Lerab Ling Buddhist Temple in the south of france.

Tibetan Buddhist centers in France

Origin of Tibetan Buddhism in France

The first Tibetan Buddhist communities in France were established in the early 1970s.

The highest-ranking head of schools to reside in France, Phendé Khenchen, established his temple of E Wam Phendé Ling in 1973.

He is of the Ngor school of Buddhism. Buddhism in France’s growth was catalyzed by visits, in 1975 of the Karmapa, head of the Kagyü school, Dudjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, also very high lamas, who visited Dordogne, where they established retreat centers with the help of Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, the son of Kangyur Rinpoche, another high lama who was among the first to take western disciples. Dudjom Rinpoche later moved to France, where he died.

Kalu Rinpoche, also a highly esteemed lama, visited France in 1971, 1972 and 1974 and in 1976 led the first traditional three-year retreat for westerners in France. In the Kagyu lineage such retreats confer the title “lama” on those who complete them. It is estimated that sixty percent of the centers and in France are affiliated with the Kagyu school.

Development of Tibetan Buddhist centers

There are about twenty retreat centres representing all the different schools as well as many town-based centres which are under the direction of great Tibetan Buddhist masters.

Dhagpo Kundreul Ling in Auvergne is said to be the biggest Buddhist monastery outside Asia.

Monasticism has traditionally been the bedrock of Tibetan Buddhism, but there were only a few dozen ordained French monks and nuns until the mid-1990s.

However, there are now at least 300, most of whom were trained at the two monasteries in Auvergne.

Prominent French Tibetan Buddhist monk

The most famous French monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition is Matthieu Ricard, a longtime student of Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche who is the son of famous philosopher Jean-Francois Revel.

He has published books on Buddhism which have contributed to interest in Buddhism and French Buddhists.

Influencial Tibetan Buddhist centers in France

This is a non-exhaustive list of influential Tibetan Buddhist centers in France.

Kagyu-Dzong

The center is a Buddhist center in Paris, affiliated to the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. This center is linked to the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje.

Temple of One Thousand Buddhas

The is a Tibetan Buddhist temple in the commune of La Boulaye, located in the French region of Burgundy. The temple, founded in 1987, follows the Karma Kagyu tradition. It lies in the middle of Dashang Kagyu Ling, a Buddhist retreat center established by the Tibetan lama, Kalu Rinpoche in 1974.

Vajradhara-Ling

is a center affiliated to the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism located in France in Normandy near the city of Lisieux.

Lerab Ling

is a Tibetan Buddhist centre founded in 1992 by Sogyal Rinpoche in Roqueredonde, near Lodève in Occitanie, 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.

Temple for Peace

The is a construction project of the congregation Vajradhara-Ling in Normandy to promote world peace. The cornerstone was laid in 2003 and construction started in 2010. This Temple will be built in the same style as the Samye monastery, the first temple built in Tibet that was founded by Padmasambhava in the 8th century CE.

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