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Lions Roar : November 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 67 RICHARD GERE: Let’s start by talking about where you came from and what led you to where you are now. MATTHIEU RICARD: I was an ordinary guy, but I was fortunate to meet inspiring people from all walks of life. That gave me insight into what it is to be a good human being, and what doesn’t necessarily correlate with being a good human being. Since my father was a philosopher, the great Parisian intellectuals were often at our table, and since my mother was a painter, there were also many artists. I was learning to be both a scientist and a mu- sician. At sixteen, I had lunch with Stravinsky. The man I worked under at the Pasteur Insti- tute had won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. What struck me, though, was that there was no real correlation between the quality of the human being and their particular ge- nius. You could be a wonderful pianist and yet be an incredible pain to be with! [Audi- ence laughs] You could be an extraordinary gardener and impossible with people. You could be a profound thinker and vicious to all your family. Or you might be very nice. There seemed to be no correlation between genius and the everyday quality of the human being. This article is an edited version of a conversa- tion between Matthieu Ricard and Richard Gere that took place on May 16, 2006, at the 92nd Street Y in New York City: www.92y.org PHOTOS©ROBERTA.RIPPS