His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama arrived at Lerab Ling on 21 August to conduct the inauguration of the Lerab Ling temple. He was greeted by more than 2000 people who lined the road all the way down from the Lerab Ling gate. His Holiness walked the length of the road, together with Sogyal Rinpoche, greeting people along the way.
Three thousand people attended the inauguration on 22 August, including Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche and Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and many other lamas, 700 guests, including Madame Sarkozy, the First Lady of France, other dignitaries, and senior figures from different religious traditions. 2000 members of the Rigpa sangha also attended.
This historic event was video-streamed to more than 1000 Rigpa sangha members around the world.
In welcoming the guests to Lerab Ling, Sogyal Rinpoche said of the temple:
My deepest wish and prayer is that this temple will play a leading role in transmitting the authentic Buddhist teachings here in Europe for generations to come.
We intend that this temple will become a centre of learning and contemplation, open to all different faiths, and a meeting place between various disciplines and traditions, one that will make a major contribution to the spiritual and cultural life of Europe.
So when you look at the temple, please see it...as a potent symbol of Tibet's spiritual culture, a tribute to the Tibetan people, and an oasis of inner peace and inspiration, but also a gift to the entire world.
The Lerab Ling Temple is an authentic representation and example of the spiritual culture of Tibet. Extensive research and enormous care went into ensuring that it would embody the finest standards of traditional Tibetan architecture, design and decoration.
The centrepiece is a 7-metre tall Buddha statue, a replica of the famous image at Bodhgaya in India, where the Buddha attained enlightnment.
The Bodhgaya image is revered by Buddhist practitioners of all traditions worldwide, and is considered the most sacred image of the Buddha.
This magnificent statue was the focus of the temple consecration ceremony.