Kagyü Samye Ling
The Chinese annexation of
Tibet in 1959 crushed Buddhism in Tibet but at the same time drove Tibetan
Buddhism into exile in the world at large. Until then, only a handful of
Westerners who had travelled to Tibet had had any experience of it.
Among the refugees were two
lamas of the Kagyu tradition Chogyam Trungpa tulku , Abbot of Surmang, and
Dr Akong Tulku, Abbot of Dolma Lhakang.
They soon became
responsible for the Young Lamas Home School, set up in Dalhousie, North
India, to care for young Tibetan prodigies, considered reincarnations of its
In 1963 the two lamas
accepted an invitation to come to the UK, to study English at Oxford.
Interest soon grew in them and their religion. This resulted in the founding,
in 1967, of Samye Ling Tibetan Centre, the first monastic Buddhist centre of
the Tibetan tradition in the West. More details of this can be found in the
biography of Dr AkongTulku, in these pages.
Placed on the hills near
the border between Scotland and England, Kagyü Samye Ling is the first
Tibetan Buddhist Centre in the West; at first the centre was a
modest country residence, but over the years it has grown becoming a real
monastic centre that can house over a hundred permanent residents.
is an attraction pole for a number of visitors throughout the year, who
either attend one of the wide range of courses and retreats on offer. The
wonderful temple, around which the hub of activity centres, was first
officially opened on 12th august 1988 by the twelfth Tai Situ Rinpoche.
The reputation of the Centre
as a place for spreading high level Buddhist teachings has grown together
with the development of other activities, such as therapy, i
humanitarian help programs, and the preservation and diffusion of tibetan
medicine, arts and crafts.
Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche's
pure motivation, inspiration and tireless activity are the heart of Kagyü Samye Ling's
growth; although his activity often brings him abroad, specially in Tibet,
his presence constitutes the very fiber of Kagyü Samye Ling. Dr. Akong Tulku
Rinpoche helped an immeasurable number of people through his work in the
areas of spiritual development, therapy and humanitarian support projects.
Many well know tibetan
Lamas gave and keep on giving teachings in Samye Ling, in order to fulfill Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche's
purpose of preserving the spiritual Buddhist heritage. Under their guide
prayers, rare teachings and books, that were at risk for getting lost
forever, have been reprinted in tibetan, translated and published,
making accessible those precious teachings to western students.
Tulku Rinpoche's brother, Venerable Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, is a very
highly realized meditation Master and he received the full ordination,
teachings and transmissions from His Holiness the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa.
After many years of
solitary retreat, he accepted the offer to become Retreat Master in Kagyü
Samye Ling, taking on the responsibility of practitioners involved in the
traditional three years and three months retreat. Since Lama Yeshe Losal
Rinpoche is Abbot of Samye Ling. His understanding of western mentality
joined with his profound meditation experience makes him the ideal figure
for superintend the life of community and guide the great number of people
who ask him for an advice.
build of the temple represented the first phase of the quadrangular design
that constitutes Samye Ling project. Second phase,
currently under work, concerns the builiding of three remaining monastery
wings, which will hold well equipped study places and libraries of tibetan
texts. Many of these texts, extremely rare, are now stored in the archive.
It will also include an
audio/video department and a museum for preserving and exposing many tibetan
handcrafts. The wing currently under development will make more room for the
new kitchens, the dining room and accomodation and respond to an increasing
Another main project under
construction is the Samye Ling Stupa, besides the one on Holy Island, both
dedicated to world peace.
The Five Golden Rules
Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
asks residents and visitors in Samye Ling, to observe the Five
Golden Rules, as needful guidelines to attain interior peace and keeping a
peaceaful environment. The Five Golden Rules are:
To protect life and refrain from killing.
To respect other's property and refrain
To speak the truth and refrain from lying.
To embrace health and refrain from
To respect others and refrain from sexual
‘By keeping these Five
Golden Rules we aim to keep Kagyu Samye Ling a pure and special place and an
example for ourselves and others, now and in the future’.
Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche