Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, photographer and author who left a promising career in cellular genetics in France to study Buddhism in the Himalayas 40 years ago.
Matthieu was born in France in 1946. His father, Jean-François Revel, was an well-respected philosopher. His mother, Yahne Le Toumelin, is a painter and watercolorist.
He completed a Ph.D. in Cellular Genetics at the Pasteur Institute, under Nobel Laureate François Jacob. After finishing his thesis he decided to abandon his scientific career and concentrate on Tibetan Buddhist studies.
Matthieu Ricard has been living in the Himalayas since 1972 and has been a Buddhist monk at the Shechen Monastery in Nepal for 37 years. Since 1989 he has accompanied His Holiness Dalai Lama to France, acting as his personal interpreter.
His book, The Monk and the Philosopher, in which he recounts conversations with his father, was a best-seller in Europe and has been translated into twenty-one languages.
He donates all the profits of his books, and much of his time, to over one hundred humanitarian projects based in Nepal, India and Tibet.
Ricard has been awarded the French National Order of Merit, by then-President François Mitterrand, for his involvement in and efforts to preserve the Himalayan cultures.