Matthieu Ricard Quotes (108) Spiritual Sayings


About the Author: Matthieu Ricard (Nepali: born 15 February 1946) is a French writer and Buddhist monk who resides at Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Nepal. Matthieu Ricard grew up among the personalities and ideas of French intellectual circles. He received a Ph.D. degree in molecular genetics from the Pasteur Institute in 1972. He then decided to forsake his scientific career and instead practice Tibetan Buddhism, living mainly in the Himalayas. Ricard is a board member of the Mind and Life Institute and received the French National Order of Merit for his humanitarian work in the East. See website for more info - http://www.matthieuricard.org/





“We try to fix the outside so much, but our control of the outer world is limited, temporary, and often, illusory.”
― Matthieu Ricard


“Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree. It completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are.”
― Matthieu Ricard


“There is a possibility for change because all emotions are fleeting.”
― Matthieu Ricard


“Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.”
― Matthieu Ricard, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill


For a few moments, be aware of your potential for change. Whatever your present situation is, evolution and transformation are always possible. At the least, you can change your way of seeing things and then, gradually, your way of being as well.
― Matthieu Ricard


Happiness is the result of inner maturity. It depends on us alone, and requires patient work, carried out from day to day. Happiness must be built, and this requires time and effort. In the long term, happiness and unhappiness are therefore a way of being, or a life skill.
― Matthieu Ricard


Worries are pointless. If there's a solution, there's no need to worry. If no solution exists, there's no point to worry.
― Matthieu Ricard


To love oneself is to love life. It is essential to understand that we make ourselves happy in making others happy.
― Matthieu Ricard


Nothing goes right on the outside when nothing is going right on the inside.
― Matthieu Ricard


By breaking down our sense of self-importance, all we lose is a parasite that has long infected our minds. What we gain in return is freedom, openness of mind, spontaneity, simplicity, altruism: all qualities inherent in happiness.
― Matthieu Ricard


Happiness is not the endless pursuit of pleasant experiences - that sounds more like a recipe for exhaustion - but a way of being that results from cultivating a benevolent mind, emotional balance, inner freedom, inner peace and wisdom. Each of these qualities is a skill that can be enhanced through training the mind.
― Matthieu Ricard


When the mind is full of memories and preoccupied by the future, it misses the freshness of the present moment. In this way, we fail to recognize the luminous simplicity of mind that is always present behind the veils of thought.
― Matthieu Ricard


Happiness is a skill, emotional balance is a skill, compassion and altruism are skills, and like any skill they need to be developed. That's what education is about.
― Matthieu Ricard


The basic root of happiness lies in our minds; outer circumstances are nothing more than adverse or favourable.
― Matthieu Ricard


By happiness I mean here a deep sense of flourishing that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind. This is not a mere pleasurable feeling, a fleeting emotion, or a mood, but an optimal state of being. Happiness is also a way of interpreting the world, since while it may be difficult to change the world, it is always possible to change the way we look at it.
― Matthieu Ricard


At each point in our lives, we are at a crossroads. We are the fruit of our past and we are the architects of our future... If you want to know your past, look at your present circumstances. If you want to know your future, look at what is in your mind.
― Matthieu Ricard


Let us live simply in the freshness of the present moment, in the clarity of pure awakened mind.
― Matthieu Ricard


Anyone who enjoys inner peace is no more broken by failure as he is inflated by success. He is able to fully live his experiences in the context of a vast and profound serenity, since he understands that experiences are ephemeral and that it is useless to cling to them.
― Matthieu Ricard


Genuine fearlessness arises with the confidence that we will be able to gather the inner resources to deal with any situation that comes our way.
― Matthieu Ricard


We deal with our mind from morning till evening and it can be our best friend or our worst enemy.
― Matthieu Ricard


True freedom means freeing oneself from the dictates of the ego and its accompanying emotions.
― Matthieu Ricard


The ultimate reason for meditating is to transform ourselves in order to be better able to transform the world or, to put it another way, to transform ourselves so we can become better human beings in order to serve others in a wiser and more efficient way. It gives your life the noblest possible meaning.
― Matthieu Ricard


In the freshness of the present moment, past is gone, future is not yet born, and—if one remains in pure mindfulness and freedom—disturbing thoughts arise and go without leaving a trace. That is basic meditation.
― Matthieu Ricard


