The International Buddhist Centre of Le Bourget was founded by Venerable Parawahera Chandaratana. It was inaugurated in 1989, thanks to a few devotees belonging to various citizenships including some French people who wished to know Buddha's teachings. Venerable Chandaratana was at first Primate of the first ever founded Sri Lankan Buddhist temple in France, which was founded by the members of the Association Bouddhique Dhammachakka (“Dhammacakka Buddhist Association”) in the town of Ermont (France) in 1984. He dwelled there approximately two years, serving the community in the field of various religious activities before being obliged to leave it because of adverse circumstances that occurred.
A French man, who was a Buddhist devotee, put at his disposal a flat around the end of the year 1986, so that he could keep his religious activities in motion. Several French persons along with numerous Buddhist faithfuls belonging to various nationalities, members of the new International Buddhist Centre, were pioneers in this grandiose task. They were particularly passionate by learning and transmitting Buddha's teaching.
A house was bought in 1988 at a peaceful spot not far away from the Bourget airport, and transformed into a temple, with the support of several members of the Sri Lankan community among others. It was a little house that provided a shelter for Venerable Chandaratana and Venerable Tawalama Dhammika in January 1989.
On the 17th of September 1989, the International Buddhist Centre in France was officially inaugurated under the auspicious blessing of Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maithri Mahanayaka Thera, and before the presence of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in France of that time, Mr. Ananda W.P Gurugé, and some members of the Buddhist Clergy residing in Europe and USA including also some members of the Buddhist Community belonging to various citizenships. Today, this centre has become an important spot for persons who aspire to the learning and practice of Buddhism, and for those who solicit an auspicious place for meditation.
In it, a set of books about the Buddhist teachings is available, and the Centre has already published about thirty books up to now. We spread at large scales works of prominent authors such as Venerable Walpola Rahula, Venerable Hénépola Gunaratana and also Dr. Mohan Wijayaratna. The Centre's Website www.centrebouddhiqueinternational.com gives numerous details and information to those who ask for them and who are interested by the study of Buddhism.
The International Buddhist Centre helps those wishing to learn Buddhist philosophy and who aspire to the Truth. Buddha's path is free from all constraints and it doesn't try to get new votaries. To those who were meeting Buddha for taking refuge into the Triple Gem, Buddha declared that only the one who studies and practices his teachings, who understands and chooses them as the upright path, can be considered to be a Buddhist. The Buddhist doctrine lies in « come to see » (Ehipassiko, come and see by yourself) while discarding any blind belief. Buddha did express it on many occasions in his sermons. Buddhism is not based merely on faith and devotion, but on the discernment and the putting into practice of the teaching, the only way to yield beneficial fruits. In brief, the practice of Buddhism gives to the practitioner the possibility to live a healthy and peaceful life without wronging anyone among living beings.
The monks residing at the International Buddhist Centre are Venerable Parawahera Chandaratana , Primate of the Centre, Venerable Kendavinne Rahula and Venerable Kahattewela Sugatasiri. The Centre does provide a support to Communities belonging to various countries such as: Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia, China, Thaïland, Burma… and it is committed to some charity projects for underprivileged persons.
Since PARIS: By car through Porte de la Chapelle and the highway A1 exit LE BOURGET or through Porte de la Villette and N2.
By RER line B of RER direction CDG (beware there are direct trains between Gare du Nord and CDG that doesn't stop at Le Bourget station) or Mitry-Claye since Paris station LE BOURGET metro line N°7 station LA COURNEUVE then Bus n°152, 607, 609.
Although the founding President of the Centre is of Theravada obedience, the vocation of his centre, as its name indicates it, is to serve as a fraternal link of collaboration between all Buddhist communities, regardless of schools and lineages. The Centre does warmheatedly welcome Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, should the latter wish to discover Buddha's teachings. Moreover, the President often asserts that Theravada isn't a proselytizing tradition and in such a tradition, it is not about merely believing, but rather seeing and experiencing by oneself. A significant number of Westerners have paid a visit to the Centre over the years, and to none of them it has been proposed to become Buddhist. In fact, in Buddhism, it is about taking refuge in the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha) and not really converting.
