Notebooks of a Wandering Monk
720 pp., 6 x 9 in, 57 color photos, 13 b&w photos, 5 b&w illus.
- Published: October 3, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
- Published: October 24, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
The memoirs of renowned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard and his extraordinary journey toward inner freedom and compassion in action.
Matthieu Ricard began his spiritual transformation at the age of twenty-one, in Darjeeling, India, when he met Tibetan teacher Kangyur Rinpoche, who deeply impressed the young man with his extraordinary quality of being. In Notebooks of a Wandering Monk, Ricard tells the simple yet extraordinary story of his journey and the remarkable men and women who inspired him along the way, including Kangyur Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and the fourteenth Dalai Lama, as well as great luminaries such as Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, and a number of leading scientists.
Growing up, Ricard, the son of philosopher Jean-François Revel and artist Yahne Le Toumelin, regularly found himself in the company of intellectuals and artists such as Luis Buñuel, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Igor Stravinsky. Young Ricard loved nature, classical music, and science and dreamed of unlocking the mysteries of molecular biology. But, six years after meeting Kangyur Rinpoche, Ricard gave up a promising career in genetics to pursue a meditative life in the remote Himalayas. While spending half a century in India, Bhutan, and Nepal, he visited Tibet more than twenty times and spent years publishing rare Tibetan texts and photographing his spiritual teachers and the world in which they lived.
Elegantly translated by Jesse Browner and accompanied by more than fifty full-color photographs, many of which are Ricard's own, Notebooks of a Wandering Monk charts Ricard's lifelong path to wisdom and compassion. This candid and reflective memoir will inspire all readers, wherever they may be on their own journey to a meaningful and well-lived life.
“This book is not a travelogue or mere diary of an extraordinary life. It is more like a mountain, saturated with rich veins of pure dharma gold for those motivated to follow the unfolding life of the remarkable (although he would deny this) Matthieu Ricard. Matthieu's fortunate karma and utter commitment to awakening carries readers to places we will probably never go, introduces us to authentic teachers we will never meet or connect with as he did, and shows us the purity and goodness of a life committed to selflessness, wakefulness, and compassion—all with a sense of levity and good will that honors the beautiful differences among the people we encounter through Matthieu along the way."
Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction); author of Full Catastrophe Living and Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief
“Matthieu Ricard, scientist-turned-monk, brilliantly documents his remarkable years of dedication to spiritual pursuits. I highly recommend Notebooks of a Wandering Monk as an immersion in the contemplative mode, with plentiful lessons for the well-lived life.”
Daniel Goleman, coauthor of Why We Meditate
“This autobiography of Mathieu Ricard is fascinating for two reasons. First, it gives a touching account of the conversion of a molecular biologist, impregnated with Western culture, into a Buddhist monk. Second, the detailed portrayals of the most influential spiritual teachers of Buddhism, including the Dalai Lama, and the descriptions of monastic traditions, all based on personal experience, grant the reader authentic insights into Buddhist philosophy and the Tibetan cultural heritage.”
Wolf Singer, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Ernst Strungmann Institute for Neuroscience
“In Notebooks of a Wandering Monk, the memoirs of renowned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, he reflects on how our culture often associates happiness with achieving goals, acquiring possessions, professional accomplishments and, more lately, seeking validation on social media.”
“This beautifully written tome details [Ricard's] life journey out of the world, as it were, and into wisdom and compassion. Ricard is an extraordinary exemplar. Even after decades traversing India, Nepal, and Bhutan, he demonstrates a sense of stillness and groundedness.”