Although a somewhat unlikely location in the English park of Willen Lake North in Milton Keynes, is the location of the first peace pagoda to be built in the Western world.
A peace pagoda is a Buddhist monument built as a symbol of world peace and is meant to promote unity among all the peoples of the world regardless of race, creed, or border. Peace pagodas have been built all across Asia, often in places that seem to need the most healing such as the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where American atomic bombs took the lives of more than 150,000 people at the end of World War II. There are now more than 80 peace pagodas across Europe, Asia, and the United States, but the first of the Western temples was built in the town of Milton Keynes in England.
The peace pagoda at Willen Lake was completed in September 1980, with an inauguration ceremony that was attended by religious leaders and world peace activists from across the globe. The ceremony was lead by Nichidatsu Fujii, founder and teacher of the Order of Nipponzan Myohoji, the Buddhist sect that built the structure near to their temple headquarters.
Surrounding both the temple and the peace pagoda are 1,000 cedar and cherry trees, planted in remembrance of all victims of all wars. At the top of the hill between the pagoda and the temple stands the One World Tree which has prayers, messages of hope and small ornaments attached to it as memorials for loved ones lost.
Know Before You Go
Willen Lake North is situated between the H4 Dansteed Way and H5 Portway, and between V10 Brickhill St and V11 Tongwell St, in northern Milton Keynes. The pagoda can be viewed from the A509 road that goes from the M1 into central Milton Keynes.