The Great Questions: Mind, Consciousness And Meaning with Jean-Francois Revel & Matthieu Ricard

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In 1996, internationally-renowned philosopher Jean-Francois Revel and his son Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk, spent ten days in the mountains overlooking Kathmandu discussing the most fundamental questions of human existence. The resulting book, The Monk and the Philosopher (Schocken 1999), went beyond conventional beliefs and surface meanings. You will find yourself stirred (and possibly shaken) by this profound discussion from two learned thinkers who believe that a master of philosophy must be "an example with his own life of the way we must live to become wiser and happier." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Jean-Francois Revel (1924-2006) was a teacher, philosopher, best-selling author, and member of the Academie Francaise.

Matthieu Ricard lives in the Shechen Monastery in Nepal, and serves as the personal interpreter for the Dalai Lama in France.

Revel and Ricard are co-authors of:

  • The Monk and the Philosopher : A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life (Schocken 1999)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why we experience suffering and how to alleviate it
  • How an evolved consciousness works
  • Why a virtuous life cannot be lived alone
  • How a real democracy works
  • How to enhance the father-son relationship through mutual work
  • What compelled Ricard, a gifted scientist, to become a Buddhist monk
  • Tibet: an overview of its past, present, and future
Host: Michael Toms       Interview Date: 2/25/1999       Program Number: 2765