Here is an article in The Guardian about the recent renovation of a little-known but impressive Buddhist pagoda in Paris, apparently home to Europe’s largest Buddhist image. Particularly interesting for me is the way different aspects of French colonial history, migration patterns, contemporary global Buddhism, and even the art scene, have come together to create this Buddhist space.
The Buddha image was constructed in the studio of Spanish artist Joan Miró, while the pagoda itself was built in 1931 as a replica Cameroonian house for a colonial exhibition. It was later acquired by the French Buddhist Union, an umbrella group representing various Buddhist traditions and created following migration of Buddhists from Vietnam and South Asia. Interestingly, the impulse to renovate the pagoda came from Asian Buddhists who were dismayed at its run-down state, thus adding another layer to the site’s complex international character.