Buddhist Base Continues to Grow

June 5, 2007

Author: Giancarlo Rinaldi

Source: BBC News


Turn a corner on a rural road in Dumfries and Galloway and what might you expect to find?

Some sheep, perhaps, or a wind turbine or two - but probably not an enormous development for Buddhist study.

Yet the Samye Ling Tibetan centre and monastery at Eskdalemuir has become an integral part of the region's landscape.

This year it is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its outpost in the south west of Scotland.

It was back in 1967 that the founder Akong Rinpoche bought Johnston House on the outskirts of the village to establish a centre for the study of Buddhism. Four decades on and he is still there.

He recalls quite clearly the consternation of the local community when they first arrived.

"When they heard it was Tibetan people they thought it was maybe like witchcraft," he admitted.

"Especially when they heard we did not believe in God - I think they were very upset because they did not have much knowledge of Buddhism.

"It has taken many, many years to understand each other."