The centre is providing a library and it receives the support of two translators. One of them is a French national of Greek Cypriot origin who speaks, reads and writes several Asian tongues and the other one, who has been naturalized French, is of Iraki background and he holds two P.H.D., in compared semitic languages and in history of religions. The centre also does publish a quarterly review bearing the name Sambodhi, containing some scholarly articles on Buddhism, its doctrinal aspects, its philosophy and history. The Centre underwent, in its architectural aspect, important transformations in recent years. Indeed, a new building has been erected in 2014, situated on the back side of the inner courtyard. This building exists on three levels, an underground floor that provides a dining room during ceremonies and festivals and serves also as a classroom, a ground floor with a Buddha hall, a 1st floor with two monk rooms and a Buddha hall.
The Presiding monk organizes also some charity activities while receiving and collecting donations made by Upâsakas and Upâsikas (lay men and lay women), under the shape of computers, school supplies, etc., which he forwards to poor children and underprivileged families in Sri Lanka. Some important communuties originating from South East Asia, mainly Laotians and Vietnamese, Thaïs or also Khmers and Chinese, also attend the Centre and the Presiding monk speaking French well, the communication with these communities is easy. A very long time ago, a Bhikkhu of French origin, who had lived in Sri Lanka, gave some teachings in the Centre. Then, a German nun called Indavati taught Vipassanâ meditation in the Centre but the Centre is still expecting to have a resident monk, who expounds the Dhamma, and who has the title of Kammathanâcâriya. It means he has the function of instructor in Vipassanâ meditation. Before the nun Indavati, a very proficient French monk has rendered great and loyal services to the Centre and to Buddhism: his name was Dhammapalita.
The International Buddhist Centre is not a forest monastery. The presiding monk directs some guided meditations on Saturdays from 3.P.M. To 5.P.M., but his function of President and his important responsibilities as ruler of the Centre do not provide him with sufficient free time for managing meditation retreats.
The Centre has a book shop that disseminates the books of an excellent exponent of the Dhamma in France, who is of Sri Lankan background, whom name is Mohan Wijayaratna. The latter translated all the Suttas (discourses) of Majjhima Nikaya and Digha Nikaya. Mohan Wijayaratna, moreover, has also composed about ten other books on Buddhism. Moreover, some interfaith encounters are also planned in Le Bourget and it is currently an opportunity for the President and one of his translators to respectfully and fraternally interact with some Christians and some Moslems residing in Le Bourget. These encounters do revolve around various themes raised by the need for interreligious dialogue in a society that has recently been the target of terror attacks and where some movements of populations further up more and more identity anxieties among many persons.
One of the translators also gave tuitions of Buddhist philosophy on Monday evenings in 2014 and 2015. The best way to make flourish the Buddha Dhamma in France doesn't consist at all in converting Westerners to Theravada but rather in taking the lead in the field of Sîla, ethical virtue. In such a perspective also the meditations on Metta, benevolent love towards all living beings, radiate all over France and they may have an impact on the gloomy social atmosphere that unfortunately plagues it nowadays. In these respects, the presiding monk is very well disposed towards followers of Mahayana en France, in order to define a common attitude whose aim is to pacify French society and the rest of the world. The President is moreover a scholar in the field of Tipitaka (the three baskets of the law) and he has the required qualifications for teaching Pali language. A young monk, residing in the Centre, presently learns French language and he got a sound knowledge of Tipitaka in Sri Lanka. Another Sri Lankan monk who resides in the Centre since a couple of years speaks French well.
The presiding monk was ordained Samanera in Sri Lanka while being very young then, after the age of 20 years old, he was fully ordained as a monk, that is to say a Bhikkhu. In fact, real chastity has nothing to do with neurosis, as would pretend those who fell prey to the myopia of Freudianism, but it is rather the fruit of a mastery of the mind that reached a sufficient level of maturity so that the meditational monk or layman/laywoman naturally directs his mind without repressed urges or any suffering to the superior fields of a profound meditation. The international Buddhist centre does not claim to have the monopoly of Sîla more than other Buddhist institutions in France or in the rest of the world. May this Centre and his worthy President contribute to the interfaith harmony and civic peace in France. May this Centre spiritually radiate on the world and receive all the necessary support for its survival.