Meditation gives you more inner strength and confidence, and if you don't feel vulnerable, you can put that to the service of others. So it's not just about sitting and cultivating caring mindfulness. It's building up a way of being and then using it for the service of others.
― Matthieu Ricard


We all have the ability to study the causes of suffering and gradually to free ourselves from them....it is not the magnitude of the task that matters, it's the magnitude of our courage.
― Matthieu Ricard


It's not the magnitude of the task that matters, it's the magnitude of our courage.
― Matthieu Ricard


Whatever you train, you change your brain.
― Matthieu Ricard


If we dedicate a certain amount of time each day to cultivating compassion or any other positive quality, we are likely to attain results, just like when we train the body... Meditation consists of familiarizing ourselves with a new way of being, of managing our thoughts and the way we perceive the world. Through the recent advances in neuroscience it is now possible to evaluate these methods and to verify their impact on the brain and body.
― Matthieu Ricard


Children, old people, vagabonds laugh easily and heartily: they have nothing to lose and hope for little. In renunciation lies a delicious taste of simplicity and deep peace.
― Matthieu Ricard



Transform our way of perceiving things, we transform the quality of our lives.
― Matthieu Ricard


While it may be difficult to change the world, it is always possible to change the way we look at it.
― Matthieu Ricard


Confidence is closely linked to how well our perceptions match reality
― Matthieu Ricard


Enlightenment is eliminating mental confusion, eliminating hatred, jealousy, mental toxins, cravings. That's very simple and straightforward. Whether you can do it or not is another matter.
― Matthieu Ricard


Knowledge does not mean mastering a great quantity of different information, but understanding the nature of mind. This knowledge can penetrate each one of our thoughts and illuminate each one of our perceptions.
― Matthieu Ricard


Anyone can be happy by simply training their brain
― Matthieu Ricard


The ultimate reason for meditating is to transform ourselves in order to be better able to transform the world.
― Matthieu Ricard


Humility does not mean believing oneself to be inferior, but to be freed from self-importance. It is a state of natural simplicity which is in harmony with our true nature and allows us to taste the freshness of the present moment.
― Matthieu Ricard


The mind is malleable. Our life can be greatly transformed by even a minimal change in how we manage our thoughts and perceive and interpret the world. Happiness is a skill. It requires effort and time.
― Matthieu Ricard


Simplifying our lives does not mean sinking into idleness, but on the contrary, getting rid of the most subtle aspect of laziness: the one which makes us take on thousands of less important activities.
― Matthieu Ricard


we find that the optimists have an undeniable advantage over the pessimists. Many studies show that they do better on exams, in their chosen profession, and in their relationships, live longer and in better health, enjoy a better chance of surviving postoperative shock, and are less prone to depression and suicide.
― Matthieu Ricard


We do all kinds of things to remain beautiful yet we spend surprisingly little time taking care of what matters most: the way our mind functions.
― Matthieu Ricard


If contemplation of other people's pain just increases distress, then I think we should see it in another way. If we don't center too much on ourselves, then [we] increase our courage and our determination to remedy the pain, not our distress. If we have unconditional compassion, then it increases our courage. So that's the difference, self-centered motivation versus altruistic motivation.
― Matthieu Ricard


There is definitely openness to others' suffering that is dealt not with distress but with compassion.
― Matthieu Ricard


Mind training is based on the idea that two opposite mental factors cannot happen at the same time. You could go from love to hate. But you cannot, at the same time - toward the same object, the same person - want to harm and want to do good.
― Matthieu Ricard


To grant forgiveness to someone who has truly changed is not a way of condoning or forgetting his or her past crimes, but of acknowledging whom he or she has become.
― Matthieu Ricard


Envy and jealousy stem from the fundamental inability to rejoice at someone else's happiness or success
― Matthieu Ricard


We must distinguish between spirituality in general terms, which aims to make us better people, and religion. Adopting a religion remains optional, but becoming a better human being is essential.
― Matthieu Ricard


When hearing a door creak, the optimist thinks it's opening and the pessimist thinks it's closing.
― Matthieu Ricard


Isn't it the mind that translates the outer condition into happiness and suffering?
― Matthieu Ricard


When you see those in healthcare who don't get this burn-out, they are very motherly, fatherly, or loving and attentive with the patients. [These] wonderful caretakers, doctors, and nurses don't get as much burn-out as people who are more defensive of the feelings and suffering of others...
― Matthieu Ricard


