A Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. Most (though not all) have been built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii (1885-1985), a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist Order. Fuji was greatly inspired by his meeting with Mahatma Gandhi in 1931 and decided to devote his life to promoting non-violence. In 1947, he began constructing Peace Pagodas as shrines to World peace.
The first Peace Pagodas were built as a symbol of peace in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the atomic bombs took the lives of over 150,000 people, almost all of whom were civilian, at the end of World War II.
The Shanti Stupa in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) was built by Nipponzan-Myōhōji monks, headed by Head monk Nakamura, with the help of local people. It is situated at a hilltop in Changspa village providing a bird's eye view of Leh town and the surrounding mountain peaks. The stupa was opened by the Dalai Lama in 1985.
Balanced on a narrow ridge high above Phewa Tal, the brilliant-white World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara QTVR is a massive Buddhist stupa which was constructed by Buddhist monks from the Japanese Nipponzan Myōhōji organisation. Besides being an impressive sight in itself, the shrine is a vantage point which offers spectacular views of the Annapurna range and Pokhara city. There are three paths up to the pagoda and several small cafes once you arrive.
Created by the Kingdom of Nepal for the 1988 World Exposition, Brisbane's World Expo '88, the Brisbane Nepal Peace Pagoda is now a permanent commemorative structure of the Expo, and is now located at the transformed Expo site, South Bank Parklands.
The three-storied Pagoda was constructed of Nepalese Terai timbers, and assembled on the Expo site for the Expo. It was relocated to its new riverfront location at the conclusion of the Expo for the opening of the Parklands in 1992. It now features commemorative displays of the Expo, and a place for quiet and reflection. A Peace Bell also features, as well as a Peace Post in the Pagoda garden.
On 26 June 1998, the Dhamma-Talaka Peace Pagoda was dedicated in the Ladywood district of Birmingham. The Venerable Dr. Rewata Dhamma is a senior Burmese Buddhist Monk who is the prime mover behind the building of the Peace Pagoda and the new Buddhist Centre.
The Milton Keynes Peace Pagoda ( 52°03′28″N 0°43′32″W52.057697°N 0.725436°W) was completed in 1980 at the northern edge of Willen lake in Willen, Milton Keynes. This was the first Peace Pagoda in the western world.
The London Peace Pagoda ( 51°28′55″N 0°09′32″W51.482018°N 0.159025°W) was completed in 1985 on the south side of the River Thames in Battersea Park, London. Permission to build it was the last legislative act of the Greater London Council.
The Buddhist master, Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche first visited Spain in 1990, teaching at Karma Guen, a buddhist meditation center near Benalmádena. He built his first Stupa there in 1994, the Enlightenment Stupa of Benalmadena and the largest in the western world at the time, "as a landmark of peace and prosperity for the country". Note that this stupa is not part of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji movement.
The Peace Pagoda in San Francisco ( 37°47′06″N 122°25′47″W37.785054°N 122.429827°W) is a five-tiered concrete stupa in Nihonmachi (Japantown) and is located between Post and Geary Streets at Buchanan. It is part of the Japan Center complex which opened in 1968. It was designed by Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi and presented to San Francisco by the people of Osaka, Japan. This stupa is not associated with Nipponzan-Myōhōji.
The Grafton Peace Pagoda (at 87 Crandall Rd., Petersburgh, New York 12138 42°45′04″N 73°24′32″W42.751109°N 73.408756°W) was dedicated in 1993. (The mailing address of this Pagoda is in Petersburgh as Grafton does not provide delivery service, but the Pagoda is within the boundaries of the Town of Grafton.)