Lama Shedrup: "Developing presence to oneself and to the other"

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

His encounter with Vajrayana Buddhism and Lama Guendun completely changed the life course of this 63-year-old former mason. Nearly forty years of practice later, Lama Shedrup dispenses his teachings in the centers of the Karma Kagyu lineage and accompanies, as chaplain, the prisoners of New Aquitaine.

Lama Shedrup has just completed a fifteen-day retreat at Bost (see box), in Auvergne. Balding, the goatee cut in a triangle, Shedrup does not wear the Buddhist robe. Dressed in a fleece, a waistcoat and trousers, he usually dresses "in civilian clothes" during his teachings or his visits. en prison. Raised by rather anarchist and anticlerical parents, at the age of 20, after a five-year trip to India and Nepal, he returned to France, settled in the countryside, trained with companions in masonry and, his course completed , moved to the Dordogne in 1981. A choice that owes nothing to chance, but to the bond he forged with Lama Guendune during a visit to the monastery of Dhagpo Kagyu Ling.

“We keep our feet on the ground while having our heads in the sky. »

A year later, in 1982, Shedrup became resident at Dhagpo Kagyu Ling. True to his training, with the help of two other disciples experienced in construction and volunteers, he participated in the renovation of the lamas' house and the refectory. During the first five years, he continued to work on small construction sites. This activity allows him to maintain a balance: “We keep our feet on the ground while keeping our heads in the sky. This is important because sometimes the practice can push us to be disconnected from the environment,” he agrees.

“Any activity directed towards the spirit is important for oneself and for our relationships with others. »

During two retreats of three years and three months, from 1987 to 1991 and from 1991 to 1994, he learned the practices related to Vajrayana. “I developed abilities there that I continue to maintain on a daily basis”. And now each of his days begins and ends with an hour of meditation and recitation of mantras. “The most important thing when we meditate is our ability to be aware of what is happening and to come back to the present moment. It can be simple, sometimes more complex. You have to see the play of emotions that is taking place.

Excitement or disappointment, traps of pride

These daily practices, in contact with the Sangha, bring him greater clarity of mind and attention to what is. “If I meditate too hastily, I notice that I'm less available to others,” he says. They also influence reflection, the study of texts and the preparation of lessons. Transmitting them is a great responsibility: "I must not say things that could be misunderstood and teach those who follow me not to fall into the trap of pride, which takes the form of disappointment when it does not work. not or excitement when it works”. Lama Shedrup adds: “Another important point is precision: I must focus not on what seems important to me, but what helps the listeners”. In the prisons of New Aquitaine, for example, where he has served as chaplain since 2014, the same method: “I meet people who ask to see me for very different reasons. The most important thing is to know what part of the teaching will help the detained person, here and now. It involves looking within oneself for the resources to develop clarity of mind and presence to others”.

All this, Lama Shedrup also shares, around the end of life, with people who work in associations involved in palliative care. Sometimes, on request, he uses sophrology and gives sessions to small groups as a method of relaxation prior to meditation sessions. His main motivation, to help, pushed the chaplain to deepen this skill, because he specifies, "any activity directed towards the spirit is important for oneself and for our relationships with others"

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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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