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Daniel : Through the website dedicated to you, I know  that you were 5 years old when you started to study Buddhism. Do you remember your first fears when you felt that your parents forced you to follow this path?

Pema : But my parents did not want me to become a nun. I wanted to follow the path of Dharma.

Daniel : Really? What did your parents plan for your future ?

Pema : My parents were farmers, they owned a house with land and farm animals. We had everything we needed to live. Our life was simple, there were two seasons, summer and winter. In the summertime everyone was working to cultivate the land and harvest, then during the six winter months everyone, including the animals, remained locked inside the house. In my memory the winter period was happy. The whole family was gathered in the warmth of the house and it was a happy life.


Daniel : But then, what was the trigger for you to choose this path to the monastery and the study of the Dharma?

Pema : The monastery is my life. When one is a nun or a monk, one remains it for all the life, for the other people the life can be much more unstable, they need sometimes to change job, partner ... Personally I needed stability in my life.

Daniel : Why not have chosen the same existence as your parents?

Pema : Actually you know, everybody around me was Buddhist. My parents also practiced Buddhism. The only difference is the clothes I wear ! And also the vows lay people do not pronounce vows.

Daniel : Is it something that came naturally to you to pronounce the vows?

Pema : Of course at five years old you cannot know what are the vows. I made my full vows when I was twenty.

Daniel : But really since the age of five you had a desire to study Buddhism?

Pema : Yes, at five I was already attracted by life at the monastery, so I knew deep inside me that I did not want to follow the path of a normal life, for example being tied to a man.


Daniel : So you knew very early that you would never be seduced by a secular life.
I know that you are engaged, and for a long time already, in several projects of construction of schools, temples. I imagine that in order to complete such projects you need an incredible energy, for fund raising, to coordinate the work, to defend these projects, but where does this tremendous energy come from?

Pema : All the energy I need comes from Buddha and Karmapa.


Daniel : Despite everything, do you know moments of great discouragement, difficult moments ?

Pema : No, absolutely not. People are adorable and everyone comes to help projects.

Daniel : The doors open and the hearts too. And of all the people you meet around the world, those people who help you or just listen to you, have you noticed something common between all these people ?

Pema : At each new encounter I see the same heart opening. I think this is the most obvious thing in common between all those people who come to me.

Daniel : This opening interests me ... What is behind this opening? Is it only the relationship between you and others that creates this openness, or regardless of your presence, do you think that people naturally manifest this openness?

Pema : If we can open it is thanks to the blessing of Buddha and Karmapa. We receive their help. In our first lives, we give and then in the following lives we receive, We give and then we receive.


Daniel : When people come to talk to you, is there a question that comes up most often ?

Pema : No, there is no question.

(Eric intervenes to bring me a precision)

Eric : In fact when people come to her, there is not really a speech. She gives them the blessing she has received. She passes on what she has received.

Daniel : It's not a very intellectualized relationship.

Eric : Not on the contrary! It's direct, it does not go through words. But rather by what is behind the words.


Daniel: I would like to know if you think that each person has something personal to achieve in this existence? Do we all have a goal to achieve during our lives?

Pema: Yes, yes. We have a main goal to achieve. For example, the reason we are gathered here and now is because we have created the conditions for our encounter in our past lives. This may have happened a long time ago. We have known each other for a very long time, that's why we can meet today. Otherwise we would not meet.
So all our actions today will bear fruit later. If our actions are good then we will have good fruits in the future.

Daniel: But do you think we are the heirs of the stories of our ancestors, that is, are we obliged to continue what they started?

Pema: Yes I think that's possible too.

Daniel: Can meditation help us to understand what our path is in life ?

Pema then shows us how she meditates. We are all sitting on chairs around a table. For a minute or two, Pema, in her chair, goes into deep meditation, we watch her in silence. We look and feel the density of the air around it.

Eric : Pema showed us how she meditates. At first she took refuge. It means that she has connected with the flow of love and infinite wisdom of Buddhas... To understand it is necessary to visualize a current, that is to say an energy that flows, something alive. A current fed by positive and pure wishes, coming from beings almost like you and me except that they reached the state of Buddha (or Boddhisatva as Karmapa, Sharmapa).
These beings she meets, with whom she lives, have an extraordinary influence and radiance. They belong to a current out of time and out of space. There are billions to be like them. These beings have positive wishes. For starters she connected to them. Hence this formula I take refuge.

Meditation is that for her. Connect with one’s current of consciousness and connect with all these beings too. She has prepared her body (physical position of meditation that helps to soothe our emotional state and clarify our mind). Once asked, she watched her mind. Then she dedicated the fruit of this action (meditation) to the happiness of all beings.

Daniel : It's hard to understand.

Eric : She wants all beings to be free from suffering. She does not want to keep this positive karma for her own happiness. So she offers it so that all beings come out of the state of suffering.

Pema : Dharma is not an intellectual practice. It is not about reading or thinking about what Dharma is. Dharma is above all our daily life when we have a positive life and we endeavour to make others happy. It's not just about studying, it's not enough.

Daniel : Thank you very much.

Specials Thanks : Viviane and Eric and Agnès. Thanks to Katya for allowing to publish the photos.

Photos : All rights reserved Offical website :

English translation for interview : Eric ROBBIOLA.

English translation and proofreading : Agnès GATINIOL.