Kieran Forster (aka Algernon Eldritch)

Meeting Matthieu Riccard

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I met Matthieu accidentally when travelling through Hong Kong in 2013. As you may know, he is a Frenchman who was once a scientist before he discovered Tibetan Buddhism in the 70’s. He left his research in Paris and became very close to the Dalai Lama and Dilgo Khyentse. I have read his books, and always liked his down to earth style.

So, we are coming down the lift in a nice Hong Kong hotel planning to explore the city. The lift doors open and there is Matthieu, smiling beatifically, asking “Going up?”. Unfortunately we weren’t. The doors closed and I felt I missed a big opportunity to speak with a favourite author of mine. So I left a note at the desk for him saying I would like to chat with him if he got some free time. I expected nothing.

Remarkably, he responded to my note and left one under my door saying he would be available at a certain time. It turned out his room was next to ours! In my mental world, this a synchronicity.

Anyway, when we eventually caught up, he showed me some of his photography (he was exhibiting in the hotel) and also discussed his ideas for his new book (comparing western philosophy with Buddhism). It was a very special demonstration of the fact that despite the cynicism and misanthropy many of us have, there are people who are generous and giving.

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