All conflict starts in the mind. If we do not invest time or energy into something, we will not gain a result. This is the same with the mind.
Most of us live in an illusion that we will be happy when things will be as we think they should be. We have many attachments – to physical pleasures, to people, to material, to money – but our biggest attachment is the reality as we think it should be. ‘When my health is perfect, when my kids do everything I say, when my wife or husband is like this and my company goes like this, I will be happy.’ But, we forget that we are the main character of our movies. If we do not have inner peace, conflict will come up in everything else.
Pain is nothing more, nothing less than an alarm ringing that something is wrong. The problem is not conflict, the problem is what is generating the conflict. The problem is not violence, the problem is what is generating the violence. Join us to change the paradigm.
“Doing retreat means you’re making war with your inner enemy – delusions.”
– Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre
Address: Via Campo dell’Eva, 1, 28813 Albagnano di Bée (VB) Italia
Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre is located near Bée in the province of Verbania on Lake Maggiore. Overlooking the suggestive panorama of the lake, Albagnano is immersed in pine and chestnut woods at an altitude of 600 metres on the edge of the Val Grande national park.
Tibetan Master and Healer T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Rinpoche inaugurated the Healing and Meditation Centre in 1999. He has been living in Albagnano since then, bringing together a community of people who share an interest in spirituality and wish to live in harmony with nature, carrying out numerous projects that contribute to revitalising the village and rural culture.
The Centre, of Tibetan Buddhist Mahayana Vajrayana tradition, welcomes everyone who is interested in regenerating and healing the energies of body and mind, and developing their human potential through ancient spiritual and healing methods. Courses are held on Buddhist philosophy, psychology and meditation, and the meditative techniques of NgalSo Tantric Self Healing.
The Centre welcomes people who wish to undertake spiritual retreats in a pure environment. We offer individual consultations, ancient Himalayan medical traditions, therapies for physical and mental wellbeing, Reiki, Yoga, Indian and Tibetan astrology, art therapy and other activities to develop personal qualities, increase happiness and inner peace. The Centre also organizes humanitarian aid for Himalayan countries, pilgrimages to the sacred places of Buddhism and inter-religious meetings for world peace.
Address: PO: Swargashram, Rishikesh-249304, Uttarakhand, India
Phone: +91-135-244-0055, +91-135-244-0088
Parmarth Niketan is a true spiritual haven, lying on the holy banks of Mother Ganga in the lap of the lush Himalayas. It is the largest ashram in Rishikesh, providing its thousands of pilgrims who come from all corners of the Earth with a clean, pure and sacred atmosphere as well as abundant, beautiful gardens. With over 1,000 rooms, the facilities are a perfect blend of modern amenities and traditional, spiritual simplicity. Parmarth Niketan is located in Swargashram, on the main road, just on the banks of the sacred Ganges River.
It is no surprise that pilgrims are drawn here from all over the world. The awe-inspiring beauty of the ashram, the clear flowing Ganga, the majestic mountains, and the lush green forests will embrace and rejuvenate your entire being. Parmarth Niketan offers comfort, inspiration and upliftment for your body, mind and spirit as well as a deeper connection with the Divine. As you stay in the ashram, you will feel your soul bathing in the peace of sacred energies, including those that emanate from nature and those that linger from the timeless healing powers of saints, sages and holy ones. Parmarth Niketan contains within it the voice and the spirit of divine communion.
The daily activities at Parmarth Niketan include morning universal prayers, daily yoga and meditation classes, daily satsang and lecture programs, kirtan, the world-renowned Ganga Aarti at sunset, as well as Nature Cure and Ayurvedic treatment.
There are frequently special cultural and spiritual programs given by visiting revered saints, acclaimed musicians, spiritual and social leaders and others.
Additionally, there are frequent camps in which pilgrims come from across the world to partake in intensive courses on yoga, meditation, pranayama, stress management, acupressure, Reiki and other ancient Indian sciences.
