Matthieu Ricard

French writer and Buddhist monk

Matthieu Ricard (15 February 1946) is a French writer and Buddhist monk who resides at Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Nepal. He is the author and photographer of Tibet, An Inner Journey and Monk Dancers of Tibet and, in collaboration, the photobooks Buddhist Himalayas, Journey to Enlightenment and recently Motionless Journey: From a Hermitage in the Himalayas. He is the translator of numerous Buddhist texts, including The Life of Shabkar.


  • 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.
    • The Quantum and the Lotus, translated by Ian Monk (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001), p. 264.

A Plea for the Animals (2014)Edit

A Plea for the Animals: The Moral, Philosophical, and Evolutionary Imperative to Treat All Beings with Compassion, translated by Sherab Chödzin Kohn (Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications, 2016). Original title: Plaidoyer pour les animaux (2014).
  • We continue to live in ignorance concerning the harm we inflict on animals; very few of us have ever visited an industrial breeding site or a slaughterhouse. We maintain a kind of moral schizophrenia that has us lavishing pampering our pets and at the same time planting our forks in the pigs that have been sent to the slaughter by the millions, even though they are in no way less conscious, less sensitive to pain, or less intelligent than our cats and dogs.
    • Introduction, p. 4
  • The most striking quality that humans and animals have in common is the capacity to experience suffering. Why do we still blind ourselves, now at the beginning of the twenty-first century, to the immeasurable suffering that we inflict on animals, knowing that a great part of the pain that we cause them is neither necessary nor unavoidable? Certainly we should know that there is no moral justification for inflicting needless pain and death on any being.
    • Introduction, p. 4
  • Kindness, altruistic love, and compassion are qualities that do not harmonize well with bias. Restricting the field of our compassion not only diminishes it quantitatively but also qualitatively. Applying our compassion only to certain beings, human beings in this case, makes it a lesser and a poorer thing.
    • Chapter 1, p. 39

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