How was this festival born?
This festival was launched in 1999, with the aim of raising public awareness of the gradual disappearance of Tibetan culture, but also with the aim of raising funds to finance the House of Tibet (1), created in 1991 by the Dalai Lama. We quickly realized that this festival was very well attended. At each edition, depending on the weather and the quality of the programme, we welcome on average between 5000 and 7000 spectators during the weekend. This attendance allows us to achieve our goal, namely to promote and preserve our culture.
Tibetan culture is threatened with extinction in Tibet itself. Can you expand?
To begin with, it should be remembered that the teachings of Buddhism, in particular the notions of peace and non-violence are strongly anchored in popular tradition. However, for decades, Tibetans have been subjected to the atrocities of the Chinese government which refuses them, among other prohibitions, to speak their own language. In some areas, monks are not allowed to practice their spirituality either.
The situation is very complicated: the position of the Tibetan authorities in exile in Dharamsala, India, is to say that we must continue to work with Beijing to find a common solution to this problem. However, currently, the Chinese authorities deny the Dalai Lama any possibility of discussing it. It is therefore up to the Tibetan diaspora to do everything possible to ensure that this culture does not disappear.
How to define the culture of the roof of the world?
I believe that it can be summed up by showing the importance given to human values and qualities such as compassion, benevolence, generosity, altruism, but also the place of humanism, ethics, education, the care we take of each living being and the fact that this culture concerns all human beings, not only the peoples of the Himalayas, is a universal value that transcends cultural particularities. Kindness is the essential foundation of the Dalai Lama's philosophy.
What is special about this 19th edition?
This year, we are emphasizing the cultural identity of Tibet through the three main commitments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: the first concerns the protection of the Buddhist tradition (peace, non-violence, defense of the environment natural from the Himalayas); the second evokes the necessary dialogue between the great religions of the world and the spiritual traditions; the last deals with the universal values that constitute what is called secular ethics.
“This festival is one of human connection. »
Throughout the weekend, we will therefore be offering conferences on these themes and practical workshops on yoga and meditation, so that people can discover these notions in a playful, bodily way, and not only through abstract speeches.
The festival opens on June 14 with the Free Tibet evening, with concerts of current, non-traditional music. Why this choice ?
We found it interesting to address the younger generations through the bands they listen to, regardless of their origins. The artists responded immediately present. They are aware of the Tibetan cause, in particular the headliner Highlight Tribe who rubs shoulders with the Tibetan diaspora and defends its values. The rest of the weekend, spectators will be able to admire traditional dances and songs by the Tibetan Community of France troupe, among other entertainment.
What is the place of Buddhism in this event?
For the most initiated, we have invited the Buddhism specialist Philippe Cornu who will lead, on Sunday (15 p.m. to 16:30 p.m.), a workshop on "Death and the bardos, mirror of life" then the Venerable Geshe Tendhar who will then give (16:40 p.m. at 18 p.m.) a lecture entitled “The practice of meditation and Semjong – training the mind”.
A highlight of this weekend?
I think it's above all the atmosphere of this festival, its authentic side and its friendly, playful approach. The general public mixes with Tibetans, all generations meet, many come with their families…. The state of mind is jovial, good-natured, like the famous Tibetan rounds that bring together spectators every year. This festival is that of the human bond