Address: WCCM International Office, St Marks, Myddelton Square, London, EC1R 1XX, United Kingdom
Phone: + 44 (0) 20 7278 2070
A new contemplative centre and meditation retreat to help to make the world more peaceful. In the past 20 years, the World Community for Christian Meditation and Meditatio, its secular outreach, have shown that meditation builds community. Bonnevaux, its new home, is an inspirational opportunity to take this work to the next stage.
Contemplative centres through history have always served as places of peace and reconciliation. A thousand years ago a Benedictine monastery was built in Bonnevaux, near Poitiers in France. On these ancient foundations we are going to develop a contemplative centre for the 21st century.
Bonnevaux will contribute to the peace-building and mutual understanding so much needed in our world now. As a meditation centre with its roots deep in the Christian tradition and yet open to all in an inclusive spirit, it will show the potential of meditation for people of all ages, beliefs and backgrounds to unify minds and heal divided hearts. With its focus on a simple and universal teaching Bonnevaux will deepen the contemplative dimension of Christian life and also bring the fruits of meditation to people of other religious or secular beliefs. A wide range of retreats and events will be shaped to address the needs of participants from diverse cultures.
Bonnevaux is a beautiful site which still retains parts of the original monastery built there in 1119. It is an ideal space, with a spirit of deep peace and beauty, for a contemplative retreat centre attuned to the needs of our time.
Address: West Ogwell, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 6EWW, United Kingdom
Phone: + 44 (0) 16 2633 3613
Gaia House is a silent meditation retreat centre, a sanctuary of contemplative calm set amongst the gentle hills and quiet woodlands of South Devon.
Founded in 1983, we are a registered charity committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual health through meditation.
Through our year-round programme of weekend and week-long group retreats we offer meditation instruction and teachings drawn from a wide variety of Buddhist traditions. Additionally, we cater for long-term solitary meditators and work retreatants.
We warmly welcome all people of every age, ethnicity, cultural heritage and religious background, socio-economic group, ability, sexual orientation and gender identity. To benefit from meditation, all that is needed is an interest in inner exploration and development.
What is the purpose of coming on meditation retreat?
Buddhist meditation retreats are an opportunity to explore and develop serenity, wisdom and compassion through meditation and mindfulness practice in a supportive environment.
All retreats at Gaia House share the common aim of Buddhist contemplative traditions: to free the mind and heart from confusion, self-centredness and anguish. This opportunity allows us to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness that nurtures inner stillness and peace, insight into the nature of our experience and the fostering of emotional resources with which to respond more fully to suffering.
What sort of meditation is taught at Gaia House?
Our retreats are predominantly based in the Buddhist practices of Insight (Vipassana), Loving-kindness (Metta) and Zen meditation. Despite the varieties of meditation practice, all of our Dharma teachers share an aspiration to encourage a continuity of self-awareness and experiential learning.
The teachings and practices offered at Gaia House are founded in the spiritual teachings of the Buddha, who lived 2,500 years ago. Through his own deep interest in life and commitment to discovering freedom he came to a profound realisation of the understanding and practices that ennoble and liberate a human being. What is offered during retreats is the opportunity to experience this ennobling wisdom for ourselves.
“Inner peace is the most solid foundation for world peace.”
– T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Rinpoche
Our experienced team has the character, courage and commitment to solving the world’s greatest challenges. We operate on the ground to facilitate essential research. Conducting large-scale interviews and clarifying risks and opportunities, we create engagement with community leaders to establish sustainable solutions.
