BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

13 November 2014

BBC Homepage

Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Related BBC Sites


Contact Us

London Places

You are in: London > Places > London Places > Peace in the park

Battersea Peace Pagoda

London Peace Pagoda, Battersea

Peace in the park

The London Peace Pagoda has been a landmark along the Thames for over 20 years - but what is a Buddhist Temple doing in Battersea?

At a time when the cold war and the fear of nuclear attack appeared to be escalating the offer of a Peace Pagoda to promote world peace and harmony certainly seemed appropriate.

One of four gilded statues of Buddha

One of four gilded statues of Buddha

It was offered to the people of London by the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order as part of the 1984 Greater London Council (GLC) Peace Year.

Nipponzan Myohoji is a religious movement that emerged from the Nichiren sect of Japanese Buddhism. They have been constructing Peace Pagodas as the spiritual focus to unify the movement for peace since 1947. They exist all around the world - in Europe, Asia and the United States.

The pagoda in Battersea was built by monks, nuns and followers of Nipponzan Myōhōji at the behest of The Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii (1885–1985), founder of the organisation.

"My wish has been accepted without question by the people of London and the world. Nothing gives me greater happiness than this in my whole life."

The Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii, last recorded message 1/01/1985

The double-roofed structure, which is 33.5 m high and constructed from concrete and wood, is one of around 80 around the world and the second to be erected in a Western capital city, the first being in Vienna in 1983. It followed the UK's first Peace Pagoda completed in Milton Keynes in 1980.

The Pagoda has four large gilded bronze sculptures of Buddha  on each of its four sides showing some of the Buddha's mudras (hand gestures). The gestures performed by the hands of a Buddha image have specific meanings that refer to some event in the life of the Buddha and denote a special characteristic, eg the image above showing the turning of the Wheel of Dharma.

The London Peace Pagoda is maintained by Wandsworth Borough Council and Reverend Gyoro Nagase offers prayers and serves the Pagoda on a daily basis.

The annual celebration in June brings together Buddhists from all different traditions as well as interfaith representatives who offer prayers for peace. There are also speeches and multicultural events. On 9th August, Nagasaki Day, a Floating Lantern ceremony takes place at dusk to commemorate all victims of war.

"I am delighted with the appearance of the precious stupa in London. May it assemble every effort to create peace. My wish has been accepted without question by the people of London and the world. Nothing gives me greater happiness than this in my whole life".

From The Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii's last recorded message on 1st January 1985.

London Peace Pagoda, Battersea

London Peace Pagoda, Battersea.

Events

24th Anniversary Celebrations are due to take place at the Pagoda on Saturday, 20th June, beginning at 2pm with interfaith prayers and addresses for Peace, including a speech by Bruce Kent, CND.

This will be followed by a cultural programme of dance and music, including a live performance by peace activist singer/songwriter, David Ferrard, who will be travelling from Edinburgh specially for the occasion.

Free light refreshments will be offered at the end. Everyone is warmly invited to attend and offer flowers and incense at this colourful community event.

Location

The Pagoda is located within Battersea Park. It is situated along the River Thames approximately half way between Albert Bridge and Chelsea Bridge.

Official opening times for Battersea Park are from 8am until dusk. However some gates are normally open earlier and stay open later to allow access to facilities in the park (e.g. sports activities or exhibitions).

Facts

  • The second floor of the pagoda is an area forbidden to the public.
  • The Duke of Edinburgh met Reverend Nagase in 2004 when Battersea Park re-opened after an £11m makeover.
  • The Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii met with Mahatma Gandhi in 1933 and greatly inspired each other.
  • In 1947, he began constructing Peace Pagodas as shrines to World Peace.
  • A Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa, stupa meaning 'heap' in Indian, which contains Buddha's relics, the shape being that of Buddha's folded robes as a base upon which his upturned begging bowl and stick have been placed.
  • Buddhism is the label given to the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha who was born as Siddhartha Gautama and who lived in or around the fifth century BCE in the north eastern region of ancient India.
  • The London Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park is one of 2 in the UK, the other being at Milton Keynes.
  • Permission to build it was the last legislative act of the Greater London Council.
  • Battersea Park is a large (83 hectares/200 acres) Victorian park that formally opened in 1858.

last updated: 28/05/2009 at 14:08
created: 30/09/2008

You are in: London > Places > London Places > Peace in the park



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy