At the heart of symbolism

Questions and answers

What is that for...

Q: What is a signature for ?

A: The signature signifies taking on responsibility. We know who to refer to if things go wrong and who to thank if they are going well.

Q: What is philosophy for ?

A: To open the mind and not to cogitate if, as Plato, we think that “wonder is the beginning of philosophy”. Similarly, the reading of pages of the contemporary philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas, shows how much he was flooded with wonders instead of being looking for knowledge only.

Beauty & ugliness

Q: What differentiates beauty from ugliness ?

A: Beauty is a completeness feature, ugliness a characteristic of what is fragmented.

Q: What does systematizing things mean ?

A: Systematizing things means having a fragmented vision and not a global, holistic or systemic vision.

Q: What makes landscapes beautiful ?

A: Good agriculture.

Q: What differentiates passion from love ?

A: Passionate eyes see the desired being within the other; loving eyes see the full being within the other.

Q: Who is the most beautiful woman ?

A: The one he is in love with.

Q: Who is the most handsome man ?

A: The one she loves.

The Buddha

Q: What are Buddhism, Zen and Taoism aiming at ?

A: Arousing awakening in order to become conscious of world reality, of the union of the beings with their environment.

Q: What does Buddhism consist of ?

A: The absence of references.

Q: What is the ego ?

A: The being perceives his body because he is not his body, is aware of his thoughts because he is not his mind, distinguishes emotions passing through him because he is still there when they are gone.

The ego is nothing but the identifying with the body, emotions and thoughts and selfishness the obsession with the “self”.

Q: What is a selfish person ?

A: Someone who does not think to me.

Q: What is non-attachment ?

A: Non-attachment is not indifference regarding existence, even less renunciation to life, but its full acceptation.

Q: What is happiness ?

A: Selflessness.

Q: What makes the wise different from the vulgar ?

A: The wise works towards harmony without compromising, the vulgar compromises without reaching harmony.

Q: How do we recognize a wise man ?

A: Through the fact that, instead of resigning himself, he is fully accepting life as it is.

Q: What is the distinction between the conscious and unconscious being ?

A: The conscious being goes nowhere, he is always where he stands; the unconscious being is never present, always looking for somewhere else.

Q: What is the distinction between “governing willingness” and “empowering willingness” ?

A: The first consists in the willingness to govern others, the second in the willingness to govern oneself.


Q: Does God exist ?

A: To this question the Buddha says “yes” to the deist, “no” to the atheist and remains silent when facing a truth seeker.

Q: Does the universe have a meaning ?

R: The universe is a whole and, as a whole, it has no purpose, objective or goal outside itself. It is its own goal and therefore has no meaning. There is no “divine plan”, only free deployment of forms which are manifested to us.

Q: Does life have a meaning ?

A: As manifestation of a whole, life is empty of meaning, it simply is and that is enough. Just as God, the only being who can say: “I am the one who is” (Saint Augustine).

Q: What about monotheism and polytheism ?

A: Any authentic tradition or religion is monotheistic, for it derives from the Supreme Principle, the One that governs the World. The Principle is manifested in the eyes of the World as a multiplicity of different aspects that the beings take for “gods” while they are attributes of the Divine only.

In the Indian tradition, for example, the supposedly seven thousands plus “gods” are not separated entities, but as many aspects of the Supreme Principle, often called Brahman, which constitute as many ways leading to Him.

Any authentic tradition or religion is henotheistic (One unique Principle) or monotheistic (One God only) in its principle and apparently polytheistic in its manifestation.


Q: “Why are you planting trees ?” asked the Master Obaku to his disciple Rinzai

A: “For two reasons: firstly to embellish the landscape; secondly, so that future generations remember us”.

Q: Why is the relationship between man and the environment important ?

A: So that man can learn wisdom from the environment and the environment can rely on man's wisdom.

Q: What does behavioural change mean ?

A: A behavioural change can not be collective, but only the result of an individual experience, a real life experience and not a mind cogitation, even shared by plenty of people.

Q: Do we need to save the planet ?

A: We would like to limit the effects of global warming while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. So, we try to combat it through planning numerous international conferences and agreements, developing new technologies, offering economical and financial incentives etc. However, as long as we do not curb our eagerness for material goods, not many things will change. We will do nothing but treat the symptoms instead of the roots of the dilemma. Therefore, before willing to save the planet, would it not be wiser to start to change ourselves ? And then, the world would change!


Q: What fears affect man's behaviour ?

A: Fear of lacking, which is the source of accumulation; fear of what people may say, which is the source of lies; fear of dying, which is the source of anxiety.

Q: What is the relationship between the hatred of Jews and the worldwide process ?

A: The hatred of Jews finds its origin in the fear of the individual liberated from national roots and, consequently, in the identification of the Jews with the cosmopolitan world of finance, sciences, arts etc. This is why we are now witnessing the strange paradox of seeing the hatred of Jews starting with renewed vigour again, just when worldwide extension is in full swing.


Q: What is the outstanding fact of the XXth century ?

A: The XXth century started in 1914 with the First World War and ended in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin wall. It only lasted three-quarters of a century and will forever be marked by the consummate rupture of man and nature alliance.

Q: What is society composed of in the beginning of the XXIst century ?

A: It is composed of non powerful politicians, power-hungry entrepreneurs, mostly unconscious scientists and a baffled and worried population.

Q: Why does our society refuse death ?

A: Because it is condemned to die.

Q: What are young people mostly missing today ?

R: The knowledge of themselves, of their deep nature eclipsed by conditioning of various types: social, moral, educational etc.

Q: What does the family consist of ?

A: In contrast to dictionaries' definitions, the family is not restricted to the parents and children circle. It consists first in a filiation between the generations of children, parents and grand parents. Living among these generations will help the child to better understand the life ages, to better integrate them and to live fully each period of his or her existence.

Q: What is the difference between needs and desires ?

A: Needs concern food, clothes, shelter, contact, health etc. and are specific to the body and apply to everyone. Desires are related to wealth, power, celebrity, possession, newness, welfare etc. and always involve the mind and imply others.

Our society is characterized by a need relegation and a desire exacerbation.

Q: What is differentiating the prehistoric man from mankind today ?

A: Considered individually, today and prehistoric men are not so different, but their relationship with each other and the world have changed drastically.

Q: What would be the real change of presidency in the United-States ?

A: Not the election of an Afro-American or a woman as President, but a vote in favour of a native American at the head of the White House.