Robert Smith entered Wall Street with lessons passed down from four generations of family members who worked in the investment industry before him. Over the course of his career, he managed sales and trading teams at leading financial institutions, and built capital markets and international equities businesses. In 2014, Robert founded ICV to bring together his networks of family offices and institutional investors to evaluate opportunities that create a social impact beyond a financial return. He serves as Business Strategy Advisor to New Frontier Bio, a multi-asset holding company, which leverages the long-term involvement of the Kennedy family in healthcare to identify, finance and develop novel medical technologies from inception through clinical proof of concept. Robert serves as a member of the President’s Advisory Board of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, 16th on U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-2018 Best Hospitals Honor Roll. He serves on the Sustainable Investing Advisory Board of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), which makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Robert is Senior Advisor for Fundraising and Partnerships to the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Carrying on the mission of his family to provide “inspirational and tangible help for young people,” he serves as a board member of the Chaeli Foundation, Childhood Cancer Kids, Children’s Village and Tuesday’s Children. He is Senior Advisor to the Africa Rising Foundation founded by Ndaba and Kweku Mandela, grandsons of Nelson Mandela. Robert is also President and a member of the Board of Directors of The Harmon Foundation, a private foundation established in 1922 by his great, great grandfather, William E. Harmon, who operated the largest real estate company in the world at the turn of the 20th century, created the mortgage and college loans, fueled the Harlem Renaissance and donated to thousands of nonprofits over his lifetime “to bring smiles and tender thoughts to the great in heart in high and low places, and to comfort and cheer those who do exceptional things or suffer.” In 2018, Robert was recognized as one of The 100 Visionary Leaders by Real Leaders Magazine, alongside Bill Gates, Muhammad Yunus, President Juan Santos, Mikhail Gorbachev, Leonardo DiCaprio and many others who are leading us towards a better world. He was also inducted as a member of Evolutionary Leaders, a network of people who feel a sense of urgency about the state of our world and are forging a movement for the conscious evolution of humanity. At the invitation of T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, Robert received the Vajravali cycle, a collection of tantric empowerments and sadhana practices, including the Kalachakra Tantra, one of the most advanced Tantric systems within Tibetan Buddhism, from His Eminence Lama Nyitrul Tulku Rinpoche of the Longchu Monastery in Yushu, Tibet/China.
Shelley Lewis is the Executive Director of the Inner and Outer Peace Fund. Her will to effect positive change and empathic nature have led her to be at the forefront of designing forward-thinking lifestyle brands in publishing, wellness, and the arts with the mission to help people live well for close to two decades. Noted by her contemporaries as the Doyenne of Inner Calm, Shelley is well known for directing community based initiatives in New York City that foster compassion and authentic connection. She is a recognized thought leader in the field of wellness founding healing brand Sacred Space NY as a means to help New Yorker’s find their inner calm and discover practices for inner peace. She is the founder and host of The Equanimity Expert teaching a methodology for living based on wisdom based principles and Stoic Philosophy; mission based publishing company, Chocolate Sauce, devoted to nourishing the inner worlds of children; the Hedonic Lab a reflective laboratory for people pursuing their passion with purpose and is currently launching an empowerment fitness concept for tween girls called Wonder Gal. Her entree into the world of philanthropy came when she was appointed Director of new funding initiatives for a private foundation that worked closely with the National Science Foundation. The Sari Filtration Project in Dhaka Bangladesh for which she was appointed field officer was a trip which changed the trajectory of her life. Through her role she was privy to multiple early stage studies in the fields of neuroscience and mindfulness based stress reduction. Becoming well acquainted with many of the key academics in the field and their research, a particular interest at the cross section of insight and human flourishing led her to a six months teaching program at Teachers College, Columbia University designing socially and emotionally intelligent curriculum for children. She has made appearances on Al Jazeera, BBC News Worldwide, Deepak Chopra’s Sirirus Radio discussing her humanitarian endeavors and was a featured contributor for the social impact section of the Huffington Post. Originally from the UK she moved to London where she received her RSA diplomas at Christies. Once graduating she relocated to New York to continue her career at Christie’s and later on at The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco before her trip to Bangladesh whilst working in conjunction with the National Science Foundation led to the creation of her first entrepreneurial pursuit, an award winning bi-lingual children’s book to help raise money to rebuild schools in Ghazni province Afghanistan. Blending her background in the arts, philanthropy, publishing and wellness, Shelley applies her holistic experience — she is a certified positive psychology coach, crisis counselor, and yoga teacher — with her creative talent and entrepreneurial drive. A quiet force of nature her formidable network of influencers make her well suited to spearhead the development of IOPF and cultivate its vision as a hub for impactful initiatives that help aid world peace by cultivating inner peace. Shelley holds a Master of Arts Degree from University of Glasgow and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.
