My first glimpse of him was more of a shape moving along the portico, on the other side of the vines. Or I heard him first, talking in a friendly hush. I realized he was chatting with a stray dog who was circling him, and they were playing. Or Matthieu wanted to play; the dog, who otherwise appeared to have been kicked around by life, wasn’t as willing. When Matthieu appeared in full view at last, he was smiling broadly, bare-shouldered in his saffron robes. He seemed unconcerned by the wet chill, his next meal, the squat toilets…unconcerned with Armageddon and all the rest of it. He greeted everyone, in roundnesses. His eyes were round, his shaved head was round, his body was round. I’d soon find there was a roundness to his idea as well, a fertility, a watermelon-ness: juices and pit, flesh and skin. He assiduously eschewed the New Age-isms of Buddhism. No bumper stickers here.
Meet Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist Monk who resides near the Himalayas and who is said to be the happiest man in the world, although he would be the first to disagree. He’s met happier monks. But really, he’s a monk who is able to bridge Buddhist teachings with Western ideology, neuroscience and cognitive psychology, allowing for a real true glimpse into what it takes to be happy.
Author of the book Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill, which goes over this in detail, the article above showcases one man’s journey to visit the monk in question on his mountain perch. A fantastic read, and a great short video at the end of the article too!