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The Monk and the Philosopher
by Jean-François Revel, Matthieu Ricard completed: 25 Feb 2018

“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.”

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referenced in posts

self-nourishment in times of despair
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collected in

collection (6)
Buddhism & Zen

books that informed and shaped my understanding of buddhist and zen philosophy

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highlights (4)

  • A retreatant withdraws temporarily from the world to gain the spiritual strength required to help others effectively. The spiritual path begins with an inner transformation, and it’s only when that’s been achieved that an individual can usefully contribute to the transformation of society.

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  • The Dalai Lama says that outer disarmament can only take place through inner disarmament. If the individual doesn’t become more peaceful, a society that’s the sum total of such individuals will never become more peaceful either.

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  • J.F. – Do you mean that the only way to attain lasting peace in the world is the reform of individuals? M. – To think otherwise is surely utopian. The reform of individuals would, of course, have to include our leaders as a first step!

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  • In any case, the first thing is to make peace within oneself – inner disarmament; then peace in the family; then in the village; and finally in the nation and beyond.

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