T.S.Y. Lama Gangchen Tulku Rinpoche is the holder of a long and unbroken lineage of healing lamas and tantric masters. He has a profound knowledge of the interdependent relationship between the body and mind, and has developed the ability to understand the causes and conditions of both mental and physical illness, beyond the mere physical symptoms. Thus, he is able to aid many people overcome and heal their physical and mental problems by helping them to reconnect with their innermost pure-crystal self-healing energy. Born in Drakshu, a small village in western Tibet in 1941, he was recognised at an early age to be a reincarnate lama healer and was enthroned at Gangchen Choepeling Monastery at the age of five. At the age of twelve he received the ‘Kachen’ degree, which is usually conferred after twenty years of study. Between the age of thirteen and eighteen, he studied medicine, astrology, meditation and philosophy in two of the major monastic universities of Tibet: Sera and Tashi Lhunpo. He also studied at Gangchen Gompa, Tropu Gompa and Neytsong Monastery. In 1963, he went into exile to India where he continued his studies for the following seven years at Varanasi Sanskrit University in Benares. In 1970, he received the Geshe Rigram diploma from Sera Monastic University situated in South India. After his graduation, he dedicated his time to the Tibetan communities in Nepal and India where he healed and saved the lives of many people. In Sikkim he was named the private physician to the Royal Family. In 1982, he visited Europe for the first time and in the same year he established his first European centre: Karuna Choetsok in Lesbos, Greece, where he planted a Bodhi tree in the ‘Buddha Garden’ and consecrated what was to become the first in a long line of World Peace Buddha statues, thankas and images. Since then he has travelled extensively – to over 50 countries around the world – both healing and teaching peace, non-formal education and the inner sciences. During these years he has led many pilgrimages throughout the world to some of the most important holy places of the Buddhist tradition but also to the sacred sites of other religious and spiritual denominations. In 1988, he opened his first residential dharma centre outside of Asia: ‘Shide Choe Tsok’ Peace Dharma Centre in Sao Paulo, Brazil and soon after, in 1989, Kunpen Lama Gangchen was established in Milan, Italy. He is now the founder of numerous Dharma centres around the world and in 1992 he instituted the Lama Gangchen World Peace Foundation LGWPF (a UN affiliated NGO). He is also the promoter of the proposal to create a permanent spiritual forum within the United Nations, composed of representatives from all religious movements dedicated to the creation of world peace. Lama Gangchen lives in Albagnano, Italy and is an Italian citizen.
Ven. Lama Nyitrul Rinpoche is one of the great lamas of our time who holds many precious and rare lineages of Sutra and Tantra. He resides at Longchu Monastery in Yushu, Tibet/China. In 2018, he was invited by Lama Gangchen Rinpoche to the Albagnano Healing and Meditation Centre to give the 45 empowerments of the Vajravali cycle. The Vajravali is a compendium of texts of the various tantric deities and rituals. The collection of tantric empowerments and sadhana practices was systemized in the 12th century by Abhayākaragupta (Jigme Jungne Bepa), a Buddhist monk, scholar and tantric master and the abbot of Vikramasila, one of medieval India’s main study and practice centers of tantric Buddhism. The Vajravali is important because it comprises a single harmonized tantric ritual system or Ocean of Mandalas that can be applied to all tantric Buddhist mandalas. The cycle contains empowerments and blessing rituals of various aspects of deities including Kalachakra, Guhyasamaja, Heruka, Yamantaka, Hevajra, Vajrayogini, and the Five Buddha Families.
