2002 Spring/Summer Newsletter


The Rheged Exhibition, Cumbria. August 2006

Samye Ling Stupa
Holy Island Stupas

Mani Wall at Simdzi
Holy Mountain of Drakar

Structures and Settlements




With Spring comes more work on the Stupa as during the winter months outside work on the stupa stopped.
At Tibetan New Year there was a great response for our appeal for new prayer flags for the stupa and all the flags were changed with the help of David Hayward, Mikmar and the rest of the community . Now the snows have melted and the sun is warming the earth again and it's time for the outside work to begin .
Chenden has returned to supervise and organise the different aspects of the building project that includes the bridge to the island, the completion of the canopy entrance and the fitting of the inner shrine with wood panelling and finally the painting of the stupa in white and gold. As he has made the decision to begin working professionally in London he will commute between his paid and unpaid work returning to Samye Ling for longer and shorter periods during the year. He still feels very committed to the project but is balancing that with his commitment to making a new life for himself in the outside world.

Amazing cabinet work for the Inner Shrine
Recently Chenden went to Ireland with Vin Harris who is responsible for the Amitabha Project funding the inner shrine. They went to meet Jinpa who used to be a monk on Holy Island and is a master carver and cabinet maker. Jinpa has been working on the woodwork for the inside of the Stupa. On his return Chenden said "this is going to be the most beautiful Stupa in the world". Here is why. Jinpa is making the whole shrine , wall panelling, cabinets for ashes, stupas and statues, ceiling and floor out of native Irish woods. All the cabinets for holding the ashes will be lined with cherry wood. Door panels will be made of yew, with its Celtic association with death, door frames of oak with yew veneer bookmatched, the four pillars in the shrine in sycamore and there will be ebony inlay . The attention to detail and crafstmanship is astounding according to our reports. Jinpa will be here with Chenden from May12th fitting the base units for the shrine and cupboards and will return in October when the Statues are complete to fit the doors, ceiling, floor and remaining detail. We hope to have all ashes within the Stupa by the end of the year.

Tibetan help is on the way
A sculptor from Tibet is coming for one year to create the large statues in the inner shrine. These will be a thousand armed Chenrezig, Dorje Sempa and Amitabha. Karpu from Helambu in Nepal will return to create the statues of Guru Rinpoche and consorts and complete the Fountain of Blessings, and Pema Dorje will complete the carving on the surface of the Stupa itself. We are truly fortunate to be able to call on such skilled workers for such a length of time.

The Peace Garden and the Bodhi Tree
Some years ago a small Bodhi Tree grown from seed of the Great Bodhi Tree at Bodhgaya in India was donated to Samye Ling. As we did not have a suitable environment for its cultivation it has since been taken care of by the Botanical Gardens in Glasgow. Rinpoche has plans for a large arborium to house the tree with plenty of space inside for meditators. This will be sited close to the Stupa as a symbol of the Buddha's presence. Plans for this will be made this year.

Recently the Stupa Project at Samye Ling invited Ken Cox , a third generation plantsman who has made several expeditions to South East Tibet, to give a slide show if his journeys to the Tsangpo Gorges in South East Tibet. It was very well attended and the talk itself extremely interesting. Ken, who is an expert on Tibetan plants, has agreed to help Rinpoche in establishing a Tibetan Medicine garden. We are hoping that over the years the Peace Garden with become unique in Europe as a place where all the Tibetan medicinal plants that are suitable to this climate can be cultivated, protected and used. This will include trees and shrubs as well as other varieties, many of which are ornamental. Ken had a meeting with Rinpoche with Betty Richardson, (responsible for the landscaping) and Heather Ahmed, a qualified horticulturalist, newly resident at Samye Ling . Heather will dedicate herself to organising and fundraising for the Peace Garden. Will Tooby who has organised the collation and delivery of donated plants for the garden so far, first brought our attention to Ken who runs Glendoick Gardens in Perthshire and is a world famous lecturer in his field. For those interested in the history of plant collection in Tibet Ken has just edited and published Frank Kingdon Wards' The Riddle of the Tsangpo Gorges. There is also interesting additional information from his recent expeditions in Tibet and plans to preserve the sacred area of Pema Ko.

The fundraising Treks to Tibet
We have been heartened and encouraged by the enthusiastic response we have received to our Tibetan Pilgrimage Treks. Once the Samye Ling Stupa is completed we will go on to support the restoration of sacred sites in Tibet. This will also support Tibetans in the autonomous region by providing work and therefore incomes as well as restoring their heritage. The first £600 is going to Akong Rinpoche's monastery this year. There are now fourteen pilgrims waiting to go to Mount Kailash for Saga Dawa with KE Adventure guided by Bradley Rowe this May. Each one has raised £600 for the Stupa Project. We already have several people interested in a unique pilgrimage to Rinpoche's monastery Drolma Lhakang in East Tibet guided by Jill Personn who has been a student of Rinpoche's for many years and has also had many years experience of guiding westerners in Tibet. The Horse Year Special to Amnye Machen, the Holy Mountain in East Tibet, will go via Beijing with Bradley Rowe. Both will take place in October to November. We are now working on the programme for 2003. The BBC is going to broadcast a programme devoted to walking pilgrimage and will be here in April to interview Rinpoche by the Stupa. We hope we are helping to revive this very profound way of connecting with our spiritual life and also, by the way, breathe some of the purest air on the planet and become physically and mentally stronger!
Wherever a holy being has been the land is always holy and whether or not we recognise this the blessing will always remain due to the power of their prayers and the dedication of merit for all beings. Somehow their blessing pervades the landscapes they have inhabited and touches us as we pass through. Many great Tibetan Saints spent years of their lives on pilgrimage and the poems and songs they wrote are still available to inspire us.

Prayer Wheels
There have been many requests for prayer wheels that can be turned while doing the korra round the stupa so we have decided to dedicate a fund for this.. One prayer wheel has already been sponsored. The sponsorship for each one will be £200.00

A very happy, peaceful and prosperous Water Horse year to everyone, and may all your good wishes come true from the Stupa Team at Samye Ling

The Stupa Team at Samye Ling