About Matthieu Ricard

Matthieu is a best-selling author, world-acclaimed photographer, scientist, humanitarian and Buddhist monk living in the Himalayas for more than 40 years.

As the son of French philosopher Jean-François Revel and the artist Yahne Le Toumelin. He was born in 1946 in France, and grew up among the personalities and ideas of Paris’ intellectual and artistic circles. At the renowned Institut Pasteur, he graduated with a PhD degree in cell genetics, under the Nobel Laureate Francois Jacob.

In 1967, he traveled to India to meet great spiritual masters from Tibet. After completing his doctoral thesis in 1972, he decided to concentrate on Buddhist studies and practice.

Watch Matthieu Ricard’s famous TED talk on Happiness



The buddhist monk

He has lived in India, Bhutan, and Nepal and has studied with some of the greatest Buddhist scholars such as Kyapje Kangyur Rinpoche (1897-1975) and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991). He now resides at The Shechen Monastery in Nepal.



“Matthieu’s camera and his spiritual life are one, and from this spring these images, fleeting yet eternal.” Henri-Cartier Bresson.

Living with Tibetan teachers and their culture has enabled him to capture on camera the spiritual masters, landscapes, and people of the Himalayas. He is the author and photographer of Journey to Enlightenment108 sourires, Buddhist HimalayasMonk Dancers of TibetTibet. An Inner JourneyMotionless Journey, and Bhutan. Land of Serenity. His work has been exhibited in New York (RMA Museum, Aperture Gallery), Paris, Perpignan (Visa pour l’image), Winthertur, Stockholm, and Hong Kong. You may see all of his publications on his blog.


The author

He is the author of several books including the dialogue with his father, Jean-François Revel, The Monk and the Philosopher, which was a best seller in Europe and was translated into 21 languages. The Quantum and the Lotus (coauthored with Trinh Xuan Thuan) reflects his long-standing interest in science and Buddhism. In 2003, his book Plaidoyer pour le bonheur (published in English in 2006 as Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill) explores the meaning and fulfillment of happiness and was a major best-seller in France. He has written other books such as The heart of Compassion: The Thirty-seven Verses on the practice of a Bodhissatva, and The Spirit of Tibet.




As well as a doctoral degree in cell genetics, Matthieu has served as the French interpreter for his holiness the Dalai Lama since 1989. He is an active member of the Mind and Life Institute, an organization dedicated to collaborative research between scientists and Buddhist scholars and meditators. He is also involved in research on the effect of mind training and meditation on the brain at The University of Wisconsin ar Madison, Princeton, and Berkeley, and the University of Leipzig in Germany. 


As well as the founder of the Karuna-Shechen humanitarian organisation, Matthieu donates all proceeds from his books and much of his time to humanitarian projects (clinics, schools, orphanages, elder care, bridge construction, vocational training) in the Himalayas, and to the preservation of the Tibetan cultural heritage.

Watch the trailer of the movie “the Devotion of Matthieu Ricard”.