Peace celebrated in the Normandy meadows

- through Henry Oudin

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Mongolian songs, Japanese swords, conferences on science or spirituality... On June 8 and 9, the Vajradhara Ling center in Aubry-le-Panthou (Orne) hosted its first Festival for Peace. A look back at this event of sharing and discovery before the new Parisian edition, in the Bois de Vincennes, from August 30 to September 1.

Lama Pema pours semolina into a basin, before placing fir branches on the flames of the barbecue. The smoke offering ceremony can begin in the courtyard of the Vajradhara Ling center in Aubry le Panthou. Intended for all living beings, it is intended to purify past, present and future events. Then, while the Venerable Lama Gyurmé, in traditional Tibetan dress, chants mantras, sheltered under an umbrella, the spectators are invited to place offerings of food in the fire.

The first Festival for Peace in Normandy is thus launched. Isabelle's voice, in charge of presenting the weekend's events and interventions, invites the public to join the various activities. Inside the stupa, Nathalie Eno begins her intervention on reiki, under the gaze of the great Buddha, on her left. “The patient must take part in their healing process, which is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Reiki never replaces medical treatments, it accompanies them”, explains the practitioner, who warns against the training offered on the internet.

Emptiness, “proliferation of possibilities”

A little further on, in the temple, Laurent Nottale begins his lecture on science and Buddhism. The astrophysicist compares the great principles of the Buddha with those of physics. First, the law of impermanence: “Everything is transformed. Even space changes over time,” he explains. Then he discusses the law of karma, which teaches that every action has an effect. “In physics, we consider that any change over time depends on an initial action. And, finally, that on emptiness: Buddhism affirms the absence of proper existence of all things. It refers to the principle of relativity – of position or speed – demonstrated by Galileo and Einstein. It is also the basis of particle physics initiated by Richard Feynman, who proved the compound character of the elements. " There emptiness, it's the abundance of possibilities: each object is infinite,” says Laurent Nottale.

“Vacuity is the abundance of possibilities: each object is infinite. Laurent Nottale.

After a lunch of dhal with coral lentils, return to the stupa, where Christophe Richard, professor of philosophy in Caen, puts the point on the "i" by specifying that this question only arises in the West: "Buddhism is it a religion or a philosophy? ". The teacher reminds us that in Buddhism there are priests, rituals, temples... And, he adds, "if the word religion bothers you so much, you can talk about spirituality, but that comes back the same. The next day, he talks about the benefits of this spirituality in daily life: “There is a temple in every living being, he explains. The important thing is to get back to basics, to connect and open up to others”.

Mantras in the rain, meditating children

Saturday ends with a concert, below the monastery. While Lama Gyourme and the composer Jean-Philippe Rykiel reach, by a wooden footbridge, the small islet in the middle of a pond surrounded by willows, 70 spectators sit on chairs or in the grass on the slope. Behind the cypresses that delimit the area, cows graze quietly in the meadow. The voice of Lama Gyourmé rises, echoing Tibetan mantras, accompanied by the ringing of his bells. Jean-Philippe Rykiel's fingers dance on the keyboard. A smile lights up his face. A heavy downpour disrupts the show. "It's a shower of blessings," exclaims the composer, referring to the name of an album by the duo. The song of the birds, which seems to be an integral part of the music, greets the return of the sun to conclude this day.

In the afternoon, some join the intervention of Pierre Bourges on the techniques of concentration of the spirit. Meanwhile, in front of the stupa, others follow a Japanese sword demonstration.

Sunday morning, smooth start. Sylvie Gamo, a researcher in educational psychology at the University of Strasbourg, offers meditation to children in the temple. They are accompanied by adults. Feet slightly apart, knees unlocked, they begin by concentrating on the breath, inhaling then exhaling raising and bending their arms, and then placing their hands on their hips. Then they begin a meditation with visualizations that relate to nature. Successful experience. Chloe, 13, says she “felt relaxed hearing the water” in her head. Emmanuelle, who accompanied her children, felt “an ease to relax”. Like many visitors, she came out of curiosity. Others, like Eric, already knew the place: "I took a three-day retreat there and I came for the Dalai Lama's visit in 2008. It's a very quiet place that allows you to internalize “, recognizes the 55-year-old man, originally from Eure.

Journey from Japan to Mongolia

The Festival for Peace adapts to different audiences. In the afternoon, some join the intervention of Pierre Bourges on the techniques of concentration of the spirit. Meanwhile, in front of the stupa, others follow a demonstration of the Japanese sword, by adepts from Caen and Alençon. “It is a very codified practice, which involves stripping and work on the body and spirituality,” explains sensei (teacher) Chantal Macarez, 67.

The return of the drops does not prevent festival-goers from then descending to the islet, to listen to the "echo of the steppes" of the female duo Yesun. Catchy and captivating Mongolian songs and melodies on the fiddle (Morin khuur) or lute (Tovchuur). An epic, a peaceful walk in Western Mongolia, a festive song to dance in the yurt imitating the eagle or the steps of the horse... Several spectators clap their hands to close this festival in rhythm

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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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