Scotland’s hidden wonders: Kagyu Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery

Monks at the Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery and Tibetan Centre. Picture: Getty Images

Monks at the Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery and Tibetan Centre. Picture: Getty Images

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The biggest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Europe and the first established in the Western world has enjoyed nearly fifty years in Scotland so far

WHAT IS IT?

Samye Ling has been established for nearly 50 years, with its breathtaking  temple taking a decade to complete. Photo: Robert Matthews

Samye Ling has been established for nearly 50 years, with its breathtaking temple taking a decade to complete. Photo: Robert Matthews

Samye Ying is a spiritual attraction unlike any other in Europe, let alone Scotland. As well as being a hub for the Buddhist community in Scotland, the monastery is also a world-famous centre of Tibetan Buddhist teachings, offering instruction in philosophy and meditation within the Karma Kagyu belief system unique to the religion.

Named in honour of the first-ever monastery to be established in Tibet, Samye Ling also works to maintain the Tibetan religion and culture within Europe, with Tibetan architecture, art and handicrafts all on display.

WHERE IS IT?

The monastery is located on the B709 road in Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway. The 112 bus service from nearby Lockerbie serves Samye Ling every day except Sunday, while trains from Edinburgh and the wider area stop at Lockerbie.

Prayers being read at the temple. Photo: Iain Harper

Prayers being read at the temple. Photo: Iain Harper

WHEN WAS IT BUILT?

Opened in 1967, the monastery has remained in its original location ever since its foundation by Tibetans Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. During its formative years, the fledgling monastic community, with the help of artists and craftspeople, built the place of worship under the watchful eye of Buddhist artist Sherapalden Beru. Their original carvings, paintings and handiwork survive to this day in the temple.

WHO DESIGNED IT?

As Samye Ling was the work of a dedicated and devoted religious community, no one person is fully responsible for the decades of work that have gone into the settlement. The centre has welcomed important figures in the Buddhist community throughout its history, such as the Dalai Lama and Sakya Trizin.

Samye Ling's Stupa and statue. Photo: Sarah Lionheart

Samye Ling's Stupa and statue. Photo: Sarah Lionheart

IS IT A TOURIST ATTRACTION?

While Samye Ling is first and foremost a centre for Buddhist teachings and meditation, the monastery welcomes those wishing to learn more about the faith as well as those who are non-religious.

Within the grounds of the centre is the peace garden, which is open to all visitors at any time of day. The temple is open daily from 6am until 9pm, though visitors arriving at meditation times are asked to stay within the grounds for the duration of the meditation.

Those wishing to commemorate their visit can also visit the gift shop and Tibetan Tea Rooms, open from 9am until 5pm daily. Overnight stays can also be arranged in advance, and the temple operates a strict no smoking or alcohol policy.

A monk at the Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery and Tibetan Centre. Picture: Getty Images

A monk at the Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery and Tibetan Centre. Picture: Getty Images

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