and specialist on how the galaxies formed. When Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Thuan met at an academic conference in the summer of 1997, they began discussing the many remarkable connections between the teachings of Buddhism and the findings of recent science. That conversation grew into an astonishing correspondence exploring a series of fascinating questions. Did the universe have a beginning? Or is our universe one in a series of infinite universes with no end and no beginning? Is the concept of a beginning of time fundamentally flawed? Might our perception of time in fact be an illusion, a phenomenon created in our brains that has no ultimate reality? Is the stunning fine-tuning of the universe, which has produced just the right conditions for life to evolve, a sign that a “principle of creation” is at work in our world? If such a principle of creation undergirds the workings of the universe, what does that tell us about whether or not there is a divine Creator? How does the radical interpretation of reality offered by quantum physics conform to and yet differ from the Buddhist conception of reality? What is consciousness and how did it evolve? Can consciousness exist apart from a brain generating it? The stimulating journey of discovery the authors traveled in their discussions is re-created beautifully in The Quantum and the Lotus, written in the style of a lively dialogue between friends. Both the fundamental teachings of Buddhism and the discoveries of contemporary science are introduced with great clarity, and the reader will be profoundly impressed by the many correspondences between the two streams of thought and revelation. Through the course of their dialogue, the authors reach a remarkable meeting of minds, ultimately offering a vital new understanding of the many ways in which science and Buddhism confirm and complement each other and of the ways in which, as Matthieu Ricard writes, “knowledge of our spirits and knowledge of the world are mutually enlightening and empowering.”
Author: Bernard Faure
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2011-09-13
An ideal introduction to Buddhism for anyone who has unanswered questions about one of the world's largest and most popular religions. A fascinating, short book that challenges us to strip away existing preconceptions we may have about Buddhism Considers questions such as: Can we talk of Buddhism as a unified religion or are there many Buddhisms? Is Buddhism a religion of tolerance and pacifism as many people think? And is Buddhism a religion without god(s), or is it more of a philosophy than a religion? Traces the basic history, beliefs and nature of Buddhism in easy-to-understand language Written by renowned Buddhist scholar, Bernard Faure, it is an ideal introduction for anyone who has unanswered questions about one of the world's largest and most popular religions
Author: D. E. Wittkower
Publisher: Open Court
Release Date: 2011-04-15
Mr. Monk and Philosophy is a carefully and neatly organized collection of eighteen chapters divided into exactly six groups of precisely three chapters each. Drawing on a wide range of philosophers—from Aristotle and Diogenes, to Siddhartha Gautama and St. Thomas Aquinas, to David Hume and Karl Popper—the authors ask how Adrian Monk solves his cases, why he is the way he is, how he thinks, and what we can learn from him. Some of the authors suggest Monk is a kind of tragic hero, whose flaws help us live out and expunge the fear and anxiety we all experience; that he is more than just his personality or memories, but something more individual and indefinable; and that his most distinctive traits are not the traits that make him a detective, but those that make him a friend. His most notable trait is the dedication he shows to his late wife, Trudy. Other authors explore how Monk encounters the world, arguing that his genius comes not from logic or reasoning, but from his ability to see his surroundings in a pre-conceptualized way; that there isn’t as much distance between his rational beliefs about crimes and evidence and his irrational phobic beliefs as there might seem; and that his phobias have themselves made him approach himself and the world as something to be overcome. Just how does Mr. Monk come to his conclusions? Does he use inductive, deductive, or abductive reasoning? Is he dependent on a false notion of the law of noncontradiction? Is it possible that his reasoning might have more to do with constructing harmonious stories than it does with evidence, causes, or insights? Some contributors ponder Monk's name and what it means given his views on religion. Some authors argue that Mr. Monk's approach to the world is fundamentally similar to that of medieval monastic orders; that his rituals and deductive ‘dancing’ show how he exhibits a kind of shamanism; and that he acts in accordance with the Bodhisattva ideal, bringing others to enlightenment through circumstances and by accident, even though he has no such intention or goal. In one chapter, the author asks how the character Monk is related to other similar characters, arguing that Monk and House are closely related characters, each based on the conflict between reason and emotion which exemplifies the motif of the “troubled genius;” that Monk and House both pursue ethical practices and goals even as they fail at the everyday face-to-face ethics of normal social interactions; and that great detectives all, through their flaws, help us to understand and forgive ourselves for our flaws. And finally, there are several chapters in which the authors consider Monk from the psychologist’s perspective, discussing how Monk’s relationship with Trudy, while having unhealthy codependent elements, demonstrates some important aspects of successful romantic partnerships; how laughter plays a difficult role in mental illness, and the difficult position that the show and therapists are placed in when having to treat seriously disorders that are both tragic and comic; and how, from a psychoanalytic perspective, Monk’s inability to mourn shows us why we both reject and are drawn towards death. In the words of author D. E. Wittkower, "In order to be sure that the reader is able to enjoy the book, every chapter will have an even number of words. You’ll thank me later."
