November 29 2018

Matthieu Ricard: Karuna-Shechen, my life’s work


Dear Faithful Friends,

The book, The Monk and the Philosopher, published a little over twenty years ago, was based on a dialogue between myself and my father, the philosopher Jean-François Revel. It was very successful and, subsequently, has been translated into twenty-three languages.

At that time I was living in Asia to be near my Himalayan masters and had no need for funds. So, I decided to dedicate my share of the book’s proceeds to humanitarian projects in the region. My desire to undertake compassionate action was inspired by several people: His Holiness the Dalai-Lama, my spiritual master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and Rabjam Rinpoche, the Abbot of Shechen Monastery.

Generous benefactors joined in and, two years later, we were able to build our first school and medical clinic in eastern Tibet. In 2000, we built a medical clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal and, in the same year, we started a small clinic to provide health care to vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the Gaya district of India.

And so Karuna-Shechen was born! Karuna-Shechen annually helps 250,000 people in remote villages of northern India, Nepal, and eastern Tibet.

Today I continue to direct all my income (from books, photography, and conferences) to this non-profit organization. The co-founding of this organization with Rabjam Rinpoche has been a wonderful and fulfilling accomplishment.

Many years have passed since the start of our work, yet our vision remains unchanged: It is rooted in altruism, based on the active participation of rural communities, respectful of cultural heritage, and dedicated to preserving local natural resources. Our aim is to develop projects that in the future can be sustained by the villagers themselves independent of external help.

Now, more than twenty years after the publication of The Monk and the Philosopher, the book that made all this possible, I invite you to rediscover and support Karuna-Shechen. One of my deepest wishes is to see its activities and vision live on. This can only happen thanks to all of you.


With all my gratitude,



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