The first Tibetan Buddhist monastery built in Europe was the Temple of the Thousand Buddhas (Kagyu Ling) at La Boulaye, in Sâone-et-Loire, Burgundy.
The first Tibetan Buddhist monastery built in Europe was the Temple of the Thousand Buddhas (Kagyu Ling) at La Boulaye, in Sâone-et-Loire, Burgundy. It is a beautifully coloured temple that is in stark, colourful contrast to the rolling hills around the edge of the Morvan National Park.
The photograph shows the underside of the roof and, in terms of construction, it is surprisingly like the ceilings of the châteaux in the area, only a bit more lively in its colouring!
The temple is open to visitors every day in the afternoon and for a small charge you can go into the gallery and look down into the temple. However, there are two services a day and anyone can join in at no charge.
In July each year the resident Lamas make a large multi-coloured sand mandala which is then on display in the gallery until it is destroyed towards the end of the following June. During the latter ceremony, the sand is poured into the Arroux, a river nearby the centre, which is believed to promote happiness and peace in the world.
The start of the mandala and its destructions are just two of the big festivals held in the temple and in its grounds every year. Chinese new year always attracts a big crowd and in mid-late August the anniversary of the temple is celebrated. In the weeks leading up to the anniversary, sacred dances, folk dances and special prayer rituals are performed which culminate in the grand ritual of Amitayus - the Buddha of infinite life.
Many people come to La Boulaye to enter into a retreat, to join in the various courses and seminars, to enjoy the festivals or to hear the teachings of the visiting Lamas. Others just come to look at the interesting buildings and to see the colourful prayer wheels and prayer flags, normally only seen in the Himalayas.
This blog entry was contributed by Cees van Halderen & Sue Nixon who own two gites near the monastery.