SO MUCH TO CELEBRATE
This weekend KMC Glasgow celebrates its sixth anniversary - which provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the development of Kadam Dharma in Scotland.
As we saw recently with the Scottish Dharma Celebration, Kadam Dharma is very much alive in Scotland. To celebrate the birthday of KMC Glasgow and the wider growth of Kadam Dharma in Scotland we publish this review written by a member of the Glasgow sangha.
The seeds from which all these developments have arisen were sown over 30 years ago when Venerable Geshe Kelsang Rinpoche established a retreat centre called Tharpaland on a remote farm in the forest of Ae in Dumfriesshire. Outwardly just a simple farmhouse and collection of outbuildings, inwardly it became the locus for tremendous spiritual dedication and practice for Venerable Geshe-la and a group of sincere students who had the great good fortune to accompany him on retreat.
By day you could see no human habitation but by night across the valley in the distance you could see the glittering lights of houses appearing like a far off pure land - a powerful reminder that no matter how isolated the place of retreat might be there are countless living beings waiting for Dharma to solve their problems and lead them to freedom from suffering.
Venerable Geshe-la was in retreat in Scotland for over three years. Every day he completed four great sessions. During his meditation breaks he engaged in actions to benefit all living beings, giving advice to his senior students for the success of their Dharma activities, establishing the foundations of modern Kadampa Buddhism and the New Kadampa Tradition and writing five books including Guide to Dakini Land. He demonstrated a perfect example of a deep, disciplined meditator and a dynamic, compassionate guide.
Today we can see the rich harvest of Kadam Dharma appearing from these seeds throughout Scotland.
In Glasgow, Kadam Dharma has taken a very strong hold with a dynamic center of students, teachers and volunteers. The center was purchased with proceeds from the sale of Tharpaland, and the original shrine from the retreat center is now in the residential house of the center.
It seems the people of Glasgow are thirsty for the medicine of Kadam Dharma, with classes every day of the week. Sometimes over 150 people pack into a single class.
The City Temple, a converted commercial space situated in the heart of Glasgow, is already too small for the center's activities.
The center offers a full program of weekly classes as well as regular special events with visiting senior Kadampa Teachers that attract hundreds of people.
There are also short urban retreats and out-of-town retreats. See their website for more information.
In the capital city, Edinburgh, NKT-IKBU purchased a beautiful three-storey building in what is regarded as one of the coolest neighbourhoods of the city, Leith Walk. This was to become the new home of KMC Edinburgh.
After much work, this old commercial building was completely renovated and transformed into a welcoming modern city temple.
According to Venerable Geshe-la’s compassionate vision the center is now open daily at the service of Edinburgh ‘s largely international community.
It is a haven of peace where modern busy people can rest their minds, learn to solve their problems and experience a deep transformation of their life.
Besides the regular classes in the city, KMC Edinburgh offers classes in Dundee, Perth and Scottish Borders. See their website for more information.
Meanwhile in Aberdeen, NKT-IKBU recently acquired a magnificent three-storey building as the new home for KMC Aberdeen. The building is on a main intersection right in the heart of the city.
Work begins soon to create a beautiful modern center that will provide a hub for Kadam Dharma in the north of Scotland.
Besides the regular classes KMC Aberdeen presently has branches in Inverness, Aviemore, Elgin and Inverurie.
The new center is just 10 minutes from the beach. For more information, see their website.
Besides these three centers, dedicated groups of practitioners as far apart as Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders, Inverness, Aviemore, Stirling, Perth and Dundee are meeting regularly, sowing seeds for future centers.
Beyond, Scotland there are many members of the Scottish sangha, once Dharma students in Scotland, who contribute to the running of our wider international organisation.
So it is that the powerful seeds for Dharma in Scotland sown by Venerable Geshe-la through his vision, his compassionate prayers, his decisions and dedication are ripening and multiplying here.
We dedicate all our virtues so that Dharma will grow ever stronger in Scotland, reach ever more people and bring ever more benefit to Scotland and the world.
Thank you Venerable Geshe-la.