Davina: from television to the monastic habit, life is a dance

- through Henry Oudin

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Interview with Davina, star of the small screen with Véronique in the 80s on the show Gym Tonic. Having become a Gelugpa nun, she now trains the bodies and minds of her disciples and teaches how to live according to the philosophy of the Buddha.

How did you discover Buddhism?

I discovered it at the cradle thanks to my mother, she was my first and my main spiritual teacher. What she engraved in my heart and my mind has never left me. The meeting with the Dalai Lama was then decisive. I went to see him to write an article about him. I was with all the other journalists, sitting in the front row. When he walked in, I was the first person he shook hands with. I immediately felt something very special, it's indefinable. Some time later, I decided to become a nun. That handshake and that look changed my life.

You say you felt the desire to be a nun from the age of ten, but you turned to dancing. Is dancing another way to pray?

I wanted to be a Catholic nun, but my mother, who was very artistic, took me to classical dance, a kind of priesthood, entry into religion. Dance is a prayer, a sacred offering of her body. By the efforts and the beauty of the gesture, we perceive a little of infinity. In Buddhism, the body is a vehicle that should not take up much space. All beings are attached to their bodies, but because of that, we identify with them and we come back to the eternal problem of the ego. The body must nevertheless be cared for. I teach yoga, but for me, yoga goes beyond the word yoga: it is the link between body and mind.

Davina: from television to the monastic habit, life is a dance
Davina: from television to the monastic habit, life is a dance

What tradition do you belong to?

Gelugpa, the order of the Dalai Lama. I made this choice because it was for me the most rigorous.

What are your practices?

Essentially prayer practices. I dedicated my spiritual commitment to the sick and the dead. I pray for them every day. I have spiritual responsibility for this monastery and the five nuns who live there. It is not a traditional party, there is no office where we meet every day, because I believe that it is an individual responsibility to take charge. From indications given to them, the nuns choose the hour and the time of their practice. We meet once a week to do traditional practices together. In the morning when I get up, I have a ritual that dates back to my childhood: starting the day by thanking the energy of life and ending it the same way. So I start my day with this taking refuge, which consists of placing myself in a divine consciousness, in the pure nature of the Buddha. In the absolute is the refuge. Then I meditate one hour per session, that is to say per practice time: in the morning before breakfast, in the afternoon, then before bedtime.

How does Buddhism help you overcome trials in your life, such as the illness or death of a child?

When we deeply study the teachings of the Buddha and apply them in our life, we realize that the difficulties come in a natural way just to allow us to evolve. If we never encountered difficulties, we could not evolve. It all comes down to one thing: how do we react to events? We can die of despair or enter into a form of acceptance since nothing happens by chance. Everything that happens to us is part of the meaning of our life. As long as life is there, there is something to do and enjoy.

"Life is like a song, a dance, a symphony provided that the musical note that we are is not discordant with the universal symphony. »

For me, the meaning of everything comes from the heart. Love in its nobility. I have just gone through a serious illness, ophthalmic shingles, which forced me to lie in the dark for two months, struggling with enormous pain. Nevertheless, I could feel this love. I couldn't do anything, read or get up on my own. I experienced it as a long time of meditation. This disease was an initiation. All the things in my life came back to me, the mistakes, the anger, mine and those of others, and I did a job of forgiveness. I then discovered how much forgiveness was a healing element of life. Forgiveness to oneself, to the elements of life that one has not supported, and forgiveness to others.

Why do you think Buddhism is above all a way of being?

The Buddha spoke of the human values ​​that a being could cultivate in order to be able to transcend these values ​​to be only unity. When we enter the path of the Buddha, we really have to study because there are many hints and markers that can help us. This is one of the reasons why more and more people are turning to Buddhism. It's available! It is a teaching that one can, that one must put into activity in oneself, every day. Our time, very difficult, particularly needs it, like each of us to find spiritual landmarks. There is no half way, because daily life is a constant teaching ground. We meet masters all the time through people and circumstances.

Are you empowered to perform rituals?

I can practice all the rituals, because I have taken all the vows. I wanted to receive full ordination, which is denied to women in Tibetan Buddhism. I received them in the middle of all the Buddhist denominations with the monks who represented them. However, even with full ordination, one must have permission and transmission from a master to perform the rituals.

What is the place of women in Buddhism?

We are gradually trying to make room for women in Buddhism, but it is not yet recognized. In Tibet, the nuns do not receive teaching, because they are women. They nevertheless aspire to become nuns so they are put in monasteries, where they live in great destitution.

What is the translation of Gelek Drölka, your nun's name?

White Tara. Tara means "Star", but it is also one of the feminine representations of a Buddha. It is the feminine principle of the spiritual essence of a Buddha. White Tara is synonymous with peace and long life.

What is the place of a medium like ours?

Our time is thirsty for spirituality, it aspires to the recognition of what it really is. What will only remain is what is in harmony with the universal whole. If we aspire to carry the voice of this whole, even with a very small voice, then it counts.

What is the most important value that guides your life?

Authenticity. To go through this life constantly seeking to improve myself. Understand life, self and others. Accept the difficulties, take them for masters. Have a lot of humility. For me, the meaning of life is humility and authenticity. But the basis of it all is love. Unconditional love. Life is like a song, a dance, a symphony provided that the musical note that we are is not discordant with the universal symphony. I aspire to serve the energy of life by being beneficial to all. Of course, I don't always succeed, but that's the star I'm aiming for.

photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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