Interest in Buddhism continues to grow throughout North America, and more and more readers are moving beyond the familiar Zen and Tibetan traditions to examine other types of Buddhism. In Shin Buddhism, Taitetsu Unno explains the philosophy anc practices of "Pure Land" Buddhism, which dates back to the sixth century C.E., when Buddhism was first introduced in Japan. While Zen Buddhism flourished in remote monasteries, the Pure Land tradition was adopted by the common people. With a combination of spiritual insight and unparalled scholoarship, the author describes the literature, history, and principles of this form of Buddhism and illuminates the ways in which it embodies this religion's most basic tenet: "No human life should be wasted, abandoned, or forgotten but should be transformed into a source of vibrant life, deep wisdom, and compassionate living." As a practice that evolved to harmonize with the realities of everyday life, Shin Buddhism will be particularly attractive to contemporary Western readers.
Author: Alexa Huang
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2009-06-26
Genre: Literary Criticism
For close to two hundred years, the ideas of Shakespeare have inspired incredible work in the literature, fiction, theater, and cinema of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. From the novels of Lao She and Lin Shu to Lu Xun's search for a Chinese "Shakespeare," and from Feng Xiaogang's martial arts films to labor camp memoirs, Soviet-Chinese theater, Chinese opera in Europe, and silent film, Shakespeare has been put to work in unexpected places, yielding a rich trove of transnational imagery and paradoxical citations in popular and political culture. Chinese Shakespeares is the first book to concentrate on both Shakespearean performance and Shakespeare's appearance in Sinophone culture and their ambiguous relationship to the postcolonial question. Substantiated by case studies of major cultural events and texts from the first Opium War in 1839 to our times, Chinese Shakespeares theorizes competing visions of "China" and "Shakespeare" in the global cultural marketplace and challenges the logic of fidelity-based criticism and the myth of cultural exclusivity. In her critique of the locality and ideological investments of authenticity in nationalism, modernity, Marxism, and personal identities, Huang reveals the truly transformative power of Chinese Shakespeares.
Author: Pier Luigi Luisi
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2010-12-20
For over a decade, a small group of scientists and philosophers members of the Mind and Life Institute have met regularly to explore the intersection between science and the spirit. At one of these meetings, the themes discussed were both fundamental and profound: can physics, chemistry, and biology explain the mystery of life? How do our philosophical assumptions influence science and the ethics we bring to biotechnology? And how does an ancient spiritual tradition throw new light on these questions? Pier Luigi Luisi not only reproduces this dramatic, cross-cultural dialogue, in which world-class scientists, philosophers, and Buddhist scholars develop a holistic approach to the scientific exploration of reality, but also adds scientific background to their presentations, as well as supplementary discussions with prominent participants and attendees. Interviews with His Holiness the Karmapa, the Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, and the actor and longtime human rights advocate Richard Gere take the proceedings into new directions, enriching the material with personal viewpoints and lively conversation about such topics as the origin of matter, the properties of cells, the nature of evolution, the ethics of genetic manipulation, and the question of consciousness and ethics. A keen study of character, Luisi incorporates his own amusing observations into this fascinating dialogue, painting a very human portrait of some of our greatest and most intimidating thinkers. Deeply textured and cleverly crafted, Mind and Life is an excellent opportunity for any reader to join in the debate surrounding this cutting-edge field of inquiry.
Author: C. Strenger
Release Date: 2011-02-14
Genre: Political Science
This book shows how, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Gospel of the free market became the only world-religion of universal validity. The belief that all value needs to be quantifiable was extended to human beings, whose value became dependent on their rating on the various ranking-scales in the global infotainment system.
"Author, philosopher, and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard has spent decades collecting these colorful stories and profound teachings of Patrul Rinpoche, one of the most impactful teachers and thinkers in the Tibetan tradition from the nineteenth century. Few Buddhist meditation masters continue to have the influence that Dza Patrul Rinpoche, active in the nineteenth century, has to many Buddhist practitioners today. A wandering yogi, he eschewed urban areas for a life living in the wilds, caves, and mountains of Tibet. While famous for his teaching with thousands of students, he would wander from place to place by himself, carrying only a few possessions--the most prized of which were two important practice texts. Utterly without pride, he was a master scholar as well as meditation master. Matthieu Ricard spent decades collecting stories from the disappearing generation of Tibetan teachers brought up in the traditional way and who still carried with them the vast oral tradition, which included so many stories about Patrul Rinpoche. These stories are at once inspiring and a welcome reminder to resist our daily distractions and spend time doing what matters. That is, practicing meditation and helping others"--
The Buddhist master Fazang is regarded as one of the greatest metaphysicians in medieval Asia. This study aims at correcting misinterpretations and shedding light on neglected areas, opening up for discussion the various structures of medieval East Asian monastic biography.