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A Buddhist Monastery in France – French Story + Translation

By Stanislas - updated on Jul 16, 2020
french buddhist vocabulary

Buddhism is not the typical religion in France, however Stanislas is lucky to live next to a French Buddhist monastery, and often visits for mindful walks and meditations. Or just to hang with the monks and nuns, who are fun and joyful people.

1- Buddhist French Vocabulary

  1.  L’Éveil (m) : Le but de la voie bouddhique. Un Ă©tat de sagesse parfaite et de compassion sans limites.
    Awakening: The goal of the Buddhist path. A state of perfect wisdom and limitless compassion
  2. Bouddha : Celui qui a atteint l’éveil.
    The one who has reached enlightenment.
  3. Dharma :  Un mot aux nombreuses significations. C’est tout d’abord la « vĂ©ritĂ© Â» ou la « rĂ©alitĂ© supĂ©rieure Â» universelle.
    A word with many meanings. It is first « truth Â» or universal « supreme reality Â».
  4. Dukkha : LittĂ©ralement, « souffrance Â».
    Literally, « suffering Â».
  5. Nirvana : La libĂ©ration qui rĂ©sulte de l’éradication de l’aviditĂ©, de l’illusion et de la haine.
    Liberation, result from eradication of greed, illusion, and hate.
  6. Sangha : La communautĂ© de moines et de moniales.
    The community of monks and nuns.
  7. Sutra : Un texte bouddhiste sacrĂ©.
    A sacred buddhist text.
  8. Zen : Une branche du Bouddhisme qui cherche l’éveil par l’introspection et l’intuition.
    A branch of Buddhism seeking enlightenment through introspection and intuition.

2 – A Buddhist Monastery in France

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Vendredi dernier, nous avons visité avec notre étudiant Agape, un monastÚre bouddhiste.

Last Friday, we visited with our student Agape, a Buddhist monastery.

Ce monastĂšre s’appelle le Village des pruniers. Il se trouve Ă  ThĂ©nac, Ă  10 minutes de chez nous.

This monastery is called Plum village. It is located in Thénac, 10 minutes away from our home.

Les moines et les nonnes sont des personnes qui renoncent à vivre dans le monde pour une vie simple en communauté. Une vie contemplative et paisible.

Monks and nuns are people who renounced living in the world, in order to have a simple community life. A contemplative and peaceful life.

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Ce monastÚre a été fondé par un célÚbre moine zen vietnamien appelé Thich Nhat Hanh, nommé pour le prix nobel de la paix par Martin Luther King.

This monastery was founded by a famous Vietnamese Zen monk named Thich Nhat Hanh, nominated for the peace Nobel prize by  Martin Luther King.

3 – Buddhist French Nuns and Monks

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Sur le parking nous croisons des moniales qui nous font de grands sourires. Elles portent de longues robes marrons et elles ont la tĂȘte rasĂ©e.

On the parking lot, we are meeting nuns with a big smile. They are wearing long brown robes and their head is shaved.

Buddhist french

4 – A Peaceful Monastery in France

Les enfants partent en courant, ils ont vu le grand figuier. Ils aiment beaucoup l’escalader.

The kids go off running, they saw the large fig tree. They love to climb on it.

On voit de vieux bĂątiments en pierres. Dans le jardin il y a des fleurs, des arbustes, de grosses pierres, une statue du Bouddha, une mare aux lotus et une grande salle de mĂ©ditation. On sent l’harmonie qui nous entoure.

We see old stones buildings. In the garden, there are flowers, bushes, big stones, a Buddha statue, a lotus pond and a large meditation hall. You can feel harmony is all around.

buddha french

LĂ -bas, des moines jouent au ping-pong. D’autres s’amusent avec les enfants des visiteurs. Devant la maison du thĂ© des laĂŻcs discutent, leur tasse Ă  la main (laĂŻc c’est le nom donnĂ© Ă  ceux qui ne sont pas moines).

Over there, some monks are playing ping-pong. Others are playing with the visiting kids. In front of the tea house, some  lay people are having conversations, holding their cups ( those who are not monks are called lay people).

Nous avons l’impression d’ĂȘtre dans un autre monde.

We feel we are in another world.

5 – Walking Buddhist Meditation in France

Une cloche sonne. C’est le signal que la prochaine activitĂ© va commencer. Il est l’heure de la mĂ©ditation marchĂ©e. Tout le monde se rassemble sous le grand tilleul.

A bell rings. It is the signal that the next activity is about to start. It is time for walking meditation. Everyone gather around the big linden tree.

Un moine explique la pratique de la marche en pleine conscience. Il faut ĂȘtre conscient de sa respiration. On profite de la nature et des gens autour.

A monk explains the mindful walking practice. You have to be aware of your breath. Enjoying nature and people around.

Quand l’esprit se perd dans les pensĂ©es, on revient Ă  la respiration, Ă  ses pas, Ă  l’instant prĂ©sent.

When the mind gets lost in thinking, we come back to our breath, to our steps, to the present moment.

buddhist meditation in France

Nous marchons lentement Ă  travers un champ, puis sur un chemin Ă  travers la forĂȘt.

We walk slowly through a field, then on a path through the forest.

L’esprit vagabonde :

The mind wander :

  1. Ah oui ! Il faut prendre rendez-vous avec le garage pour la voiture la semaine prochaine !
  2. La voisine ne m’a pas dit bonjour ce matin ! Je me demande quel est son problùme !
  3. Cet été on pourrait partir au Portugal

  4. Tiens, celui-là il a une drÎle de façon de marcher !
  1. Ah yes ! We have to make an appointment with the garage for the car next week!
  2. The neighbor didn’t greet this morning! I wonder what is her problem!
  3. This summer we could go to Portugal

  4. Hey, this one has a strange walk.

Ah oui, j’oublie ma respiration, la marche. La mĂ©ditation ! C’est trop dur ! On oublie tout le temps.

Ah yes, I forget my breath, the walk. Meditation! It’s too hard! We forget all the time.

Enfin
 Aprùs une demi-heure, le temps ralenti
 Je me sens calme.

Finally
 After half an hour, time slows down
 I fell calm.

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6 – More About Religion in France

En France la religion principale est le catholicisme. Depuis des centaines d’annĂ©es des moines et des nonnes pratiques la priĂšre et le travail en communautĂ©.

In France the main religion is Catholicism. For centuries monks and nuns have been praying and working in community.

Il n’y a pas beaucoup de diffĂ©rence entre les moines de diffĂ©rentes traditions. Les monastiques ont l’intuition d’un amour pour quelque chose qui nous dĂ©passe. Dans la plupart des cas ils font vƓux de chastetĂ©, de simplicitĂ© et d’obĂ©issance.

There are not many differences between monks from different traditions. Monastiques have an intuition of a love for something beyond us. In most cases, they make vows of chastity, simplicity, and obedience.

Des informations pratiques : On peut venir au village des pruniers toute l’annĂ©e. On peut venir pour la journĂ©e le jeudi et le dimanche. On peut aussi faire des retraites d’une semaine ou plus. Renseignement sur le site villagedespruniers.net

Some practical informations : You can visit Plum village all year long. You can come for a day on Thursdays and Sundays. You can also come for a retreat for a week or longer. Information on the website plumvillage.org 

If you liked this article, why not consider a stay at Stanislas’ home in PĂ©rigord (Dordogne) to better your French? Stanislas practices mindful living,  meditation, is vegetarian and has a lifestyle close to nature (in a very comfortable home!)
Here is more info about the French Immersion Residential courses recommended by French Today.

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