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17 January 2008

Inner peace leads to world peace

The monks and nuns of Samye Ling are active in working with other faiths, and are keen to spread the

By Ani Rinchen Khandro

Since its beginning forty years ago, Kagyu Samye Ling has pursued three main areas of activity; namely spirituality, health and charity. The spiritual aspect is immediately evident in the Buddhist teachings, prayers and meditation practice which are on offer throughout the year.

As well as being a spiritual teacher, Akong Tulku Rinpoche is also a doctor of Tibetan Medicine. One of his main aims has been to preserve this vast area of healing for the benefit of all beings. Under his direction a fully accredited system of psychotherapy has evolved in which Buddhist philosophy combines with Western therapy to create a holistic system aimed at relieving mental and physical suffering to bring about a more balanced and joyful state of being. It is run under the auspices of Tara Rokpa Therapy, which now has branches throughout the UK and around the world.

Rokpa is the Tibetan word for help. It is also the name of our charity which was originally set up to help Tibetan refugees, but now has branches in many countries which raise funds for hundreds of projects in Africa, Nepal and in Tibet itself. The projects range from orphanages, schools and clinics to cultural and environmental preservation projects in remote areas where no other help may be available.

Interfaith relations are also an important part of Samye Ling’s activities and Akong Rinpoche’s brother, Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche who is Abbot of Samye Ling and a prominent member of the Interfaith Council, works with leading representatives from all major faiths to promote harmony and understanding. One of his main projects has been the acquisition and development of Holy Island, off the west coast of Scotland, where he has built a long term retreat Centre at the south end of the island and the magnificent interfaith Centre for World Peace and Health at the north end. The Centre was built with great sensitivity to the unique ecology of Holy Island, with its profusion of wildlife, flora and fauna, using environmentally friendly materials and technology. People of all faiths and nationalities come to enjoy a variety of therapeutic courses or simply unwind in the pure, natural environment.

These two indefatigable Tibetan brothers work constantly to benefit beings in whatever way is most appropriate. As Akong Rinpoche says, “People in the West rarely suffer from physical hunger but their minds may be undernourished or stressed therefore therapy and meditation can be very valuable to restore mental health and balance.” Their immediate goals are to complete the Samye Ling Monastery complex with the building of an educational wing, and to establish a substantial Tibetan Buddhist Centre of Peace and Health in Edinburgh.

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With a large population of Buddhists and people of other faiths interested in meditation, therapy, interfaith and cultural activities the Scottish capital would provide fertile ground for such a Centre to flourish. A suitable property has already been identified. It is now a matter of raising funds to enable it to happen. It is said that, “to build temples and places where wisdom, truth and compassion flourish will generate much virtue which will last as long as even one stone or brick of the building continues to exist.”

If you would like to help or you wish to know more about this or any of the projects mentioned, you can contact Ani Rinchen Khandro on Tel.013873 73232 ext. 241

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