Rigpa's main retreat centre at Lerab Ling, in southern France, is home to a three-storey temple built in the style of a traditional Tibetan monastery, a unique form of architecture that is an inspiring symbol of the Buddha’s teachings and a remarkable part of the spiritual heritage of the world.
This temple was built to help preserve the unique cultural heritage of Tibetan Buddhism, which is now so endangered in its homeland, and to create a sacred and inspiring environment in which this spiritual tradition can continue to be followed.
The precise design of the temple has been carefully researched and draws on the finest examples of Tibetan architecture still to be found in the Himalayan region.
The entire finishing and decoration of the temple has been completed by skilled artists and craftsmen from Tibetan communities in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
Guided and supervised by masters who are great authorities on the principles of Tibetan Buddhist sacred architecture, these artists, who are themselves considered to be masters of their crafts, have produced some of the most authentic and aesthetically beautiful work to be seen at any Tibetan monastery in the world.
The centrepiece of the Institute is a magnificent seven metre high statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, made in Burma in the likeness of what is universally recognized in the Buddhist world as the most sacred representation of the Buddha, the renowned statue at Bodhgaya, India, the place of Buddha’s enlightenment. Beside it are one thousand exquisite bronze images of the Buddha.
The temple also houses a remarkable collection of sacred Buddhist paintings, images and relics.
The site of the temple was blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he visited Lerab Ling in 2000. In 2005, Kyabjé Trulshik Rinpoche gave it the Tibetan name Palri Pema Ösel Dargyé Ling.
The temple is open to visitors from April to November on Sundays, 2pm-6pm.