Lama Düdul Dorje: “Tantrism, a way of transformation. »

- through Fabrice Groult

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Lama enthroned in the Tibetan lineage Drikung Kagyü, whose center he runs in Paris, Bernard Ortega, who received the name of Düdul Dorje by his Eminence Togdan Rinpoche, in Ladakh, is also a tantric master. He explains to us this arduous path of Tibetan Buddhism and offers us other simpler paths towards the opening of the heart.

Tantrism is fashionable. Why is this and how is it defined in Vajrayana Buddhism?

In the collective imagination, Tantrism is a way of sexual fulfillment embodied by the Yab Yum, these statues of entwined couples which so shocked Christians at the time of their discovery. Today, a large number of men and women are being fooled by the promise of patching themselves up thanks to the tantrism supposed to awaken their libido. They often confuse it with the Kamasutra, this Hindu collection of advice for married life. It's a gross illusion! The Yab Yum actually symbolizes unity, which is the opposite of duality, which separates us from each other. Tantrism is a path of radical transformation, which leads to total non-duality. It is the highest step towards absolute compassion. Tantrism is associated with a very powerful vital energy. But when this energy – kundalini – is stripped of its spiritual dimension, it is perverted. If sexuality does exist in Tantrism as a practice of meditation, it is so complex and powerful that it is only accessible to rare highly confirmed practitioners.

How did you come to tantrism?

It was not I who went to Tantrism, but he who came to me. I had the chance to meet the greatest masters of Tibetan Buddhism and to receive a number of initiations and teachings – more than fifty – essential to this spiritual awakening. What is an initiation? It is a ritual that deposits in us the imprint of the deities. As an ordinary being, I can't help many people. By receiving the initiation, I transform myself symbolically into this divinity; I acquire the possibility of manifesting its qualities in order to develop my ability to help beings no longer identify with their suffering. When I recite a million mantras of Vajrapani - one of the eight great bodhisattvas of Tantric Buddhism considered the protector of protectors - I do not do so with the idea of ​​a personal challenge or a performance aimed at strengthening my ego, but with the motivation to achieve this absolute compassion, to help all beings, even if it is very difficult. Tantrism is not a "trick" for dilettantes, it is a path of transformation that requires the right motivation, time, knowledge and practice.

Is it precisely because tantrism is difficult that you propose other practices leading to enlightenment?

I think that in our impatient world, trying to achieve enlightenment is often a very intellectual chimera. Most people confuse "knowing" with "being". It is not by informing oneself with a click to know the definition of an Awakened that one becomes one. If one wants to help others, one must first be genuine and open rather than setting the goal of becoming a ritualistic Buddhist. There is, beforehand, nothing to understand, there is to feel. Hence the interest of proposing practices that allow you to see more clearly in yourself, to soothe your disturbing emotions and to open your heart. Like the meditation on soft breaths (Tsa loungs) or the recitation of the Buddha's mantra of compassion, Chenrezi, which embodies benevolent energy and softens our mind. I also practice Dzogchen a lot, based on our energies related to the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) because it invites us to work with our own condition, that is- that is to say with his body, his breathing and his energy. We let go of the mind.

Is Dzogchen specific to your Drikung Kagyü school of Buddhism?

No, Dzogchen exists in all schools. Namkai Norbu was a very great Dzock Chen master, and he thanked me when I told him that I was teaching these practices in my center. The Buddha is said to have translated 84 teachings for 000 different minds. This means that, as a teacher, you have to be flexible and listen to everyone! This teaching from which I am inspired can be practiced by all beings when they aspire in all sincerity to know themselves better and to manage their emotions. There is no dogma and that's what I appreciate. Dzogchen means "the mirror", this object which shows things as they are, stripped of the projections that we make. We don't make movies. There are people who are driven away by practice because they have cheated themselves; the mirror frightens them. Those who adhere to it are ready for this work of truth, a prelude to rebalancing their energies.

But then what characterizes the Drikung Kagyü?

Kagyü means voice, resonance, speech. Our school attached to the Kagyupa lineage offers a clear and direct spiritual path where mantras (power of sound) are important; I also propose to discover and practice therapeutic mantras, one hundred in number – it can really relieve, but it's constant work, we are not in Lourdes! Meditation is also very present and above all “accessible”. Like the work on “milam” the yoga of dreams.

“If you don't have the chance to meet beings as big as mountains – like the Tibetan masters – then go and meet the mountain! »

Meditation was once so important in the Drikung region of central Tibet that there were not enough caves to accommodate all the yogis! However, erudition and the analysis of texts were not neglected. Which is still the case today. But I would say that the most important thing, beyond the subtle specificities of each chapel, is the opening of the heart. What do the nuances of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism, linked to the culture and history of this people, matter to us in France and in the West? What do we care about the Karmapa controversy that has shaken the karma kagyupa lineage for ten years? Let's stop being intellectual and mental! This is what my teacher, Togdän Rinpoche, recommends. Let us instead turn to compassion, which is the fact of being aware of the suffering of others and the wish to help them free themselves from it.

What advice would you give to reach this level of consciousness?

One should not be modest, which means that one should not give up believing in one's faculties, but humble. If you don't have the chance to meet beings as big as mountains – like the Tibetan masters are – then go and meet the mountain! Where nature is strong, as in the heights of the Tibetan monastery Lamayuru and its cave of Naropa, at 3500 m altitude. We take the measure of all things. Go towards the beautiful, the powerful, what is beyond you and be silent. And stop wanting to be “quiet”. You have to give a real dimension to your life. Find meaning in this alienating daily life. One finds the truth only by pushing back one's limits.

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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