The goal of meditation is precisely to make your mind smooth and manageable so that it can be concentrated or relaxed at will; and especially to free it from the tyranny of mental afflictions and confusion
― Matthieu Ricard


If you want to know the future, look at what is in your mind
― Matthieu Ricard


Although the optimist may be a little giddy when foreseeing the future, telling himself that it will all work out in the end when that isn't always the case, his attitude is more fruitful since, in the hope of undertaking a hundred projects, followed up by diligent action, the optimist will end up completing fifty. Conversely, in limiting himself to undertake a mere ten, the pessimist might complete five at best and often fewer, since he'll devote little energy to a task he feels to be doomed from the start.
― Matthieu Ricard


Happiness is the main object of our aspirations, whatever name we give to it: fulfilment, deep satisfaction, serenity, accomplishment, wisdom, fortune, joy or inner peace, and however we try to seek it: creativity, justice, altruism, striving, completion of a plan or a piece of work.
― Matthieu Ricard


Wisdom and compassion should become the dominating influences that guide our thoughts , our words, and our actions.
― Matthieu Ricard


Negative emotions like hatred destroy our peace of mind.
― Matthieu Ricard


No change occurs if we just let our habitual tendencies and automatic patterns of thought perpetuate and even reinforce themselves, thought after thought, day after day, year after year. But those tendencies and patterns can be challenged.
― Matthieu Ricard


There is no such thing as good and bad in an absolute sense. There is only the good and bad- the harm in terms of happiness and suffering- that our thoughts and our actions do to ourselves and others.
― Matthieu Ricard


Authentic happiness is not linked to an activity; it is a state of being, a profound emotional balance struck by a subtle understanding of how the mind functions.
― Matthieu Ricard


The way you experience [pain] can change so much depending on your attitude.
― Matthieu Ricard


We try to fix the outside so much, but our control of the outer world is limited, temporary, and often, illusory.
― Matthieu Ricard


When you see a Tibetan doctor taking care of a patient, first of all, of course there are many wonderful medicines that come from [there in the past] 2,000 years. But this doctor is usually so attentional, so kind, and so careful of what you really feel and then [he sees] you as a human being instead of running you through some quick tests. So that itself, the trust and confidence in someone that cares for you is of course so invigorating... that someone cares.
― Matthieu Ricard


You should really stop worrying, develop the real wish to live and with a good motivation, [such as] "I have a better life and I can put that life at the benefit of others."
― Matthieu Ricard


Imagine a ship that is sinking and needs all the available power to run the pumps to drain out the rising waters. The first class passengers refuse to cooperate because they feel hot and want to use the air-conditioner and other electrical appliances. The second-class passengers spend all their time trying to be upgraded to first-class status. The boat sinks and the passengers all drown. That is where the present approach to climate change is leading.
― Matthieu Ricard


Peace is not weak. Standing up to a tank is harder than dropping a suicide bomb
― Matthieu Ricard


That's what Buddhism has been trying to unravel - the mechanism of happiness and suffering. It is a science of the mind.
― Matthieu Ricard


There is a dilemma, to reconcile three time scales: in the short term, the economy; in the middle range, global well - being generally; and, in the long range, the environment.
― Matthieu Ricard


We cannot study everything at the same time.
― Matthieu Ricard


If you see the humanity in the world, grains of sand that bring everything to a halt — it's corruption, clashes of egos, human factors more than resources. So, how to avoid that? There's a lack of human maturity. So it's not a vain or futile exercise to perfect yourself to some extent before you serve others, otherwise it's like cutting the wheat when it's still green. And nobody is fed by that. So we need a minimum of readiness to efficiently and wisely be at the service of others. So compassion needs also to be sort of enlightened by wisdom. Otherwise, it's blind.
― Matthieu Ricard


Empathy is the faculty to resonate with the feelings of others. When we meet someone who is joyful, we smile. When we witness someone in pain, we suffer in resonance with his or her suffering.
― Matthieu Ricard


Authentic happiness is not linked to an activity, it is a state of being.
― Matthieu Ricard


Neuroscience has proven that similar areas of the brain are activated both in the person who suffers and in the one who feels empathy. Thus, empathic suffering is a true experience of suffering.
― Matthieu Ricard


What counts is not the enormity of the task, but the size of the courage.
― Matthieu Ricard


