Bringing you up to date
To all our dear friends near and far
Thank you all for your patience and understanding while Samye Ling has been closed due to the pandemic. We first closed in March 2020, along with everything and everyone else as Covid-19 first hit the UK. Now more than 15 months on, we are still closed and we ask you all to please be patient and understanding for a little longer.
We are delighted that finally the UK seems to be emerging successfully from the difficulties and restrictions that the pandemic brought us. But it is clear that many other countries continue to experience huge difficulty and suffering while the virus rages through their population. Again and again we hear the WHO and world leaders repeat the mantra, ‘no-one is safe until we are all safe’.
So we feel it is wisest for Samye Ling to remain closed for a while yet, rather than risk opening and then having to close again. We believe this is better for the long term benefit of everyone and we request your understanding.
Many of our partner organisations are following a similar cautious approach. The University of Aberdeen, which has been running a Mindfulness MSc at Samye Ling for the last 11 years, has decided not to teach their new intake of students face to face at Samye Ling this year because of the ongoing concerns around Covid. They will continue to run their courses online and review things at the beginning of next year.
We are grateful to everyone who has supported us in recent months with the petitions on Change.org and also to the Scottish Government. If successful there will be a 5 mile firearms exclusion zone around all places of spiritual importance in Scotland.
We haven’t been reporting much news from Samye Ling while we have been closed but we have used the time productively.
- Our daily meditation and prayers sessions in the temple have been maintained by resident sangha members throughout, without missing a single day.
- We have engaged in a number of online teachings with some of the very best of Kagyu teachers including His Holiness 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Vajradhara Chamgon Tai Situpa, Ven Thrangu Rinpoche and Drupon Khen Rinpoche.
- Ordained sangha have maintained their study and practice commitments and some have gone to undertake a period of study and retreat under Drupon Khen Rinpoche in Nepal. We see this as an excellent opportunity both for the individuals themselves and for the future development of Samye Ling.
- At the same time we have been carrying out extensive renovations of both resident and guest accommodation - notably Garwald House which has new central heating, new floors, repaired roof, new bathrooms, and has been re-plastered and decorated throughout. Potala House has a beautiful new, long-lasting bamboo floor throughout and will be re-decorated and bathrooms improved before we re-open.
- And we have been very busy in the gardens - there are two new greenhouses, two new compost houses (we discovered that the only way to make the acidic, clay soil productive was to smother it in high quality fertiliser (and we extend our thanks to Chariots of Fire and others who gladly shared their wonderful horse-poo!). We have created a large number of raised beds, made entirely from re-cycled materials, which we hope will be rabbit-proof and snail-proof, and have been growing vegetables and salad on a larger scale than ever before. We have managed to provide green veg and salad for the kitchen almost every single day even throughout the long Scottish winter.
All our resident community are in good health. Our beloved Abbot, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche’s health has been slowly improving and he has been well enough to travel abroad to undertake two major projects which are dedicated to his late brother, Akong Tulku and to the activities of the future Tulku (sorry, we don’t have any more news about that yet!). We heard that some of you are concerned that Lama Rinpoche won’t come back but we have his solemn promise that Samye Ling is his home and he will definitely return whenever his responsibilities abroad are completed.
We recognise how difficult this time has been for all of you who consider Samye Ling your refuge and spiritual home - please be assured that we hold each and everyone of you in our prayers and hearts - along with all sentient beings. We truly look forward to the day when we can welcome you all back again - safely.
Please allow us just a little longer to consider how and when we can best open for the benefit of residents, guests and visitors alike. When that time comes, of course we will let you know.
Thank you, every single one of you, for your constant support and your enduring patience and understanding. We send you our very best wishes in the Dharma until we can all meet again.
Abbot, Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
Deputy Abbot, Lama Katen
And all the monks, nuns and lay community of Kagyu Samye Ling