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The Monk And The Philosopher

A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life
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Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Schocken
 | 
February, 2000
ISBN:
9780805211030
In stock now: 
1
$19.95 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

“The wonderful thing about this book is that it shows how fruitful open-hearted dialogue can be.” —the Dalai Lama

In 1970, Ricard left a brilliant career in molecular biology to study firsthand in the Himalayas with leading Tibetan Buddhist masters. Since then he has translated several books and served as a translator for the Dalai Lama. In this book, he and his father (Revel), a leading French philosopher and intellectual, meet for 10 days in Kathmandu to speak with each other from their Eastern and Western perspectives and to explore the similarities, the differences, and the connections of Buddhist and Western philosophical traditions. Their fascinating account glows with some extraordinarily intelligent explanation of Buddhist concepts. This engaging encounter combines three kinds of confrontation, each fascinating in its own way: East meets West, religion meets science, and son meets father.

Revel asks most of the questions: Why did Ricard abandon his scientific career? What is Tibetan Buddhism, and why does it appeal to so many Westerners? Does it add anything new to Western philosophy? Is it a rational system of thought, or is it metaphysical, even superstitious? Does human consciousness exist on its own (apart from the body), or is it simply the expression of the physical and biological processes?

In response, Ricard explains the central ideas of Tibetan Buddhism and poses some challenges of his own, such as: Is Western science itself a belief system, reaching conclusions that are restricted by its own methods and premises? Are not the meditation methods of Tibetan Buddhism scientific, since they require total clarity of mind, and also produce consistent results? Ricard stands by his own experience. In meditation, he says, we can see the ultimate nature of mind with total certainty. And he insists that we in the West have lost something that Tibetan Buddhism offers, namely, ways to transform the mind into a state that is both positive and joyful.

At the book’s conclusion, father Revel remains respectfully unconvinced, and readers are left to make up their own minds. It’s a thought-provoking yet very accessible book for the educated reader, and a remarkable answering of the classic questions of Western thinking from a Buddhist perspective.

Also by Matthieu Ricard is Journey to Enlightenment.

Publisher’s Description: 

Jean Francois-Revel, a pillar of French intellectual life in our time, became world famous for his challenges to both Communism and Christianity. Twenty-seven years ago, his son, Matthieu Ricard, gave up a promising career as a scientist to study Tibetan Buddhism -- not as a detached observer but by immersing himself in its practice under the guidance of its greatest living masters.

Meeting in an inn overlooking Katmandu, these two profoundly thoughtful men explored the questions that have occupied humankind throughout its history. Does life have meaning? What is consciousness? Is man free? What is the value of scientific and material progress? Why is there suffering, war, and hatred? Their conversation is not merely abstract: they ask each other questions about ethics, rights, and responsibilities, about knowledge and belief, and they discuss frankly the differences in the way each has tried to make sense of his life.

Utterly absorbing, inspiring, and accessible, this remarkable dialogue engages East with West, ideas with life, and science with the humanities, providing wisdom on how to enrich the way we live our lives.Jean Francois-Revel, a pillar of intellectual life in our time, became famous for his challenges to both Communism and Christianity. Twenty-seven years ago, his son, Matthieu Ricard, gave up a promising career as a scientist to study Tibetan Buddhism - not as a detached observer but by immersing himself in its practice under the guidance of its greatest living masters.



Meeting in Katmandu, these two profoundly thoughtful men explored the questions that have occupied humankind throughout its history. They ask each other questions about ethics, rights, and responsibilities, about knowledge and belief, and they discuss frankly the differences in the way each has tried to make sense of his life.



Utterly absorbing, inspiring, and accessible, this remarkable dialogue engages East with West, ideas with life, and science with the humanities, providing wisdom on how to enrich the way we live our lives.

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