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Temple of Heaven on Earth

“In Albagnano, I want to create a sacred place, a place that — through receiving a special blessing — helps us to practise the spiritual path and awakens our inner purity”

T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Rinpoche



In 1963, Lama Gangchen Rinpoche left Tibet and moved to India as a refugee, where he concluded his studies on Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and Tibetan medicine. Since that time, he dedicated himself fully to the mind and body healing of the people he met, following the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Later, in the 1970s, he had clear visions showing him the importance of establishing himself in a place with five mountains behind and a lake in front.
At first, he searched for this place in India and Nepal; in the 1980s, he moved to the West and continued to search in Greece, Italy and Brazil. It was not until 1999, when he began to rebuild his own monastery in Tibet — keeping true to his commitment there — that Albagnano, a place with all these characteristics, was finally found. In the very same year he founded the Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre, in Tibetan: Gangchen Choepel Ling.

The environment

Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre is located in Albagnano, a part of Bee town in the province of Verbania-Cusio-Ossola, Italy. Overlooking the suggestive panorama of Lake Maggiore, at an altitude of six hundred metres, it is immersed in woods that border the Holy Trinity of Ghiffa Nature Reserve and the Val Grande National Park.

Tibetan Buddhist temple

Lama Gangchen Rinpoche made clear that he was building the Temple, not for himself but for the present and future generations. He strongly believed that we need places dedicated to relaxation, healing, study, prayer and meditation, places where we can find the conditions to cultivate our qualities and reach a deeper state of inner peace.
The Temple is an impressive circular structure similar to a mandala. It is inspired by sacred Tibetan Buddhist architecture and by the Borobudur stupa-mandala, a monument built in the VIII century on the island of Java in Indonesia.
Lama Gangchen gave the name Borobudur — the Temple of Heaven on Earth, which means ‘the place where you meet the sacred’.

Sacred architecture

All the indications for the design of the Temple were given directly by Lama Gangchen Rinpoche. The detailed plans were then made, with great dedication, by Lama Michel Tulku Rinpoche. Every stage of the construction followed traditional Tibetan Buddhist religious and spiritual guidelines. Work on the Temple was accompanied by ceremonies and blessings by many lamas and monks.

The Temple fully respects the traditional sacred architecture of Tibetan Buddhism. A large quantity of blessed objects and printed mantras have been placed in the walls, and symbolic ornaments adorn the outside of the building.
Rising up from the roof are the twelve victory banners called gyaltsen — decorative metal cylinders that contain precious substances, rolls of mantra and incense. These gyaltsen, representing victory over ignorance, egoism, hatred, dissatisfaction and other ‘mental poisons’, are traditionally used to protect the environment and spread blessings in all directions.
On the pinnacle of the roof is the impressive genjira, which symbolises the ultimate goal of the Temple: the development of one’s own qualities and the realisation of inner peace. This is also filled with relics and holy objects.


The construction of the Temple was carried out with maximum respect for the environment and, where possible, natural and locally sourced materials were used. Other than the pre-existing ground floor, the entire structure is built from wood. The building is energy efficient: using cork for insulation — and not plastic materials — it can ‘breathe’ and at the same time insulate itself against heat and cold. The heating and cooling systems use geothermal energy, while photovoltaic solar panels make the Temple highly energy self-sufficient.

Inside the Temple

The Temple is open to the public, not only as a place for worship but also as a place where people can come to reflect and relax, or simply visit.
On the ground floor is the gompa, the main prayer hall, a place dedicated to receiving teachings, meditation and prayer. From the centre of the hall rises an imposing column filled with more than 100,000 rock crystals that represent our pure nature — in other words, our potential to achieve inner peace.

The walls are completely decorated with traditional Buddhist paintings, similar to those found in the most important Tibetan monasteries. On the ceiling, one can admire the ‘ocean of mandalas’ that consists of 108 circular mandalas and a central square mandala that symbolise the path to develop inner peace, compassion and wisdom.

The ceiling is divided into five areas of five different colours; these traditional colours are found repeatedly in Buddhist symbology and represent the antidotes to the so-called mental poisons, the causes of our suffering.

The main prayer hall is home to the statues of the five principal male and female buddhas: they represent the qualities we can all develop by overcoming our mental poisons. These lava stone statues, carved in Indonesia, have been painted by local artists using natural pigments.



On the first floor, on the south-facing side, is a bright and welcoming room dedicated to Tara, the female manifestation of enlightenment. It is a space for prayer, meditation, teachings and lectures.

On the north-facing side of the same floor is a room dedicated to courses, seminars and physical exercise such as yoga, qi gong and martial arts.

Also on the first floor is the Peace Culture Museum. Presently exhibited is an illustrated biography with highlights of the extraordinary life of Lama Gangchen Rinpoche. It is planned that the museum will become a multi-media space for exhibitions on various subjects relating to spiritual development and peace.


On the south-facing side, overlooking the lake, is a large meditation hall dedicated to spiritual retreats and meditation.

On the north-facing side is a Buddhist library. It will house a collection of precious antique Tibetan texts, together with their translations into Western languages. There will be space for modern texts on Buddhist philosophy and practice, as well as on other disciplines such as traditional Oriental medicine, history, anthropology and pedagogy. It will be a haven for people needing a calm and quiet place for study and reading.

On this floor there is also a small prayer hall, traditionally present in every monastery, dedicated to the Dharmapala, symbol of the protection of the spiritual teachings and of world peace.

Inside the Temple can be seen many other sacred Buddhist objects from different countries: Tibet, China, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Korea.

The Temple has state-of-the-art systems for simultaneous translation, video projection and streaming, allowing people from all over the world to follow the activities live.

“Coming into contact with a sacred place creates conditions that help us to relax, heal and positively transform our mind.”

T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Rinpoche

Come to visit us!
Guided tour every sunday at 14:30