The three-storey Tibetan style temple at Lerab Ling
Lerab Ling is a Tibetan Buddhist centre founded in 1992 by Sogyal Rinpoche in Roqueredonde, near Lodève in Languedoc-Roussillon, France. It contains perhaps the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Europe, which was officially inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 2008 at a ceremony attended by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
Before it became a buddhist retreat centre, the land was known as L'Engayresque, which means 'the place of springs' in the ancient Occitan language. The site was chosen by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in 1990, and was then blessed by Dodrupchen Rinpoche in 1991. It has hosted Rigpa's annual summer retreats since 1992. Since then it has been visited by many of the highest ranking lamas of all Tibetan Buddhist schools, including the Dalai Lama who visited both in 2000 and 2008, and Sakya Trizin in 2007. From 2006 until 2009 a traditional three-year retreat took place with over 300 participants.
The three-storey temple at Lerab Ling with its distinctive copper roofs is based on traditional Tibetan architecture. Its centrepiece is a seven metre high statue of Buddha Shakyamuni crafted in Burma. It also includes 1000 bronze buddha statues representing the 1000 buddhas of this kalpa (aeon). There is a statue of Padmasambhava in the lake to the north-east of the main temple.
Ordained monks and nuns living in Lerab Ling have been formally recognized as a religious congregation under French law.
Lerab Ling is largely closed to the public, but tourists are able to visit on Sunday afternoons.
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