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Les activités religieuses des bouddhistes en Lettonie

The religious activities of Buddhist groups involve a conscious effort to study the teachings of Buddha and to take part in the spiritual events of the tradition that they represent. Firstly, this consists of the weekly practices and meditations recognized by the tradition represented or advised by the spiritual teachers of each group : the regular weekly practice in the Diamond Way Buddhist groups is meditation on the 16th Karmapa and this takes place 3–5 times per week ; members of the Padmaling group gather together not only to do Ganapujas, but also to do Yantra Yoga or to perform Vajra dances ; such practices as Vajrasattva, Green and White Tara and Achi are common in Drikung Kagyu groups ; sitting meditation or zazen is a regular practice in Zen Buddhist groups, etc. In addition to formal Buddhist practice, weekly meetings of Buddhist groups may also include the collective readings and study of sacred texts.
A more varied programme is offered by the Ganden Buddhist Meditation Centre which tries to update its schedule monthly, and usually includes a variety of activities : meditations, teachings on different aspects of Buddhism such as destructive emotions, Tantra, Bodhicitta, lectures and seminars on the application of Buddhism in everyday life, and other activities. In most cases, this takes place within the frame of the “Discovering Buddhism” teaching programme produced by the teachers and programme coordinators of the Foundation for Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). In general, the programme comprises 14 topics, each of them covering 4–5 lectures, meditation practices, the reading of texts and participation in retreats. The aim of the programme is to provide a deeper understanding of Buddhist teaching and meditation.
The second element of religious practice is teachings conducted by lay or traditional Buddhist teachers during their visits to Latvia. These visits are important for practitioners as not everyone has the opportunity to travel abroad to Western countries or Asia in order to meet teachers and to attend their teachings. The teachers lead meditation, deliver lectures, explain the main philosophical texts, comment on them, and answer the practitioners’ questions.
Religious events with teachers are not limited only to meditation, practices, and the study of texts. Their visits can also include participation in larger teachings and retreats on specific practices. These may be short – from one to three days, usually at weekends, and for the more intensive ones, over one to two weeks in summer. Short retreats are mostly held at the premises of each Buddhist group, while rented premises in the countryside are usually used for long retreat practices. For instance, the Association of Theravada Buddhism in Latvia is well-known for its summer retreats outside of Riga, not only among Buddhists but also among psychologists and the practitioners of Yoga and other spiritual teachings.
The opportunity of hosting teachers in Latvia is mainly possible through the membership of Buddhist communities in international Buddhist organizations : Ganden Buddhist Meditation Centre is a member of the Foundation for Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) centres around the world ; the Riga and Daugavpils Karma Kagyu groups are two of the more than 650 Diamond Way Buddhism centres in the world that are led by Lama Ole Nydahl ; Padmaling is a part of the international Dzogchen community, the Riga Zen centre is affiliated with the Kwan Um School of Zen international organization, etc.

D 14 janvier 2016    AMarika Laudere

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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