Notebooks of a Wandering Monk
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, some 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.
Praise for Notebooks of a Wandering Monk
Featured in the New York Times Magazine: The ‘World’s Happiest Man’ Shares His Three Rules for Life
Included in Publishers Weekly's Fall 2023 Adult Announcements Memoirs & Biographies List
"Matthieu Ricard is an ordained Buddhist monk and an internationally best-selling author of books about altruism, animal rights, happiness and wisdom. His humanitarian efforts led to his homeland’s awarding him the French National Order of Merit. (Ricard’s primary residence is a Nepalese monastery.) He was the Dalai Lama’s French interpreter and holds a Ph.D in cellular genetics. In the early 2000s, researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that Ricard’s brain produced gamma waves — which have been linked to learning, attention and memory — at such pronounced levels that the media named him 'the world’s happiest man.'"
—The New York Times Magazine
“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.”