A Presentation of Buddhism
Buddhism isn't a belief in the traditional sense of the word; it's a way of life. Buddhism is a way to behave with things, persons and events, in deeds, words and thoughts, a radical mental hygiene leading not an « adaptation » to the world or to a refusal of the world but to a transcendence of the latter. It doesn't impose to blindly follow a series of dogmatic proposals but it does invite us to « see », ascertain and understand through personal experience so as to act moved by an ever deepening wisdom.
This wisdom is the direct insight into the true nature of all that exists: impermanence, dissatisfaction and voidness of real substance, only this wisdom enables us to proceed up to the end of these three characteristics. It leads to detachment and renunciation to any idea of « myself », and it enables to destroy the roots of all sufferings : hatred, greed and illusion.
Being Buddhist means developing a confidence into the « Three Gems » (or Refuges) :
1- Buddha (he is not revered as a person but rather as a representation of supreme wisdom, ideal of perfection reachable by everyone through his own efforts);
2-the Teaching (as ultimate truth, insight into things as they really are) and
3- the Community of Noble Disciples (as an example of virtuous life), and to adopt them as guides. Being Buddhist lies in accepting the basic principles taught by Buddha and working in the field of their verification through the practice of mental culture (or « meditation »), it also consists in having understood the need to live according to the fundamental moral precepts.
Regarding the spirit of tolerance and the wise discernment, Buddha gave advices that are unique in the history of religions.
One day the Buddha visited a certain village. This village was called Kesaputta in the kingdom of Kosala. The inhabitants of this village came to meet Buddha and told:
“Venerable, from time to time various masters come to our village or our town and they give various kinds of instructions.
A master teaches something, then another master comes to teach something totally different.
So many masters from time to time come to our village and give us various teachings. Some of them condemn
the doctrines professed by others.
Now we are beset by doubt and perplexed. We do not know which one is correct and which one is wrong.
Please teach us which way is correct and which way is wrong.
Buddha gave them the following advices that are unique in the history of religions:
« Yes, people of Kalama, it is legitimate that you have doubts.
In fact, you have heard various and contradictory teachings.
In such case it is natural that you have doubts.
But I tell you one thing:
Do not believe in something only because it is transmitted by tradition. Do not believe in something because it is mentioned in
your scriptures. Sometimes in your scriptures there might be some mistake.
Do not believe in a teaching simply because it is given by your Guru because sometimes also your Guru might make a mistake.
Do not believe on the basis of rumors hovering above this teaching.
Don’t believe blindly in what I say.
Whatever you hear, put it down into writing and try to experience it by yourself.
When you experience it and « taste » it, if you consider that it is beneficial and that it does you good, then adopt it, and when
you know for yourself that certain things are unhealthy, wrong and bad, then you should forsake them.
When you know for yourself that certain things are good and healthy, then accept them and follow them. »
«The Four Noble Truths :
1 - Omnipresence of dissatisfaction.
2 - The origin of dissatisfaction is lust.
3 - This dissatisfaction can cease.
4 - The path that leads to cessation is the « Noble Eightfold Path »
revolving around three foundations: Generosity, Morality and Mental Culture.
The Three Characteristics : all that exists in the relative universe is :
1 - Impermanent.
2 - Source of dissatisfaction or suffering.
3 - Void of real substance (« devoid of self »).
The Interdependent origination : everything in the universe exists because of determinative causes and in turn determines other things, nothing is a beginning in itself or an end in itself. (the only exception being the Arahant, the fully liberated being).
Kamma : it is the conscious volitional action, the intention ; it can be beneficial and it can lead to the extinction of suffering or wrongly oriented and a source of suffering. The effects of kamma work according to the principle of action and reaction applied to the moral field.
« Rebirth » : reorganization of vital energies according to the affinities developed in the past, consequence of voluntary and conscious actions, which produce living beings at different levels of evolution.
Nibbana : extinction of sufering through extinction of hatred, lust and illusion, putting an end to any possibility of production of energies into the shape of living beings. It is the Ultimate Peace whose taste can be experienced in this life itself.
To deepen your knowledge about Buddha's teachings, we request you to read the articles on our website :