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Matthieu Ricard said “Our mind is our best friend and also our worst enemy", at India Today Conclave 2018

India Today Group

Mumbai, March 09, 2018

The mood changed instantly from sombre to upbeat as the song if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands played on as Matthieu Ricard stepped on to the stage to talk about happiness. Just when you make a mental note of all things that can make you happy, he says: “Happiness is not an endless succession of pleasurable feelings; it’s an exceptionally healthy way of living,’ he said starting the session with a collection of beautiful photographs of snow-clad Himalayas the people there. A French writer who is now a Buddhist monk, Ricard studied molecular genetics and then gave it all up to live in the Himalayas and run Karuna Shechen that works for the underprivileged. For those eagerly awaiting the key to finding happiness, he said that altruism is the best way to finding true lasting happiness. “There is no selfish happiness. Love and compassion is the way to being happy,” he said.

Through the session Ricard stressed on the importance of compassion, the benefits of meditation on the human mind and the need for inner freedom. “Don’t be a slave of your emotions. Our mind is our best friend and our worst enemy,” he said. We all, he said, are interconnected and interdependent. Ricard leads by example—his organization works extensively in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand and the Himalayan regions. They offer healthcare facilities in 600 villages, run literacy programmes, have devised an electrical rickshaw for women and run schools. All this, he says, is the key to happiness.

Main Points

We must move towards a happier, healthier and a more compassionate society

Seek inner freedom and do not be a slave of your emotions because personal change can led to societal change

Drop the emphasis on the self

Transform yourself to be a better human being and be at the service of others

Train the mind, start with an easy object to feel compassion for and then start expanding it to others

We look for happiness in the wrong places


Our mind is our best friend and also our worst enemy

We contradict our mission of being happy

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Dimple Jain