Samye Ling is a little Buddhist monastery located at a peaceful valley on the banks of the river Esk in Scotland. Established in 1967, considered the first Eastern spiritual community center to be built in the West, acts as a home to a lovely community of exiled Tibetan monks (bhikkus) and laypeople or laypersons (mainly European).
Kagyu Samye Ling, Dumfries y Galloway DG13, Reino Unido
What struck me most, upon visiting this centre on the Summer of 2008, was the peace and tranquility you could feel while walking through its gardens. It almost feels like one step you are in Europe and the next you have entered Asia.
Before visiting this monastery I had never come in direct contact with any manifestation of Eastern Philosophy and my experience with Asia could be narrowed down to Japanese Food and Chinese Food Restaurants. During my visit I got a chance to add Tibetan Food to the list since the monastery grounds include a café where you can eat specially cooked dishes prepared without animal products.
The monastery offers spiritual guidance in the form of:
- Spiritual services.
The monastery garden is designed to represent a place where people can attain a state of peacefulness and for that reason it includes a fountain with a dragon, a pond filled with lily pads and their characteristic flowers, trees with wood wind chimes, benches and rocks to sit on. The grass is left to mimic its natural growth pattern as if it was untouched.
As a curiosity the garden includes a tree filled with wishes. Visitors can pick a little piece of cloth from a wooden bucket that lies beneath the tree, make a wish, tie it to a tree branch and it is said that when all the pieces of cloth disappear, then all the wishes will be granted. You can see that even this tree includes a hidden teaching, in order to have all wishes granted, everything including the tree must disappear or dissolve.
For those of you who are like me and like to take a piece of what you visit home, you can find a Souvenir Shop that sells handmade products and books to help sustain the community. In my case I bought a book, a little statue of Tara the goddess of peace and protection and a some decorative words of wisdom to hang on the wall.