Matthieu Ricard on Habits of Happiness


Matthieu Ricard, one of my favorite Buddhist practitioners, through out his life that has apparently proved the non – existence of dualism which still plays a major role in scientific method. His method is a combination of his own experience as a molecular biologist those days as well as a Tibetan monk later which consists of both objective and subjective phenomena of the world. Some of his works translated to Vietnamese: Đối thoại giữa Triết học và Phật giáo (Hồ Hữu Hưng translated) on dialogue with his father, a French philosopher, Jean Francois Revel, Cái vô hạn trong lòng bàn tay (Phạm Văn Thiều and Ngô Vũ translated) with Trịnh Xuân Thuận, a Vietnamese born astronomer, and Bàn về hạnh phúc (Lê Việt Liên translated).


Allez l’OM

For Matias and Mr Văn, my good friends.

I never forget that day, far back to a hot summer night in 1993, when my favorite French football club Olympique de Marseille met Italian giant Milan A.C in the final match of C1 competition which is now called European Champions League. I watched this match on a 14 inches Hitachi black and white TV set and for the first time I could see my admired players who dominated France football those days. My OM finally won this title after beating Milan 1 – 0 from the only goal scored by Basile Boli, that was the greatest victory throughout history of the club which had these players such as Desailly, Voller, Boksic, Barthez and the 25 year-old captain Deschamps who lifted World Cup and Euro trophy later with France national team. In the squad of the losers those days were Van Basten, Rijkaard, Baresi, Maldini and sadly Jean – Pierre Papin who had just left OM to join Milan. And Papin actually is the player I ever like most.

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Blowing in the wind

Every road leads to Rome. Thousand years ago, Heraclitus in Greece and Confucius in China both said just like this “Everything moves around smoothly” or Buddha taught us “Everything depends on the others”. That is, there is no barrier in the mainstream of thoughts between the East and the West. You may not believe what I’ve said then take a look at two totally different songs but the title: “Blowing in the wind”.

The first one is a Trịnh Công Sơn’s well – known song which is called “Để gió cuốn đi” in Vietnamese, the second is a Bob Dylan’s song called “Blowing in the wind”. If we know that Khánh Ly gives Trịnh’s work an outstanding performance then Joan Baez did the same to Bob’s song. Surprisingly enough, Joan once said “Trịnh Công Sơn is Bob Dylan of Vietnam”.

In these songs they gave us some simple questions related to the real meaning of our human beings. Trịnh wrote “Let live your life, you need a true heart, whatever don’t you see?” (1). And Bob asked us “How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?”

Which is your answers for these? Which is mine? Which is ours? Eventually I recognize the truth is really simple as somebody says so. Every man has his own answer belongs to nobody but himself. Our songwriters told us: “Gone with the wind – Trịnh” (2) and “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind – Bob” .

April 2010


(1) Sống trong đời sống, cần có một tấm lòng, để làm gì, em biết không.
(2) Để gió cuốn đi.