Ani Yeshé Lamo: a life dedicated to others

- through Fabrice Groult

Published on

Benevolent wisdom for an extraordinary destiny. Born in Poland and raised in the Catholic faith, Ani Yeshé Lamo left her country in the midst of a cultural exodus in the 80s. In France, where her three daughters grew up, she launched herself into the wine business. His meeting with the Tibetan master Tenga Rinpoche marks a turning point. She took her vows as a nun in Nepal in 2008 and, since 2011, has been in charge of the Mahamudra Ling retreat center in Orne. A place of peace, in the middle of nature, ideal for cultivating compassion.

In her nun's robe, Ani Yeshé Lamo sits in the shade of a parasol, in the peaceful garden of Mahamudra Ling, in the heart of the Perche countryside. Behind a tree trunk, a Buddha resting on a rock meditates peacefully. “Catholicism taught me spirituality. Without this base, I wouldn't be a nun today,” she reveals, rolling her “r's” slightly. Ani was born in Poland in 1960. As a child, she went to church every week and took catechism until university. “Without being in extreme devotion, I started to train my mind when I was a child. »

After studying Polish literature, she left her country. “In the 80s, you couldn't write or publish books in my country,” she recalls. She moved to France with her three daughters. After a wine and spirits business school in Bordeaux, she studied at the faculty of oenology. With her university degree in wine tasting skills in her pocket, she worked for a large merchant, whom she represented in her native country.

Thanks to friends, disciples of Tenga Rinpoche, she then encountered Buddhism. “They all told me that their meeting with the Tibetan master had completely changed their lives”.

In 2005, in Poland, she took the opportunity to follow the Kalachakra initiation for five days, and decided to take refuge. She receives the name of Yeshé Lamo, "goddess of primordial wisdom". “The name received indicates our predispositions”. Back in Paris, for two years, Yeshé Lamo studied Buddhist philosophy and read a number of books to understand the teachings of his master. "One time I bought so many books that I couldn't carry any more," she recalls, mimicking two heavy bags being lifted in her hands.

A nun in the footsteps of the Buddha

It is by studying the book Bodhicaryvatra: Walk to Awakening de Shantideva the idea of ​​becoming a nun emerges in her. After convincing Tenga Rinpoche that it was a well-considered decision, he gave him his first vows in 2007. Then began his pilgrimage to India in the footsteps of the Buddha. Ani – "nun" in Tibetan – Yeshé Lamo went to Bodhgaya in December of the same year, before joining the Nepalese monastery Benchen, in Kathmandu, where, during a second ceremony, she took new vows, presence of five fully ordained monks as witnesses. For six months, she lived in the monastery with her master. “Being at the source, rubbing shoulders with novices aged six and religious in their nineties. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. Everything I had read before made sense there.

“To welcome is to use compassion at all times. At some point, we don't even need an object of compassion anymore, because it becomes our state of mind. »

His stay in India ends, after having accompanied Tenga Tinpoche to Dharamsala, near the Karmapa. Back in Europe. In September 2011, Lama Gyourme offers her to take care of Mahamudra Ling and she meets the venerable Khandro Rinpoche at the Parisian temple of Kagyu Dzong. “Since then, I now see her every year,” rejoices the nun.

“I feel the same joy as when I was six years old. »

A few rays of sunlight, filtering through the branches, caress her face. “I consider the light a blessing. It's a chance to be here,” rejoices the nun, for whom contact with nature has always been essential. “I feel the same joy as when I was six years old, when the priest told us that the good Lord was everywhere, even in the flowers”. A robin struts around the corner of the house. “Look how pretty he is,” she says with a big smile.

A woman passes by and greets Ani. She is coming out of a one-week internship at the retreat center, in the company of a Qigong group. “Goodbye, good health,” Ani replies warmly.

“Very different people come here. To welcome is to use compassion at all times. At some point, we don't even need an object of compassion anymore, because it becomes our state of mind”.

A memory resurfaces. “When I started out as a nun, I met a lady who cried a lot. Feeling her pain, I promised to pray for her. She gave me a hopeful smile,” she says, tears in her eyes. “It persuaded me to continue on the path of prayers”.

Back to the roots, from Warsaw to the Siberian steppes

A way of life that she shares with her family. Her eldest daughter, Michaela, and her granddaughter, Amber, came to help her during the holidays. "They are not Buddhists, but they are good people," says Ani. His family, his roots. "It is in this place that the puzzle of my life is recomposed", she reveals. Because it was only recently that she discovered her story. After the death of her father, her mother announced to her that she had been adopted. Following this revelation, she traveled to Warsaw, where she was reunited with her biological family. Her parents, her brother now a doctor, her grandparents, but also the nun who had found her in front of a church when she was only eight days old. “Meeting this woman was overwhelming. We stayed in contact for two years, until his death. »

This return to basics allowed him to trace his origins back to the shamanic nomadic tribes of Siberia. “Would my well-being in nature come from there? she wonders. Echoing this distant past, moved, she recounts her recent archaeological discoveries in the woods, near Mahamudra Ling. Cut stones from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic, more precisely from 550000 to 5000 BC: "A gift from the universe", she says. A light breeze blows between the leaves. The silence is barely disturbed by the light click of the wooden chime, tickled by the wind. Here, serenity is palpable at all times.

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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