This type of statement in the form of a slogan, coming from a religious leader, surrounded mainly by men, may surprise. But that would be to ignore the human and singular dimension of this monk, deeply free inside, totally committed to peace in the world and determined to do everything to make it progress. Which he does by talking to women like that. It suffices to be convinced of this to listen to him again, for a moment: “Violence is out of fashion. Let feminine values flourish in our societies in order to change mentalities. Political leaders must give greater roles to women. It is essential to build lasting peace and the future of humanity. »
Far from being a gentle dreamer as some would prefer to believe, appealing neither to clichés nor to ease despite appearances, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate asserts here, with force, his point of view: that women are, according to him, the guarantors of the sustainability of humanity; and, that it is urgent to propagate the values that they naturally embody, compassion, generosity, tenderness. Before it is too late and violence and wars of all kinds, including economic and environmental, lead to irreversible disasters.
This observation, Tenzin Gyatso still raises today, after having tirelessly traveled the globe for more than thirty years to participate in establishing peace at the international level with the leaders of this world, politicians, religious, economists, philosophers. And that in vain. Nothing has fundamentally changed in recent years. Many conflicts exist almost everywhere on the planet, extremism is growing, the rights of children and women are still violated in some countries, economic inequality between North and South is widening, and AIDS, wars, poverty and famine are still among the major scourges of the beginning of the 2008st century. Without being alarmist or pessimistic, it is difficult to deny that the world is going badly and that its dysfunctions are more and more frequent and numerous. This acceleration and worsening of symptoms could lead to the changes the Dalai Lama hopes for. The international crisis that began in September XNUMX bears witness to this. Particularly serious, calling into question the entire economic system, it leads to “rethinking” the ethics of financial systems and to a profound overhaul of the values of our societies. In this difficult context, of rupture, between a world that is coming to an end and a new one in formation, are women for the Dalai Lama, more than ever, one of the last hopes of changing things to bring more conscience and generosity in our societies? The call made in France suggests this.
The Proclamation of "Kundun"
But will he be listened to, he who is in the "top ten" of the most influential international personalities? For it to be, a real dialogue and real parity between men and women would have to be established; and, that our "old" mentalities and habits change, in depth.
Women could play an essential role and profoundly change our societies. "Everything is already written in the great book of humans", say the Apache Indians. "But we are free to write the details of this work with courage and with respect for our brothers the humans, the plants and the animals of nature", they add. This election is their revenge on the barbarism of the men who exterminated them.
It was from France, the privileged land of Buddhism in the world since the 2008s, that the Dalai Lama had chosen to deliver the message he then addressed to women, in this month of August XNUMX. J was there. Woman, Buddhist, French, I heard the words of the religious and spiritual leader of the Tibetans and I felt concerned. Perhaps in a few decades, looking back on the past, we will call this day historic. Because, if this proclamation of “Kundun”, “The Presence”, becomes effective, our future will be different.
“Being reborn as a woman would allow me, for example, to promote equal rights among human beings and to change the situation of women who live in traditional cultures that discriminate against them. »
As a journalist, aware of the political and social significance of the Dalai Lama's declarations, I therefore questioned and listened to his speeches and his teachings with particular interest in this month of summer 2008 as soon as he broached the subject of women. Moreover, having had the privilege of meeting him several times over the past twenty years, I went back to my interviews and notes to look for indications that would shed even more light on his remarks, particularly on the status of women in renaissances. This is what he says about it:
“During his lifetime, the Buddha taught that men and women were equal. And that achieving the ultimate goal, Buddhahood, was possible for both men and women. One finds teachings which seem apparently contradictory, if one does not place them in the context in which he gave them. This is the case with regard to equality between men and women. In addition, depending on the country, the words of the Buddha were sometimes interpreted over the centuries according to local cultures.
Very often Westerners ask me about my past lives. They want to know, for example, if I remember some of them and if I lived as a woman. To this I reply with a laugh that, not always remembering what I did the day before, I can hardly remember in general terms what I did or what I was there. several existences. As a Buddhist, I accept and believe in the theory of reincarnation. So I was probably a woman in some of my previous lives. Like everyone ! I was not always a "Dalai Lama"!
As for the future, I don't know if I will be reborn in the body of a woman or in that of a man. Nothing stands in the way of one or the other. What seems important to me is to refuse any discrimination in this area.
It was in France that I was first asked if I could be reincarnated as a woman. The goal of reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism is to realize our Buddha nature and to help other beings become free from suffering. Which means doing everything in our power to help them find happiness and the conditions that lead to it. If for that, I have to be reborn as a woman as a Dalai Lama, because I would have more opportunities to be useful in society that way, then why not! In the Tibetan tradition, many women were great masters. As far as spiritual masters are concerned, there are no big differences between women and men. What matters is to have a high degree of spiritual realization in order to best transmit Buddhist principles and practice.
Thus, being reborn as a woman would allow me, for example, to promote equal rights among human beings and to change the situation of women who live in traditional cultures that discriminate against them. This is what once existed in Tibet. There were few Tulku women as well. But secular women like Yeshe Tsogyal (1) once played an important political and spiritual role in the “Land of Snows”. Yet, in the eyes of Buddhist philosophy, there is basically no difference between men and women regarding our abilities to achieve enlightenment. I often take to illustrate this the example of the female bodhisattva (2) of compassion Tara. She is the first feminist in history. Observing the situation of sentient beings who strived to attain enlightenment, she noticed that very few people achieved enlightenment as a woman. So she decided to be reborn as a woman until she herself reached the stage of perfect realization. For this, she made the following vow: “I have developed the bodhi spirit as a woman. I make a vow to be reborn as a woman throughout my rebirths and to realize the state of Buddha, as a woman”. What she did.
Women have the same rights as men and are their spiritual equals. For me, there is no doubt that in the future, their rights will be rigorously established all over the world. We will then have, on this occasion, a renewed awareness of what “equality between men and women” means. We have to work on it. And in general, question any idea that science proves to be obsolete. Science, like Buddhism, seeks to understand the nature of reality through critical inquiry. If scientific analysis were to show that certain claims of Buddhism are false, then we would have to accept the conclusions of the first and abandon the claims of the second. This is how we should generally proceed. »
Extract of Words of the Dalai Lama to the women of the world (Editions du Rocher, 2010)