Federico Jôkô Procopio: "Buddhism makes it possible to be at peace in a sick society"

In the West, Buddhism seduces more and more. For Federico Jôkô Procopio, a Zen Buddhist monk, he is one of the best answers to the current crisis, offering man freedom and serenity.

Interview by Margaux Rambert

Psychologies: Many people suffer in our society, how to explain it?

Federico Jôkô Procopio: People are disconnected from themselves. They undergo their lives, act like automatons, which makes them sad, nervous, even inhuman. But this suffering is only the symptom of permanent dissatisfaction. We have plenty - when other people are still looking for clean water on the other side of the earth - and yet we are still dissatisfied. We grew up in a society that educated us to cosmetic pleasures. And we ended up believing that happiness was there. So like monkeys jumping from one branch to another, we are constantly passing from one happiness to another. As some branches are more or less durable, we cling fast to others in search of absolute happiness, which in fact does not exist and therefore becomes the cause of our suffering. But in reality, it is not written anywhere that life must be happy. In itself, it is neither happiness nor misfortune. She is just life, crossed by moments of happiness and others, less happy.

Should we give up looking for happiness then?

Federico Jôkô Procopio: Happiness is actually under our feet, where we are sitting. He is there when we are fully with someone, when we taste a good meal, when our child draws a picture, when we manage to do something good for others ... We could draw up infinite lists. But all these pleasures appear and disappear. Our illusion is that we could hold them back.

Where does this illusion come from?

Federico Jôkô Procopio: It is linked to the fact that we live in the wrong place. We live constantly in the past - which no longer exists but which we are constantly rethinking -; or in the future - which is not yet, but which we think will be better -. Except that nothing exists outside the present moment, which, hardly named, has already disappeared. And it is precisely in this present that there is a feast of existence to savor.

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