Born in France in 1946, son of philosopher Jean-François Revel and artist Yahne Le Toumelin, Matthieu Ricard is a Ph.D. in cell genetics turned Buddhist monk who has studied Buddhism in the Himalayas for the last 50 years under respected masters such as Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He is a humanitarian, an author, a photographer, and a speaker at various international events.

His books include The Monk and the Philosopher; The Quantum and the Lotus; Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important SkillWhy Meditate?; Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World, A Plea for the Animals, Enlightened Vagabond, Beyond the Self: A conversation between Neuroscience and Buddhism, In Search of Wisdom, Freedom for All and Our Animal Neighbours.

As a photographer, he has published a number of albums in Frenc, including, in English Journey to Enlightenment (Aperture), Tibet: An Inner Journey (Thames and Hudson), Motionless Journey: From a Hermitage in the Himalayas  (Thames and Hudson), Bhutan: Land of Serenity. Henri Cartier Bresson wrote about his photographic work: “Matthieu’s camera and his spiritual life are one. From there, spring these images, fleeting yet eternal.”

As a scientist and Buddhist monk, under the umbrella of the Mind and Life Institute, he has been an active participant in the scientific research on the effects of meditation on the brain and has co-authored a number of scientific publications. 

He presently lives at Shechen monastery in Nepal and devotes all the proceedings of his books and activities to humanitarian projects in India, Nepal and Tibet, through Karuna-Shechen, the organization he founded twenty-one years ago (, which benefit over 400,000 people every year.