Visiting The First Buddhist Centre In The West

Samye Ling.jpg

I have always been fascinated by Tibet. Osho said that every spiritual seeker has been a Tibetan in at least one past life. And Osho himself in his previous incarnation was a Tibetan Master, whose body is preserved in Tibet.

I spent Easter 2017 at Kagyu Samye Ling, the first Buddhist centre established in the western world. Kagyu Samye Ling is situated in Scotland and is linked to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

I like to think of Scotland as the Tibet of the West. The first time I set foot in that magical land, I felt immediately a strong connection. I sensed a deep spiritual vibe, an environment conducive to meditation, a place where to feel at home, relax and let go. It is perhaps not by chance that the Tibetans chose Scotland as the place to take roots in the West and preserve their endangered spiritual tradition.

Kagyu Samye Ling is a truly stunning complex, nestled in a remote location, benefitting from a nearby river and natural beauty all around. The river gives energy, freshness and vibrancy. It is a wonderful symbol of the mind's mechanism: the perennial stream of thoughts, always changing and moving, yet something of the eternal is there. Many Masters have used the metaphor of the river to explain what meditation is about: meditation is watching the thoughts coming and going, as if you are standing by the bank of a river watching the water flowing down.

As you might know Buddhism originated in India and then spread over the South East Asia, as well as Tibet. Due to its impervious surrounding mountains and harsh geographic conditions, Tibet’s natural protections guaranteed its inhabitants a sort of isolation. This meant that for many years the Buddhist tradition was preserved intact and uncontaminated. This is why I highly respect Tibetan Buddhism as to me it feels authentic and pure. In fact, the energy in the monastery is surprisingly vibrant and alive. Too often religious institutions lose their spirit and become dead entities, whose people turn into bureaucrats executing task mechanically. On the contrary, the monks and nuns at Samye Ling have a sparkle in their eyes and transpire vitality, enthusiasm and commitment. My guess is that this comes from the main source, Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, whom I believe is a fully realised being. When there is an alive source of light, this naturally radiates to infuse life on everything that is around. In addition, some of the most eminent Lamas from the Kagyu tradition have come to teach at the centre, as well as the Dalai Lama himself.

Also I was very pleasantly surprised to see so many people there. And lots of them took the formal initiation into Buddhism, meaning committing themselves to become better persons following the Buddha’s teachings.

All this was refreshing. It certainly makes me happy to see other human beings interested in spiritual growth over material concerns. We are all very different individuals and fortunately there are many spiritual paths available; we just need to choose the right path for us and walk on it.

This visit made me appreciate even more (if possible) how fortunate I am to be with Osho. The love, compassion and light emanating from Lama Yeshe, triggered in me a deep sense of gratitude towards my Master. Osho is for me an infinite source of inspiration, insight and understanding. It is the water that nourishes the dormant Buddhahood seed inside me, which I hope one day will blossom.  

Osho is alive in all those who love him. All Osho lovers carry a particular fragrance of Osho. And whenever we meditate, rejoice and celebrate we realise his message. It took the Tibetan Lamas many years of commitment and perseverance to grow the centre into a vibrant monastery. So who knows, perhaps the next big Osho oasis will flourish in Scotland. Will you join us?