Lama Michel Rinpoche was born in 1981 in Sao Paulo, Brazil in a Christian-Jewish family. At the age of five his connection with Tibetan Buddhism became evident when he met Lama Gangchen Rinpoche during his first visit to Brazil, organized by his parents. In the following years, Lama Gangchen Rinpoche and other masters recognized Lama Michel as a tulku, a reincarnation of a Tibetan Buddhist lama. Great lamas like Zopa Rinpoche, Dagyab Rinpoche and Ghelek Rinpoche have confirmed that Lama Michel is the reincarnation of Drubchok Gyawal Sandrup, a Lama of Gangchen Chöpel Ling, a monastery in Tibet. During the fifteenth century at the time of the first Dalai Lama and the beginning of Lama Tsong Khapa’s Gelugpa school, Panchen Zangpo Tashi, one of Lama Gangchen’s incarnations, founded Gangchen Chöpel Ling monastery. His successor, the second regent of the throne, was Drubchok Gyawal Sandrup, a great yogi and master who gave many philosophical teachings. At the age of twelve, Lama Michel decided spontaneously to abandon a ‘normal’ life to undertake a monastic life in southern India. He went to live at Sera Me Monastery – a monastic university with four thousand monks – and for twelve years he received the traditional training that is provided to lamas. Since 2004 he lives in Italy with his master Lama Gangchen Rinpoche. From 2006 up to 2015 Lama Michel spent two months a year studying at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet, under the guidance of the abbot, Kachen Losang Puntsok Rinpoche, one of the main living masters of Tibet. He studied philosophy, tantra, medicine and astrology, and completed his training in Buddhist Philosophy, meditation practices, Lam Rim, Lo Djong and Vajrayana. His Tibetan name is Chang Chub Chopel Lobsang Nyetrab, which means ‘Wise and Famous Mind of Enlightenment which Spreads Dharma Successfully’. From an early age, Lama Michel has travelled the world with Lama Gangchen Rinpoche giving speeches and teachings to his friends and disciples in a very loving and kind way. Nowadays Lama Michel dedicates his life to sharing his knowledge and experience worldwide in all kinds of formal and informal contexts such as conferences, speeches, teachings, retreats, in schools and universities, through social media etc. With his clarity, compassion and wisdom he shares the profound and vast Buddhist philosophy in an excellent way, perfectly adapted to the needs of people in our contemporary society. Lama Michel guides various Buddhist Centres worldwide, such as Centro de Dharma da Paz in Brazil and Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre in Italy.
Lama Caroline, Dorje Khanyen Lhamo, was born in England in 1965. As a child she was fascinated by science and space exploration. Whilst studying Physics at the University of London, she began to feel that the scientific approach to reality was too external and conceptual and she became interested in Buddhist meditation and philosophy to experientially explore inner space. From 1986 to 1991 she studied Kadampa Buddhism in Cumbria, England, with Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and his close disciples. In 1988 she was recognized by the World Peace Protector as the physical basis of Dorje Khanyen Lhamo (The Goddess Who Upholds and Transmits the Vajra Speech of the Buddha). Then in 1991 she met her principal spiritual master, Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, and, impressed by his modern and open approach to spirituality, began to study and collaborate with him. Since then she has accompanied him on numerous teaching tours and pilgrimages worldwide, promoting the NgalSo Tantric Self-Healing methods, non-formal education and inter-religious dialogue. In 2000, in Tibet, she was recognized by Lama Gangchen Rinpoche as a lama and as a lineage holder of the NgalSo teachings. She has a diploma in Inter-religious Studies from the Open University (UK), an MA (with merit) in Buddhist studies from the University of Sunderland (UK). Her thesis focused on the study of the Borobudur stupa -mandala of Central Java. She has studied Tibetan and Sanskrit translation intensively at ITAS (The Institute of Tibetan and Asian Studies, Spain). Lama Caroline has helped Lama Gangchen Rinpoche with writing all his books. Amongst other projects, she is presently editing the Lama Gangchen Sungrab Ngelso Gyatso – the collected works of Lama Gangchen that form the basis of the NgalSo tradition. Over the years she has participated in numerous meditation retreats. She teaches worldwide on Buddhist philosophy, tantra, medicine, yoga and astrology.
