France -> Vietnam, Da Lat
By Jean-Michel Pauly
- To care for orphaned children on a daily basis, mainly young girls in a Buddhist monastery, as well as the many nuns who run the orphanage.
- To meet the needs of local people who cannot afford to go to traditional medical centres.
- For the TCM students to practice intensively Tuina, Acupuncture and Shiatsu for the shiatsushis.
From dream to reality
Since I was very young, the desire to immerse myself in Asia was latent. When the incredible opportunity to practice shiatsu and TCM in a Buddhist monastery – Orphanage for 3 weeks – came up, I let my imagination wander, mixing memories of Tribulations of a Chinese in China, images of 7 years in Tibet or the City of Joy.
At the beginning of August 2019 we left the buzzing Ho Chi Min City, ex Saigon, and after a two-hour flight we landed in Dalat at the beginning of the night.
We climbed into a van with our backpacks and a 4×4 driven by two nuns, and the adventure began.
In the monastery we took our quarters in rooms that the nuns had kindly prepared and left for us. Around 4am the waking dream began.
Imagine being awakened by the sound of bonshō (Buddhist bells), also known as tsurigane (hanging bells) and the chanting of a nun calling for prayer…
A real connection, or rather, a real teleportation without Brad Pitt!
From now on, we will live to the rhythm of the bells, the giant taiko, the Buddhist chants, quite simply.
Between the vegetarian meals and prayers, the Buddhist festivals organised by the Temple, we would devote our time to massaging and caring for the children, the nuns and some of the inhabitants of the Temple’s surroundings.
Beginning of care
While I expected more reluctance, the enthusiasm and desire to be massaged surprised me. Tam Hanh, the senior nun who started the orphanage, was quick to ask for a shiatsu because she felt a lack of energy. It was a great honour for me and during the massage I remember feeling a great softness, a great warmth, but also tension or tan in the spleen and stomach meridians.
The massage must have had an effect because not without malice and humour, I learned a few days later that I was nicknamed Energetizor at the monastery.
The experience of the massages allowed me to verify that the Vietnamese had a more profound KI and above all a much easier relationship with the massage and the energetic body.
The pathologies essentially encountered were related to the climatic energy humidity, food (without meat) and physical work. Arthrosis of the limbs, pathologies related to the blood (anaemia for example or disturbance of the menstrual cycle), energy of the spleen and the stomach in imbalance.
With the children we practised a lot of cranial massages, the joko line, finally working often on the yins of the arms, the bands of the feet, the kidney.
The fundamental desire to touch and to be touched is widely understood…
In the middle of our stay, our hosts offered us a two-day break at the beach… 7 hours of bus ride on the way there and on the way back on winding mountain roads. I didn’t remember how sick the children could be…. and some adults as well.
To avoid this inconvenience on the way back, we made anti-sickness bracelets out of elastoplast and wooden balls taken from bracelets bought on the market, all placed on the MC6. Well, the result was very effective, tested and approved! The return journey was much calmer.
It was an immense pleasure to be able to give comfort and receive in exchange dozens of smiles and laughter in all simplicity.
The lesson of life
Before closing this diary, I remember today an extraordinary lesson in life given by these children, these girls and these women.
To sum up, during this trip, I don’t think I’m going too far in writing that we received much more than we gave, which is a fairly classic feeling during this type of “humanitarian” mission, as our hosts are more humanitarian than we are.
Simplicity, lightness and light!