Florent Massot: a publisher who changes the world

- through Henry Oudin

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Publisher to the Dalai Lama, he directed his life and his publishing house towards a greater ecological, spiritual and political commitment.

How did you meet the Dalai Lama?

I met Sofia Stril-Rever who had written his spiritual biography with the Dalai Lama. We decided during a conversation to contact the Dalai Lama to ask him to speak on Buddhism and ecology. So we wrote to his secretary who replied that he would not be free for six years. Sofia maintained that the door was not closed and that we could have other opportunities. Then he came to Europe for a tour, and there, surprise, we received a letter saying that the Dalai Lama was ready to receive us two weeks later in England. It was September 2015. So we met him in a living room at Oxford University. We filmed this interview. We knew we were going to live a founding moment. I was really impressed! There was a powerful vibrational energy emanating from him. Its radiance touched me so deeply that it seemed to go into each of my cells. Sofia had warned me that with the Dalai Lama, there were always a lot of unexpected things. It is in this that he is a great visionary character, because he can say things that we will not understand right away, but whose significance we grasp over time. That day, he began the interview by immediately arguing that the man was working towards his own destruction: “We are in a new reality. We are entering an era where humanity can disappear. Or not…” I was gripped by his first words, because they revealed that nothing would ever be the same again.

What are the teachings of the Dalai Lama that particularly affect you?

The spiritual and political dimension of his teachings. He affirms that if we do not do inner work, if we are not centered, our actions are useless. Without this alignment, even with the best will in the world, stocks fall apart. These words “to be the change we want to see in the world” immediately resonated enormously in my daily life. One cannot be an ecologist without having one's own ecology.

“Through my editorial choices, I have always sought to offer crossroads and other paths to society. When I realized that this world could not continue as it is, that society was in crisis, I wanted my editorial choices to accompany this change. »

My meeting with the Dalai Lama validated the path I had embarked on. I was already a vegetarian for years, I did yoga and meditation, so I had already done all the inner work, but I needed to validate it. This interview in Oxford allowed me to understand that I was on the right path.

What surprised you the most during your interviews with the Dalai Lama?

He immediately knows how to relax the atmosphere. He has this gift of putting people at ease right away. He is aware that some people have sometimes traveled thousands of kilometers to come and see him. He touches their arm, says a thoughtful word to them, or makes a joke about their hairstyle. When he came to Paris for the press conference in September 2016 when we launched the book New reality, he thought the atmosphere was too formal. So he took a handkerchief, put it on his head and kept talking. He immediately lightened the mood by descending from his pedestal…

Which principles of the Buddhist teaching transmitted by the Dalai Lama do you think are the most important for our time?

Interdependence. Highlight the fact that we are all interdependent and connected. Quantum physics goes in the same direction as Buddhism. Scientists reveal that in the subatomic world, that is to say, that which is smaller than the atom, all the particles that meet remain connected at a distance. The people we meet every day therefore continue to be connected with us. This point of Buddhism really carries me in my job as a publisher for the choices of the books that I launch in the world

You have created six publishing houses, but the latest, Massot Éditions, seems more politically and spiritually committed than the previous ones. Why this direction?

Through my editorial choices, I have always sought to suggest crossroads and other paths to society. When I realized that this world could not continue as it is, that society was in crisis, I wanted my editorial choices to accompany this change. I aspire to unite all the plans. There will be no feminism without ecology, no ecology without more equality. There will be no more equality without spirituality. No spirituality without feminism. In Buddhism, for example, if we want to move towards greater equality, we will have to turn more towards women. Everything is connected.

You also lead the collection Secret Adventures at J'ai lu, what is your main criterion for choosing books?

Many religions, philosophies, scientific currents say the same thing, but with different vocabularies. I try to be a bridge between the different universes by showing that we are all going in the same direction: there is a field of consciousness and life is not limited to our material world. There is also an invisible world.

You have just published a Karmapa book. He is thirty-four years old; is his message and his way of conveying more impactful with young people than the Dalai Lama?

In a very schematic way: the Karmapa is the guarantor of meditation while the Dalai Lama is that of the texts, of the teachings. They belong to different lineages and each have a specific vocation.

The Karmapa is also the guardian of the Buddha's mind. In a time when people are meditating more and more, its role is essential. The book I am publishing is called interconnected. From the title, we understand that it addresses subjects at the heart of our civilization. In addition, he is part of the 2.0 generation, so he uses the internet. His knowledge of technology brings something more to Buddhism.

The Dalai Lama is in contact with the greatest scientists in the world and does not hesitate to question himself if necessary. He said, for example, that if science showed that the Buddhist texts were wrong, he would not hesitate to correct them. But he is not in the connected generation, which is why the Karmapa is closer to our issues. Thanks to the internet, reality has grown. It's a balancing act. Buddhists must therefore also reinvent themselves, grappling with this new reality.

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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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