PLANS have been unveiled for a Buddhist centre on the banks of Loch Ness by one of the Dalai Lama’s closest friends.
• Close ally of the Dalai Lama unveils peace centre plans for Loch Ness to due love of Nessie
• Centre would join a number of similar projects including the Monastery in Dumfries and Tibetan centre on the Holy Isle
• Dalai Lama’s love for Scotland and its similarities to Tibet has been well-documented
Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, who escaped Tibet with the spiritual leader in 1959, revealed the plans during a five-day visit to Inverness, where he admitted that his love of the Loch Ness monster had prompted his wishes to build the centre on the banks of the Loch.
There are several similar centres in Scotland already, including the Samye Ling Monastery in Dumfries and a Tibetan centre on the Holy Isle, near Arran. Commenting on the plans, Lama Yeshe said: “When I first came to Scotland, I remember watching these people searching for the Loch Ness Monster.
“I always wanted to know if they would find something. For me, I believe there could be such a thing, or something like it.
“But the main reason for the centre is because there is something missing here.”
One potential site for the centre is Drumnadrochit, although the lama has not disclosed the exact location.
Local businesses have welcomed the news, with the owner of Loch Ness Marketing Willie Cameron saying he would welcome the Tibetan group with ‘open arms.’
He added: “I know in other parts of the country this group has blended in very well in the community and has done a lot of good work.”
Graham Ambrose of Destination Loch Ness added: “If it brings more people from around the world to Loch Ness ... then that can only be a good thing.
“And if people stayed on in the local B&Bs, that would benefit everyone.
“It would be good particularly in the winter months when the area is at its most peaceful.”
Lama Yeshe also unveiled a gift the Dalai Lama brought when he visited the Highland capital in June. The 12ft peace pole was blessed by the Dalai Lama, and has the inscription “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in Tibetan - in his handwriting - and also in English and in Gaelic.
The spiritual leader’s love for Scotland is well documented, and has likened the country to his native Tibet on previous occasions. His taste for porridge was revealed ahead of his visit to the country in June of this year, and, more recently, his passion for the Highlands.