To celebrate the Chinese New Year in February 2002 with the Asian community, on the initiative of President Chirac, a fan of Asia and ancient civilizations, the Elysée invites nearly 300 personalities to Paris, including ambassadors from Asian countries , Nobel Prize for Literature, as well as some Buddhist monks. The president requiring that among these, he has a French-speaking interlocutor, a courier is dispatched the day before the ceremony at the monastery of Tournon to invite the Venerable Nyanadharo, the only monk residing in France who meets this criterion. It will take all the powers of persuasion of Janine Boitel for the latter to honor this invitation.
While the cooks at the Élysée were busy putting themselves in tune with Asian cuisine, from all walks of life, the delegation was warmly received by the President, who welcomed them in these terms: "If he is in the history of men a dialogue of rare fruitfulness, a dialogue that combines the most intense attraction and the deepest questioning, it is certainly that of the East and the West. For a long time and still today, the Silk Road unrolled its shimmering ribbon in the Western imagination. Since Marco Polo, everyone had guessed that the mysteries of Asia were so many promises. Those of the richest civilizations, which have raised philosophical reflection, religious thought, excellence in the arts to the highest level”.
As a gift, the Venerable has slipped into his robe the old rosary, a rare piece, given to him the day before by his friend Lama Deunzang, back from a pilgrimage in his native Tibet. The Venerable will deliver it personally to the President, wishing him the best influences, and while the Elysée secretariat collects all the donations offered by the delegation, Jacques Chirac will slip the rosary furtively into his pocket.
The speeches follow one another and only the monks present have chairs to rest. The Venerable Nyanadharo then rises to offer his seat to the president who accepts, but on the condition of sharing it, thus offering the spectacle of a very curious cohabitation.
In this year of the appearance of the euro, Jacques Chirac respectfully slips towards the monks a bag of coins of this new currency. Venerable Nyanadharo will accept this offering and will immediately hand over this spontaneous contribution from the Élysée to the Vietnamese monk to help finance his temple, the largest Vietnamese temple under construction.
The ceremony will end with prayers in Pali, whose president, familiar with this ancient language, had previously requested a translation into French.
That same year, plunged into doubt as to the continuation of his political commitment by a second term, Jacques Chirac will go to Japan to attend sumo fights. He will take the opportunity to visit a Buddhist temple and meditate there. He will leave with the conviction that his commitment should continue. We know the rest!