Mattheiu Ricard, Buddhist Monk & 'The Happiest Man Alive'

on the best advice the Dalai Lama has ever given him & lessons in happiness and compassion


When I was invited to sit down with Mattheiu Ricard, a Budhist monk who acts as the right hand to the Dalai Lama, at The Players Club in NYC for an exclusive interview I jumped at the chance.   Despite the fact that I interview celebs for a living, I was super nervous to meet Mattheiu.  Thanks to Muse, a new device to help people meditate, and The Path, a group that brings meditation to the masses. I had my one-on-one.  Being in his prescence alone was an honor. Here are his thoughts on cultivating happiness, his Ted Talk that has over five million views and alturism.


Do you begin your mornings by setting a daily intention?  If so, what is it?

Well, not every morning, but I try to do it when facing every new situation.  Each time you wake up physically or mentally you are facing a new situation.  You ask yourself which direction are you going to to?  Are you going to see each person you encounter through selfish motivation in thinking, how’s is that going to benefit me?  Or are you thinking in an alturistic way? 

Every motivation or intention should be oriented to the greater benefit to the greatest number of people for the long term.  It’s so essential that time and again you need to rekindle and check your motivations, because it’s hard to predict the outcome of our actions.  So many unpredictable things happen, but we can always check in on our intentions.  At least try.  If you do it over and over you’ll soon be able to see when you’re fully in yourself and see clearer what is at the heart of your motivation.

Your first Ted Talk, The Habits of Happiness, has over five million views!  Why do you think it is so popular?

I have no idea, but who wakes up in the morning asking to be miserable?  Everyone wants to be happy.  It’s the goal of goals.  Everything else is a a means to less suffering.  It’s important to realize that you’re already happy.  If you look to happiness in the wrong places - becoming famous, having power, wealth - then you’ll be disappointed.  Happiness can be in the searching and the goal, depending on your goal.  If your goal is to become a better human being - more compassionate, more peaceful - then the goal and the path are fulfilling.

What is your definition of happiness?

It’s a way of being.  The more you cultivate it, the more it can broaden and deepen.  It’s a cluster of positive, wholesome and constructive qualities.  Altruistic love and freedom bring happiness.  To be free from mental toxins like confusion, hatred, craving and arrogance.  To be free from all that poison your happiness and the happiness of others.  Freedom like this gives you inner strength so you can deal with the ups and downs of life.  Therefore, happiness is an exceptionally healthy, optimal state of mind.

What role does love play in happiness?

Love is a supreme emotion.  It is good for your mental and physical health.  A loving state is that of excellence and happiness.  It has the deepest effect on the positive state of mind.

I've found meditation to be helful in my life and am excited that Muse is helping to bring meditation to the masses.  How can meditation help create a shift in happiness?

Meditation simply means “training the mind,” but we should be more concerned with what we’re training our mind to do.  You can train the mind to do anything good or evil.  When meditating, focus your attention on emotional balance and compassion.  It’s about cultivating qualities and becoming more familiar with the way your mind works.  It allows your mind to intervene with your thoughts instead of being a slave to them.  

What’s the best advice the Dali Lama has ever given you?

I was going on a six month retreat and he said, " In the beginning, meditate on compassion.  In the middle, meditate on compassion and in the end, meditate on compassion."  It’s very clear.

Beauty is ______.

the wisdom of compassion.