Jeanne Mascolo de Filippis: she made her way in the Himalayan valleys

- through Francois Leclercq

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Director and author, Jeanne Mascolo de Filippis has to her credit some forty documentaries, many of which are set in the Himalayas. His latest film, The Childhood of a Master, which recounts the extraordinary destiny of Kalu Rinpoche, was released last fall, at the same time as his biography of Alexandra David-Neel.

It was in 1977, at the age of 25, that Jeanne Mascolo de Filippis undertook her first great trip, "by road hitchhiking, from the Porte d'Orléans to the Himalayas, in the company of a friend ". Ten years after reading a Parisienne in Lhasa. A trip that, she says, transformed her life. In Dharamsala, she meets Tibetans in exile. Back in France, she became a guide for organized trips. His first trip, in 1978 with Nouvelles Frontières, took place in Ladakh. " I was fascinated by this region of northern India, by its lunar landscapes with its stylized chortens “, she confides. For ten years, she traveled the Himalayan valleys, from Ladakh to Nepal and Tibet via India, Sikkim and Bhutan. In the mid-1980s, she enrolled in O Languages, took Tibetan lessons for two years and thus learned to better understand the culture of the roof of the world. Initially a consultant for television film crews, she then became an assistant director and then a director.

His first documentary, in 1992, devoted to Alexandra David-Neel, won eight international awards. She has since directed some forty documentaries, including animal films shot in the Himalayas, several others in and about Bhutan, and portraits, including one devoted to Matthieu Ricard, and another to Edgar Morin.

A Buddhist at heart

It was in 1977, in Dharamsala, India, that she encountered Buddhism for the first time. In 1978 in Zanskar, she then attended an extraordinary gathering, as if out of a dream. "The teaching of the Kalachakra given by the Dalai Lama, in the immense plain of Padum, marked me forever, both because of the fervor of a population coming from all the surrounding valleys and by these encounters experienced at 3600 meters above sea level in an extraordinary lunar landscape », she points out. A bewitching atmosphere that contributed to his "conversion" to this art of living.

“The principles of Buddhism have comforted me in my intuitive life choices: to chart my own course, in an altruistic way, being aware that we are solely responsible for our actions. »

Jeanne Mascolo de Filippis calls herself first and foremost a “Buddhist at heart”. She sometimes attends lessons according to events and her encounters. The school of nygmapas is the one that attracts her the most, and her meeting with Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, the former master of Matthieu Ricard, one of the most beautiful that she has ever had.

"At my humble level, I practice meditation as often as possible, this training, this gymnastics of the mind as one trains one's body, from what my friend transmitted to me Matthieu Ricard : « do not underestimate the capacity of his mind”.

Attracted by this science of the mind, she says she resorts to it at every moment of doubt, every anxiety related to everyday life, drawing from texts and books explanations, words that answer her questions, and bring her calm. and, gradually, the transformation of the spirit. “The principles of Buddhism help me to live. They comforted me in my intuitive life choices: charting my own path, self-taught, altruistically, being aware that we are solely responsible for our actions, and without being deceived by appearances”

photo of author

Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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