You have called yourself a “Lazy Lama”, yet in view of your teaching program, you seem very active for a “Lazy Lama”… Can you explain?
(Laughs) I describe myself as "lazy" because I am well aware that I would derive the greatest benefit from practicing meditation, something that I do not do. Instead, I travel and take the opportunity to have a nice vacation (laughs). (This is obviously false, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche is on the contrary fully accomplished and does not count his hours. But by saying this, he relieves his interlocutor of the guilt who, himself, is perhaps subject to this laziness... It is a question here of what spiritual masters often use: skilful means, editor's note).
You come to lead the Kagyu meunlam for three days at the Pagode de Vincennes. Why is it important and what are the benefits?
The main idea of Kagyu meulam is to allow people to come together in order to turn their minds towards something virtuous, in this case, to engage in all kinds of virtuous activities, to make prayers aimed at to the inner transformation of oneself, but also to the attention of all beings, in the short, medium and long terms. Together, the practice is much more powerful. But it should still be remembered that the Kagyu munlam does not belong exclusively to the Kagyu school: many prayers from other Tibetan schools are used. In fact, many masters from other schools often take part in the ceremonies.
Through your activities, you are a privileged witness to the development of Buddhism in the West, particularly in France. Have you noticed any changes?
From my own story, being among the first lamas to flee Tibet and come into contact with Westerners (Rinpoche fled Tibet in 1957, editor's note), I was indeed able to observe the implementation of Buddhism in the West. Initially, there were two types of people interested in Buddhism: scholars and hippies. (Laughs). These two groups never met, and if they happened to meet, they ignored each other superbly...
Buddhism is above all how to perceive things correctly, how to perceive life. It's not about dropping everything, becoming a monk and retreating to a cave or a monastery, following a guru and performing whatever he asks. (Laughs).
In the past, it was also inconceivable for an academic to be practicing, because this was interpreted as a lack of distance from his research object, and that automatically discredited him. I see today that the gap between these two categories of people tends to close. Not everyone becomes a follower of meditation, but the number of people interested is growing. Moreover, Buddhist ideas or conceptions spread more and more easily in scientific circles, as evidenced by meetings between scientists and Buddhists. It's very positive, because Buddhism is there to share a certain vision of things, a certain knowledge of phenomena.
Proust wrote the famous novel In search of lost time. We seem to be constantly chasing time, what would you recommend our readers do to find it?
Yes, to be constantly running after something, to flee from something, that is one of the characteristics of the human being. It's true that a lot of people say, “Oh, I'll do this or that when I retire”. I myself have been retired for twenty years now, and I keep saying to myself: “Yes, I will do this, but tomorrow! » (Laughter) More seriously, study and meditation do not require that we be able to grant them a specific time or wait for a particular situation to indulge in them, they are activities that can be done at any time. Meditation is relaxing your mind, and this can be done at any time.
What would you recommend to someone who wants to engage in the practice of Buddhism, but doesn't know where to start?
Initially, it is crucial that the person studies, that he reads works whose contents are authentic, because there are unfortunately many misunderstandings and erroneous things circulating about Buddhism, and perhaps more particularly about Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhism is above all how to perceive things correctly, how to perceive life. It's not about dropping everything, becoming a monk and retreating to a cave or a monastery, following a guru and performing whatever he asks. (Laughs). Buddhism is very concrete, very practical, going step by step, you don't skip any.
In your opinion, what can Buddhism bring to the French people of the XNUMXst century?
I would be tempted to answer first: a peaceful state of mind and a purpose in life. Throughout his teachings, the Buddha invites us to think about what would be most beneficial for us, for all beings, and then try to put it into practice. Nothing is imposed on us – it wouldn't work – but all the techniques are given to us to teach us to determine what would be good for us or not. Moreover, the Buddha recommended people not to practice his teachings, not because it was he, the Buddha, who said so, but only after having duly studied them and having determined that they would be beneficial to us.