The Loch Ness Monster could be confirmed as a “spiritual entity” when a new Buddhist centre opens in the Highlands, it was revealed today.
Britain’s first Buddhist Lama, who is heading up the new project, said Nessie is a “naga” - a water deity which brings prosperity in the religion.
Spiritual director of the project, Lama Gelongmo Zangmo, aims to create a new spiritual centre overlooking the Loch in the Drumnadrochit area this autumn.
Formerly a nun, Lama Zangmo was the first woman in Britain to be chosen as a Lama in Britain in 2001.
Lama Zangmo said yesterday: “Nessie is a naga. We build the relationship with the naga, try to please them and don’t abuse the environment.
“If Nessie is treated well, she will bring prosperity.”
Tributes have already been made at the Samye Ling monastery in Dumfries-shire, a cone-shaped shelter has been made at the nearby River Esk where sacrifices have been left to the spirit.
Dr William Tuladhar-Douglas, Buddhism lecturer from the university of Aberdeen, said: “There’s about 2,500 years’ worth of history behind a gesture like that.”
Lama Zangmo added that Loch Ness has a “special magic”, likening it to the Buddhist retreat on the Holy Isle off Arran on the west coast.
She said: “This is such a beautiful part of the country and it has a very special feel to it.
“The natural setting is wonderful, how pure the air is and the sense of spirit in the Highlands is most magnificent and inspiring.
“The scenery is striking, the light is beautiful and being close to Loch Ness has a special magic about it.”
She has recently returned from several months in India at Bodhgaya, the most revered holy site in the religion, and was given her Highland post last week.
As well as offering yoga and meditation classes, a 10-foot peace pole, blessed by the Dalai Lama, will be displayed there.
She added: “I think there will be huge benefits from the centre, and not just for Buddhists.
“What Inverness lends itself well to is a place of retreat.
“It is a wonderful place for someone to come and do retreat and immerse themselves in learning, mindfulness and how to become less stressed.”