Scotland is home to some unique hidden gems and this biggest Buddhist monastery in Eastern Europe is centrally one of them.
How to get here
I was thinking where I should kick this blog off, it didn’t take me long to decide.
Recently I’ve heard about the Buddhist monastery Kagyu Same Ling. The Biggest one in the West and luckily, located in southern Scotland.
It was visited by famous people such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, David Bowie or Leonard Cohen.
The full name of this complex is Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Tibetan Centre For World Peace and Health and it’s located in a peaceful valley Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway and it’s easy accessible from the M74.
Not long after I have passed Eskdalemuir, I could already see The Victory Stupa.
First impression when I’ve entered the centre was extremely positive, breathtaking and confusing at the same time.
Just like little Tibet right in the middle of Scotland! The pathway to The Stupa is surrounded by flags with mantras printed on them.
On the left there is a pond, with a golden statue of Nagarjuna sitting on a huge cobra.
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What can you expect when visiting?
A Stupa in Tibetan stands for ‘basis of offerings’ and is a 2,500-year-old spiritual technology introduced and taught by Buddha Sakyamuni to help transform and purify pollution and imbalance.
Sounds awesome! I just couldn’t take my eyes off of the beauty and harmony around.
Then I saw the Buddhist monks in their recognisable maroon robes, speaking away in their own language.
They shared a smile with me as I passed them.
They were walking in a clockwise direction around Stupa Garden, which is believed to be most beneficial for karma and respectful for the Stupa.
Behind the Stupa is The Prayer Wheel House. It is used to increase peace and harmony, relieve the suffering of all beings and enrich the environment.
It was the ultimate spiritual moment when I walked around and span the wheels. Then I went to see the biggest Buddhist Temple in the West.
It’s absolutely impressive for anyone who never been in Asia, like me.
It was open in 1988 and all the work was done by members of the community which consist 200 people.
Under the direction of Sherapalden, resident artists and craftspeople produced all the images, carvings, paintings and decorations.
Honestly, they all made a really good job. When it was almost finished, the temple was visited by the Dalai Lama himself, who gave the first teaching in a building that was still covered in scaffolding and tarpaulin.
When I saw it outside I said “wow”, but when I went inside I thought “WOW!”. Absolutely thrilling.
It was freezing that day, so I went to Tea Room to warm up. I hoped for delicious tea, and I wasn’t disappointed.
I ordered “Himalaya Harmony” and it tasted delightful and the ginger, fennel seeds packed a good punch.
I was sitting on beautifully crafted wooden crates covered with handmade blankets.
They looked really soft, but every time I’ve quickly dropped down to sit – BANG! Rock solid ( It really did hurt).
I was thinking “That’s Life – hard when you expect it to be soft”.
While I was drinking my tea I could feel an incredible energy that calms and brings a comfort. All the thoughts are fading away.
Next door to the Tearoom is The Samye Ling Shop which has an extensive range of books, texts, ritual objects and a wide range of gifts and souvenirs for reasonable prices.
Many of them were imported from Nepal as well as made locally. I bought incense made in Nepal and two prayer flags, among other things.
Time run out extremely quickly and it was near 4 pm, so I went to look around to find more treasures.
I walked through gardens and greenhouses, where locals are cultivating vegetables and herbs to pass them to the Organic Shop.
Then I went to see the Liberation Gate dedicated to world peace. It is engraved with mantras and figures that are said to help develop peace of mind in all those who see it or go under it.
My last stop was in The Tara Healing Garden.
It is located in the meadow near the old farm, with the golden statue of Green Tara – Drolma as its centrepiece.
The almost completed garden consist of a twenty-petaled lotus flower built in stone with broad paths radiating from the statue in four directions.
The rest of the meadow is planted with trees and shrubs, including an orchard of native fruit trees, and will eventually be enclosed by a traditional high stone wall.
Is this place right for you?
I would like to invite everyone who’s looking to calm their thoughts, to have a rest from every day “madness” and looking for inspiration to The Kagyu Samye Ling.
I’m sure I’ll go back there, but this time in the summer.