Temple des Mille Bouddhas (Temple of One Thousand Buddhas) – La Boulaye, France - Atlas Obscura

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Temple des Mille Bouddhas (Temple of One Thousand Buddhas)

La Boulaye, France

On the grounds of a former estate in Burgundy stands an elaborate temple that is modeled after the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery. 


The Temple des Mille Bouddhas (Temple of One Thousand Buddhas) is located in the southern Morvan, near the village of La Boulaye. Dragons and banners are now part of the Burgundian landscape.

This Vajrayana Buddhist center was established in 1974 in the castle of Plaige by the Very Venerable Lama Kalu Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama and founder of several monasteries. The Buddhist center was officially recognized as a religious congregation in 1995. Today, about 30 monks live on the site. The congregation Dakchan Kagyu Ling is the most important center in Europe.

Opened in August 1987, the Temple des Mille Bouddhas was modeled after Samye, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Bright colors, sculptures, and huge golden statues can be found all around the temple, which measures 26 meters (85 feet) long, 22 meters (72 feet) wide, and 20 meters (66 feet) tall, and consists of three levels to represent the body, speech, and mind of Buddha. It was financed by donations and decorated by volunteers, including a number of artists from Bhutan.

Inside the temple is the main prayer hall, with three monumental statues, six to seven meters (20-23 feet) tall. In the center is the statue of the historical Buddha, sitting in the lotus position. The left statue represents the Guru Rinpoche, who introduced Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century. On the right is the statue of the Green Tara, a symbol of compassion. The Temple Mount is surrounded by 36 small stupas. The ceiling is decorated with six large mandalas and many murals, depicting the life of Buddha and the various lines that have succeeded him.

The great stupa at the entry portal is surmounted by a wheel of life and with a welcome inscription. Near the temple stand a fountain and two small glass buildings, one for light offerings and the other containing a Prayer Mill. Around the park, there are prayer masts and 35 small stupas, as well as another small building that holds a statue of Buddha.

It is possible to come to the Buddhist monastery for meditation and other classes. Several small lectures or special event classes are offered year-round. Small cabins on the property have been built for visitors who want to stay for a longer time. Courses in yoga, ikebana, reiki, tai chi, qi ging, and calligraphy are offered as well. It is also possible to attend one of the rituals in the temple, which usually take place before and after the opening hours. 

Changing exhibitions of Buddhist art can be viewed at the gallery throughout the year. In the building behind the temple, a small store offers Buddhist items, books, and souvenirs.

Know Before You Go

Entrance to the park and the site is free and available at any time.

The inside of the temple can be visited Wednesday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Guided tours are available at certain times of year. Check the temple website for more information.

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