What to do for the rising generation? How him transmettre the humanist and universal message that Buddhism conveys, to make it that of a better world? These questions pursue many Dharma practitioners, observing the difficult care of children in Buddhist centers, during teachings, rituals, meditation sessions, where they sometimes struggle to find their place. Parents, simply in search of wisdom, who may be far from any religious tradition, also ask themselves these questions. And faced with the existential as well as spiritual needs of young people in general, tailor-made support may have seemed necessary. Why not relying on the values and know-how of scouting?
Genesis of the movement
“The idea germinated in 2007, during an Islam-Buddhism meeting at the Karma Ling center in Savoie, recalls Pierre Lançon, then resident within the structure. We were thinking about the expectations of young people and Cheikh Bentounès made this suggestion to us. He himself had been the founder of the Muslim Scouts of France 1990 and had measured the great benefits. The proposal sounded like a no-brainer. All the values of scouting can be in line with the spirit of Dharma, and the project was not long in seeing the light of day, groping for a while on the form and the spiritual anchoring that it needed to be given.
Should we register the nascent movement in the tradition, but then, by attaching it to which lineage, which current? "It was quickly decided to disconnect the Buddhist scouts from any cultural and even religious dimension in the strict sense of the term", specifies Pierre, who has become responsible for the spiritual commission. What then was to remain of the Buddhist to these new scouts? " The essential ! he says: meditation, ethics and compassion”. This is enough to reach young people and families familiar with Buddhism as well as people from all walks of life, even atheists, in a very free spirit and regardless of their political orientation. “Mindfulness education can meet the needs of 100% Buddhist or 100% secular children,” he continues. Our approach is based on three universal objectives: awakening to presence by paying attention to the body and the senses on the one hand; develop emotional intelligence by promoting awareness and the formulation of emotions on the other hand, and finally increase the qualities of the heart by encouraging benevolence, non-violence and wonder. »
“We particularly insist on the approach of an inhabited nature in the sacred sense of the term, and that one can also inhabit differently, more harmoniously and respectfully, in a less human-centered way. »
Their real name contains the seed of this minimalistic yet immense program, as Buddhist Scouts are more accurately registered as Eclaireuses et Éclaireurs de la Nature (EDLN). That of the spirit, of course, but also of a very concrete nature, all in flesh and chlorophyll. That's what attracted Martin when he was nine years old. Becoming a scout was no doubt for Marine, her mother, who keeps strong memories of this experience as a child. “To respond both to my son's very natural side and to his already affirmed atheism, we offered him the Buddhist scouts. It was a good compromise offering a spiritual dimension, but very liberal and respectful of other traditions,” she explains. Well chosen, in Martin's opinion: “I liked to build camps in nature during summer stays and the “spi time” of a quarter of an hour each day spent in meditation suited me. We didn't really have any other links with Buddhism, apart from a visit to a monk who told us about existence. It was interesting ". For lack of time, he left the movement. He admits that he does not know what he will keep from it later, from the height of his thirteen years, but he thinks that he may be able to return to meditation, discover yoga and why not take an interest in Hinduism .
From scout DNA to EDLN specificities
The association of Scouts and Scouts of Nature is also 100% scout, as a member of the Federation of French Scouting which also includes the Muslim Scouts of France, the Scouts and Guides of France, the Scouts-Scouts of France, the Scouts-Scouts Israelites of France, the Scouts and Scouts Unionists of France. It therefore strictly follows the seven pillars of the pedagogy of the movement launched by Baden Powell more than a century ago in the United Kingdom: the law of the heart and the promise, education through action, the team system, the symbolic framework, the personal progression, the relationship education and life in nature. Logically, the companions also receive the same training as those of the other movements. And because these structures share the same fundamentals, meetings and twin camps are offered. Something to open minds even more, to cross practices while always remaining scouts.
Of course, each current has its peculiarities. "At Les Éclaireuses et Éclaireurs de la Nature, we particularly insist on the approach of an inhabited nature in the sacred sense of the term, and which can also be inhabited differently, more harmoniously and respectfully, in a less human-centered way, explains Emmanuel Buu, President of the movement. Hence the choice to eat essentially vegetarian, for example, in order to be consistent with a strict respect for animal life and ecology in general”. In times of climate change and biodiversity crisis, the message has something to carry, regardless of cultural and religious origin. "Buddhist scouts have around 1200 members today, that's not a lot, out of more than 120 scouting members in France, all movements combined, he admits, and we are looking for leaders for supervision. But the movement is young and must slowly take its marks to grow in coherence. »