H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji‘s motto in life is, “In the Service of God and humanity.” Selflessly dedicated to the welfare of all, He leads, directs and inspires numerous large-scale initiatives that are touching the lives of countless people across India and around the world. Touched by the hand of God at the tender age of eight, Pujya Swamiji left His home to live a life devoted to God and humanity, spending His youth in silence, meditation and austerities high in the Himalayas. At the age of seventeen, after nine years of unbroken, intense spiritual practice, He returned from the forest under the direction of His guru, and obtained an academic education to parallel His spiritual one. Today, Pujya Swamiji’s religion is unity, and he has been a leader in numerous international, interfaith events, summits and parliaments, including at the United Nations, the Vatican, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the House of Commons, the Parliament of World’s Religions, Religions for Peace, KAICIID, the Hindu-Jewish Summit in Jerusalem, and countless others. Pujya Swamiji is also the Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) India, the world’s first international initiative which brings together the world’s faiths as allies in helping to ensure every person around the world has access to healthy, life-sustaining Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); the India Heritage Research Foundation (IHRF), an international, non-profit foundation which is known for humanitarian activities, as well as intellectual endeavors, such as the publication of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism, as well as free education, medical services, ashrams in the sacred land of Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash in Tibet, and morel; the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), which draws countless people every year to Rishikesh, India, the birthplace of yoga; the world’s-first Hindu-Jain temple, located in Pittsburgh, and the Minto Shiva temple in Sydney Australia. Pujya Swamiji has also played crucial roles in the founding of innumerable other temples and Indian cultural centres around the world. Pujya Swamiji is also on the Board of Trustees of the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI), set up by the Government of India in 2008 as a not-for-profit Trust to facilitate Overseas Indian philanthropy into social and development projects in India. He furthermore serves on the Advisory Board of KAICIID (King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue), which is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate is to promote globally the use of dialogue to prevent and resolve conflict, and to enhance understanding and cooperation among different cultures and religions. Pujya Swamiji is the recipient of innumerable awards, including: the World Peace Ambassador Award, Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award, Hindu of the Year Award, the Lions Club Prominent Personality Award, Best Citizens of India Award, the Uttaranchal Ratan Award, and many more. However, Pujya Swamiji seems unaffected by this incredible list of accomplishments and remains a pious child of God, owning nothing, draped in saffron robes, living a life of true renunciation. His days in Rishikesh are spent offering service to those around him. Thousands travel from across the globe simply to sit in His presence, to receive His “darshan.” He also travels the world, bringing the light of wisdom, inspiration, upliftment and the divine touch to countless souls.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to come and live permanently at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there since, engaged in spiritual study, practice, and service. She was officially initiated into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in the year 2000, by her Guru, His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. Sadhviji is a renowned speaker who gives keynote addresses at large forums, on a wide variety of topics ranging from conscious business to science and spirituality to sustainable development to the keys of happiness and peace in life to all aspects of yoga. She has also been a featured speaker at the United Nations, Parliament of World Religions and many international conferences and summits. Her talks blend the knowledge and logic of the West with the insights, spirituality and wisdom of the East, and she is renowned as a spiritual bridge between the two cultures. At Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, where she lives most of the year, she teaches meditation, gives spiritual discourses and daily satsang, provides counseling and oversees myriad charitable and humanitarian projects and activities. Sadhviji is also: President of Divine Shakti Foundation, a foundation dedicated to bringing education and empowerment to women and children which runs free schools, vocational training programs and empowerment programs. Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, an international interfaith organization dedicated to bringing clean water, sanitation & hygiene to the children of the world. Director of the annual world-famous International Yoga Festival at Parmarth which has been covered in Time Magazine, CNN, New York Times, Le Monde and other prestigious publications. Sadhviji has a Ph.D in Psychology and was the Managing Editor for the monumental project of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism.
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“While outer conditions certainly exert a great influence on our well-being. It is the mind that allows for the flourishing of genuine happiness.”
– Matthieu Ricard