Our vision

Karuna-Shechen unites everyone who believes that altruism is a key to building tomorrow's world.


The association works to break the cycle of extreme poverty and develop the full potential of the poorest women, men and children in India, Nepal and Tibet. We accompany and support these people in their empowerment and the strengthening of their resilience, making them agents of their own development.


Karuna-Shechen invites everyone to develop their altruistic potential and walk together towards a more just world. We offer events and information to be inspired, to learn about meditation and altruism, and facilitate involvement in a variety of beneficial projects.

Altruism is not a luxury but a necessity. It is one of the most concrete solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. Altruism is indeed not only the noblest state of mind of human beings, but the only concept that reconciles the demands of the short, medium and long term, to move towards an economy of solidarity, the wellbeing of citizens and a much greater consideration for the fate of future generations, the environment and the eight million species with which we share the biosphere.

Our values

At Karuna-Shechen, everyone is invited to pay particular attention to cultivating an altruistic state of mind.

22 years of altruism in action

In 1997, Matthieu Ricard chose to use all the royalties from his first book The Monk and the Philosopher to undertake humanitarian projects. Living among the Himalayan populations, he and Rabjam Rinpoche, abbot of Shechen Monastery, felt the need to address the inequalities and suffering they observed in this region.

Inspired by the teachings of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and the secular ethics promoted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Karuna-Shechen organization was born.

The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the association. The ideals of compassion and benevolence remain at the heart of our work, uniting and inspiring benefactors, volunteers, working teams and beneficiaries in a common vision: putting altruism into action.

Matthieu Ricard, founder

Inspired by the principle of universal responsibility proposed by the Dalai Lama, Matthieu Ricard co-founded Karuna-Shechen with an ideal of "compassion in action" to alleviate the suffering of the destitute in the Himalayan regions.

Born in 1946, he received a doctorate in cellular genetics at the Pasteur Institute, then moved to the Himalayas at the age of 26 and became a Buddhist monk. Humanitarian, photographer, writer, lecturer, and the french interpreter for the Dalai Lama he has been awarded from the "Ordre du Mérite" for his humanitarian work. He is actively involved in neuroscientific research on the effects of mind training at several American and European universities.

All of his royalties and profits from his activities are donated to Karuna-Shechen.

For more information, please visit: www.matthieuricard.org

The team

204 active
65 benevolent
15 nationalities represented

The organization

Karuna-Shechen is composed of independent entities that share the goal of alleviating the suffering of disadvantaged populations and advocating for a more altruistic world. These entities work closely together to coordinate their efforts and foster a spirit of solidarity:

  • Karuna-Shechen Europe, “association loi 1901” registered in France
  • Karuna-Shechen, endowment fund registered in France
  • Karuna-Shechen Suisse, association registered in Switzerland
  • Karuna-Shechen USA, 501c3 registered in the State of New York, USA
  • Karuna-Shechen Hong-Kong, non-profit company based in Hong Kong
  • Karuna-Shechen India, trust registered in India
  • Shechen-Karuna, association registered in Nepal
  • Karuna-Shechen Foundation, stichting based in the Netherlands