MEETING WITH A CUBAN BABALAO
Oddi Yekun visited us in Brussels from 13 to 30 October as part of a cultural exchange funded under the FRIDHA grants.
The approach was experimental. The association has been in contact with Oddi Yekun for almost 3 years. The meeting was held in Cuba twice in 2017 and quite special friendships were forged.
Oddi Yekun is Babalao, or Ifa Chief. He has been studying and practicing the teachings of Yuruba culture and religion for 30 years. Originally from Africa, notably Nigeria, Yuruba culture arrived in Cuba and the Caribbean in the 15th century as a result of the slave trade. To maintain it, the African tribes landed in Cuba had to gradually adapt their worship to the practices of their Spanish and Catholic masters. It is this adaptation that gave rise to the syncretism on which the "santeria" is based today. This is the main religion in Cuba, which affects about 70% of the population.
What was the purpose of this mission?
Oddi Yekun discovered Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism in 2017 and wanted to further study and understand it.
A first objective of this exchange was to have an inter-religious dialogue on the possibilities of a syncretism between Yuruba culture and the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra.