21 August 2019

The Pagoda, Noyant d'Allier, Allier (03)

Noyant d'Allier was an important mining village from the middle of the 19th century until the closure of the mine in 1943. From 1955 France repatriated a number of Francophone refugees from Indochina, one of the major receiving villages being Noyant d'Allier, which housed the immigrants in the former miners' dwellings. Some clips on YouTube reveal that some Vietnamese felt unease, perhaps particularly the now grown children who felt deracinated because their childhood and their culture had been removed from them. However, newcomers in time adapted themselves to their new country. In 1983 the Buddhist community in Noyant built a pagoda.

A Buddha is not a divinity because a person can become enlightened and a become a Buddha too. There are a number of statues in the park, one of which represents a reclining Buddha, head to the east and feet towards the west, symbolising reaching nirvana.

Two lines of statues lead to the columbarium, with at the beginning the lord of hell, while further on is the feminine representation of Buddha, an awakening destroying gender constructs, constructs good and evil... and then there is a monumental statue, in gold, of Buddha Sakyamuni in meditation. Buddha was originally a marine turtle.

Between this statue and the pagoda are four representations of Buddha: in meditation, protected by cobras; alone; with five adepts; young, with a monkey and elephant, recalling the stories received during youth.

Any errors made here are entirely due to me, and I welcome any corrections to a subject of which I know very little!

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