You discovered Zen in 1974, at the Lille dojo, with master Taisen Deshimaru. What attracted you?
What interests me in zen, it is the full participation of body and mind in the event we are experiencing. This makes it possible to observe, to feel a phenomenon beyond the narrowness of words. Before encountering the Dharma, I had a Catholic education, with a parish priest who did not share too childish concepts. He told us: “Paradise is here and now”. It already had a flavor of Buddhism before its time.
Has this participation of body and mind proved to be essential in your practice of medicine?
As a doctor, you know how important observing others is. Of course, you have to know the therapeutic means, but I have always wanted to involve the patient in the management of his treatment. The person must gradually decide himself, as his knowledge progresses, if he is not convinced of the current therapeutic effectiveness, to try the experiment of other means.
Does being a Buddhist allow you to get out of your "beliefs" and your fears?
Calling yourself a Buddhist shouldn't matter so much. It is illusory to find an identity by calling oneself a Buddhist. Moreover, one is no more guaranteed, in the way of the Buddha, to have a family of heart than in other social groups.
“What interests me in Zen is the full participation of body and mind in the event we are experiencing. This makes it possible to observe, to feel a phenomenon beyond the narrowness of words. »
However, practice allows us to understand or accept who we are a little faster. When I find myself in zazen, although my beliefs and my fears are still present, I taste what life offers me to live.
Why was it important for you to create the Halluin Zen dojo?
When I set up the Funzo Dojo (“Dojo for the big occasion”), in Halluin in the Lille suburbs, in 1986, I wanted to make a space available, probably with a personal intention. Now I have Parkinson's disease. What is built serves others as well as myself. This allows everyone to come and find this necessary time of tranquility.
How does Zen practice help you live with illness?
I perceive a direct utility to the practice of zazen: it recently allowed me to sit with flexibility, while I remained on a stretcher for several hours, and it is the same for hospital nights. This disease makes me discover new aspects of the relationship with others. She teaches me that it is not useful to choose verbal teaching. Since then, I find myself calmer and more whole with each of the people I meet.