- Jean-Louis Michon
Jean-Louis Michon (1924- ) is a French traditionalist
scholarand translatorwho specializes in Islamic artand Sufism. He has worked extensively with the United Nationsto preserve the cultural heritage of Morocco.
Born in France in 1924, Michon was in college at the advent of WWII. There he began studying religion with a group of fellow students.
cquote|I understood that if I wanted to go to God and practice very serious ways, the only way [in
Catholicism] was to become a monk. And I had no vocation to be a monk… So I just waited until something appeared. [Tradition in the Modern World: Sacred Web 2006 Conference ( World Wisdom, 2007)] Already having two diplomas, (one in law, one in English literature), he moved to Paris and enrolled in a program for political science.
This something appeared in the guise of the works of French Traditionalist
René Guénon. Greatly moved by Guénon’s writings, Michon felt the need to enter an initiatic tradition. Michon had a great personal affinity with Hinduismand Buddhism; particularly ZenBuddhism after reading the essays of D.T. Suzuki. [Tradition in the Modern World: Sacred Web 2006 Conference ( World Wisdom, 2007)] He longed to travel to Japanto find a Zenmaster, but Japan was currently at war with his country.
After four months of training, and a few days before the date set for departure to Japan, the atomic bomb was dropped and Japan capitulated. He returned to school to take his final exams and it there in the school library that he read in "La Revue Africaine" an article on the late
Sufimaster Sheikh Ahmad al-Alawi(who had died over a decade before). The article, entitled "Mystic Modernist", mentioned that the late Sheikh had initiated several European disciples into the Sufitradition. The next day Michon began attending prayers at the mosques, and, with the help of Michel Valsan, he converted to Islam. [Tradition in the Modern World: Sacred Web 2006 Conference ( World Wisdom, 2007)]
In 1946 he was offered a position in Damascus as an English teacher, which he took with an idea of furthering his studies in Islam. In 1949 he apprenticed to an architect
draftsmanand moved to Lausanne where he lives to this day. There he lived for many yeas next door to Frithjof Schuonand his wife. In 1953 he married. The Crow medicine man Thomas Yellowtaillater adopted both Michon and his wife into the Crow tribe.
In July of 1946 Michon traveled to Lausanne to be initiated by the disciple of Sheikh al-Alawi,
Frithjof Schuon. In attendance was Martin Lings(with whom he became particularly close).
During Michon’s first trip to Switzerland he traveled to Basel where he met two of Schuon’s closest disciples (and prominent members of the
Traditionalist School); Titus Burckhardtand Leo Schaya.
Over Easter of 1947 he visited Guénon at his home, meeting his wife Fatima and children.
When asked what message he would give the next generation, he replied:
Work with the United Nations
He was the Chief Technical Advisor for 8 years to the Moroccan government on
UNESCOprojects for the preservation of the cultural heritage. He was part of an effort to coordinate the rehabilitation of traditional handicrafts that were endangered by industrialization. He was also greatly involved in the preservation and restoration of the casbahs of Morocco as part of a project designed to protect the city of Fez. [ [http://www.worldwisdom.com/Public/Authors/Detail.asp?AuthorID=27&WhatType=2 Jean-Louis Michon: Life and Work] ]
*"Introduction to Traditional Islam", (
World Wisdom, 2008)
*"Sufism: Love and Wisdom", (
World Wisdom, 2006)
*"Every Branch in Me: Essays on the Meaning of Man." (
World Wisdom, 2002)
*"Lights of Islam: Institutions, cultures, arts and spirituality in the Islamic city," (Lok Virsa, 2000)
*"The Moroccan Sufi Ibn 'Ajiba and His Mi'raj", (Fons Vitae, 1998)
He was also a contributor to the quarterly journal,
Studies in Comparative Religion, which dealt with religious symbolism and the Traditionalist perspective.
* [http://www.worldwisdom.com/Public/Authors/Detail.asp?AuthorID=27&WhatType=2 Jean-Louis Michon: Life and Work]
* [http://unesdoc.unesco.org/ulis/cgi-bin/ulis.pl?database=&lin=1&mode=e&gp=1&look=new&sc1=1&sc2=1&nl=1&req=2&au=Michon,%20Jean%20Louis UNESCO reports by Michon]
NAME = Michon, Jean-Louis
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Traditionalist scholar and Sufi practitioner.
DATE OF BIRTH = 1924
PLACE OF BIRTH =
DATE OF DEATH =
PLACE OF DEATH =
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