Meditation is about cultivating constructive emotions, like altruism, compassion.
― Matthieu Ricard


Various studies indicate that with age people gain more wisdom about life and are somehow happier than younger people. This is especially true if, as we age, we learn how to become more generous, altruistic, and peaceful.
― Matthieu Ricard


In a way, there's nothing wrong with playing the piano, but it's not a huge trauma if you don't.
― Matthieu Ricard


[You] can dramatically change [your emotions] to be more altruistic, more loving, more compassionate, more attentive, and especially to have an inner sort of confidence and strength that you know that you have the resources to deal with whatever comes your way.
― Matthieu Ricard


You're not insensitive or indifferent, but you're also not vulnerable to the upheavals that cause emotional stress because you can buffer that... So that's the result of meditation; you could call that emotional balance.
― Matthieu Ricard


When you engage in compassion, and you hear a distressing sound, like someone calling for help, there is an activation in an area of the brain called the insular, which has to do with empathy and altruism, that is vastly more activated than in non-meditators.
― Matthieu Ricard


Too much involvement with one's feeling [is destructive]. If they have too much self-centered feelings, they get in trouble.
― Matthieu Ricard


I don't often get into a bad mood, since it does not help anything and clouds my judgment, but I can certainly see that sometimes things go terribly wrong. We need to understand the reasons for this and work towards building new conditions that will bring about better circumstances.
― Matthieu Ricard


When faced with adverse circumstances, if you can do something, do it and there is not need to worry. If you can't do anything, then there is no point to worry. So in either case, worrying is an added suffering. But this does not mean of course that we should not be unhappy about injustice, abuse and other kinds of behavior that brings suffering upon others.
― Matthieu Ricard


We deal with our mind from morning until evening. This mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. We should do everything we can to improve outer circumstances - remedying poverty, inequalities, conflicts, and so on - while also doing our best to achieve a state of mind that give us the inner resources to deal with the ups and downs of life.
― Matthieu Ricard


A big part of pain is the subjective reaction of trying to revolt against pain. If it's there, it's better to deal with it. Most of it is "I cannot stand it," and that component is enhancing pain so much.
― Matthieu Ricard


I was born in France. My father was a renowned French philosopher and journalist, and my mother was a painter. So I grew up in Parisian intellectual circles.
― Matthieu Ricard


You can't be at the same time a spiritual master and someone who is always angry. It doesn't work.
― Matthieu Ricard


The Dalai Lama has been extremely interested in science since his childhood.
― Matthieu Ricard


We have known about the placebo effect for many years. This is a remarkable effect - placebo can cure 30 percent in many cases.
― Matthieu Ricard


Changing your attitude has a curative effect... Maybe you can go directly to a change of mind, a change of attitude.
― Matthieu Ricard


I think if your direction in life is clear and if you develop the wish to accomplish/have a fulfilled life and to contribute something to others, I think that definitely gives you such a strength to want to be alive, that that would be the best placebo...
― Matthieu Ricard


We vastly underestimate the power of transformation of mind.
― Matthieu Ricard


Placebos are like the lollipop of optimism, but we can do much better by dealing directly with the mind... And it works!
― Matthieu Ricard


If there is a remedy or a cure, a solution to a problem or difficulty, why worry?
― Matthieu Ricard


You get [something] in your body that is the suffering or the problem, and then you [add] a second one, which is worry. In both cases, [it is] pointless.
― Matthieu Ricard


Just be free, and at least you will go through adversity with a stronger mind, and therefore, you'll be less affected, and pain will affect you less.
― Matthieu Ricard


If you don't have altruism, inner strength, inner peace, attention, then it's a trauma. It makes a difficult life for you and for others.
― Matthieu Ricard


It is in learning music that many youthful hearts learn to love.
― Matthieu Ricard


Happiness can’t be reduced to a few agreeable sensations. Rather, it is a way of being and of experiencing the world—a profound fulfillment that suffuses every moment and endures despite inevitable setbacks.
― Matthieu Ricard


Good and evil exist only in terms of the happiness or suffering they create in ourselves and others
― Matthieu Ricard


I got really involved in science research and the science of meditation.
― Matthieu Ricard


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Matthieu Ricard Quotes - (108) - Awakening Spiritual Quotations
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Matthieu Ricard Quotes and Spiritual Sayings