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The Monk and the Philosopher

A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life

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eBook published by Schocken (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Jean Francois-Revel, a pillar of French intellectual life in our time, became world famous for his challenges to both Communism and Christianity. Twenty-seven years ago, his son, Matthieu Ricard, gave up a promising career as a scientist to study Tibetan Buddhism -- not as a detached observer but by immersing himself in its practice under the guidance of its greatest living masters.

Meeting in an inn overlooking Katmandu, these two profoundly thoughtful men explored the questions that have occupied humankind throughout its history. Does life have meaning? What is consciousness? Is man free? What is the value of scientific and material progress? Why is there suffering, war, and hatred? Their conversation is not merely abstract: they ask each other questions about ethics, rights, and responsibilities, about knowledge and belief, and they discuss frankly the differences in the way each has tried to make sense of his life.

Utterly absorbing, inspiring, and accessible, this remarkable dialogue engages East with West, ideas with life, and science with the humanities, providing wisdom on how to enrich the way we live our lives.
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Jean Francois-Revel, a pillar of French intellectual life in our time, became world famous for his challenges to both Communism and Christianity. Twenty-seven years ago, his son, Matthieu Ricard, gave up a promising career as a scientist to study Tibetan Buddhism -- not as a detached observer but by immersing himself in its practice under the guidance of its greatest living masters.

Meeting in an inn overlooking Katmandu, these two profoundly thoughtful men explored the questions that have occupied humankind throughout its history. Does life have meaning? What is consciousness? Is man free? What is the value of scientific and material progress? Why is there suffering, war, and hatred? Their conversation is not merely abstract: they ask each other questions about ethics, rights, and responsibilities, about knowledge and belief, and they discuss frankly the differences in the way each has tried to make sense of his life.

Utterly absorbing, inspiring, and accessible, this remarkable dialogue engages East with West, ideas with life, and science with the humanities, providing wisdom on how to enrich the way we live our lives.
Product Details
eBook (384 pages)
Published: March 16, 2011
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Schocken
ISBN: 9780307787019
Other books byJean Francois Revel
  • Anti Americanism

    Anti Americanism
    Soon after the 9/11 attack on the United States, the early outpouring of sympathy from around the world began giving way to blame. In many quarters of Europe, especially France, and elsewhere in the world, it was said that the Americans must somehow have brought this violence upon themselves. The U.S. was a “cowboy” nation unwilling to abide by the will of the United Nations and other multilateral institutions, and bent on pursuing its objectives no matter what. Angered by the increasingly shrill polemics against a nation he knows and admires, the distinguished French writer Jean-François Revel has come to America’s defense in Anti-Americanism, a biting and erudite book that spent several weeks late last year on top of the French best-seller list. Revel probes the origins of the notion that America is the source of all evil: imperialistic, greedy and ruthlessly competitive—the “hyperpower” whose riches are acquired at the price of Third World impoverishment. He shows how these charges ultimately stem from weakness and envy on the part of those who make them, and criticizes the legions of foreign propagandists and pseudo-intellectuals who make a living “bashing America.” As far as America’s “unilateralism” is concerned, Revel shows that the U.S. is forced to act alone because Europe has failed repeatedly to act in the cause of collective security. As far as America’s sins of “globalization” are concerned, Revel shows that the developing countries of the world want more, not less access to rich markets and corporate investment. Much anti-Americansim, he believes, is simply anti-capitalism on the part of those—in Europe and the rest of the world—who are still committed to doctrines that are at heart illiberal and even totalitarian.

    Last Exit to Utopia

    Last Exit to Utopia
    The Survival of Socialism in a Post-Soviet Era
    " Here is a tasty paradox: How did the Leftist legions regroup after history delivered its fatal blow to the Soviet system? Simple, argues Jean-Francois Revel: the Left retreated to the impregnable fortress of the Utopian ideal. After all, socialism incarnate was always vulnerable to criticism. Utopia, on the other hand, lies by definition beyond reproach. With the demise of the Soviet system, there is no longer a vast and flailing embodiment of their vision, and Utopia’s haughty champions can again rage boundlessly. In Last Exit to Utopia, the latest English language translation of one of Europe’s most controversial intellectuals, Jean-Francois Revel takes aim at socialist apologists who have attempted to erase or invert the manifest failures of socialist ideology. As the tide of Big Government rises in America, Revel’s forewarnings here are as prescient as they are frightening. "

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