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Scotland

Monday, 19 November 2012
Badger crossing

Source: flickr.com via bigbluemeanie on Pinterest



This is one time we can be grateful for a lack of “joined-up” government thinking.

Posted by bigblue on 19/11/2012 at 03:46 PM
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Monday, 03 September 2012
Balance

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Someone balanced this stone on the bank of the Esk River, at Samye Ling Buddhist monastery in Scotland.

Posted by bigblue on 03/09/2012 at 08:45 AM
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Friday, 31 August 2012
The Lockerbie Quilt

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This quilt was produced by five locals to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster in 2008. A poster nearby says:

Lest We Forget

This quilt is dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the events of 21 December 1988.
The 259 leaves on the tree depict the souls who lost their lives whilst passengers on Pan Am Flight 103.
The 11 pebbles depict the residents of Lockerbie who lost their lives.
The tree, underpinned by strong roots, represents thecontinuity of life reflecting the way thecommunity of Lockerbie and families of those who died have striven to overcome this tragedy.
The quilt was made as a remembrance of the twentieth anniversary of the disaster.

There is more information on the BBC Website. The quilt is on display at the Dryfesdale Lodge Visitor’s Centre in Lockerbie, an intimate and touching memorial to all the victims of the disaster.

Posted by bigblue on 31/08/2012 at 08:14 AM
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Thursday, 30 August 2012
The Naga House

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This shrine was built in the water where two rivers meet. According to the Samye Ling web guide:

This stone structure in the River Esk is embedded with semi-precious stones and was built as an offering to the nagas or water spirits who dwell at the junction between the two rivers.

Making offerings to nagas is a way of bringing environmental forces into balance. The point where the two rivers meet is directly opposite the doors of the temple and is very powerful in terms of geomancy. The Naga House also serves a function in balancing the powerful energies emanating from this point.

Posted by bigblue on 30/08/2012 at 06:35 PM
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The Tibetan Temple

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There are three floors to the Temple.  The top floor consists of a shrine to the Medicine Buddha.  On a monthly basis (on the eighth day of the Tibetan calendar) prayers are said to the Medicine Buddha. Apart from these prayers and occasional guided tours, this area of the temple is not generally open to the public.

The first floor, also not open to the public, contains a shrine and private accommodation for visiting high Lamas.

On the ground floor is the main shrine, which is divided into three sections, the front section hosting the shrine itself and the two other sections being used for weekend workshops. On big occasions the whole shrine is opened up and the dividing partitions are removed.

Here is a picture of the main shrine room, called Lhakang in Tibetan (which means ‘Palace of the God’, indicating that representations of enlightened beings are present):

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Relics or images of the historical Buddha… are not for worship.  Instead, the statues, relics and images are to provide inspiration for what we can achieve by following the Buddha’s teachings.  They also serve as a support for our respect and devotion to the teachings.

Here’s one I took earlier - a photograph of the Samye Ling Temple in December 2003, during a snow storm:

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The quotes above are extracted from the Samye Ling Website.  You can read more about the temple here.

Posted by bigblue on 30/08/2012 at 08:58 AM
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Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Prayer Wheel House

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As people walk around the Stupa clockwise reciting prayers, their path takes them through the Prayer Wheel House, where they turn the prayer wheels as they go.  The prayer wheels are at the front of the building. The back part will have drawers where the ashes of the deceased will be kept. The prayer wheels contain millions of mantras (short prayers) for peace and compassion which have been inscribed on paper soaked in saffron water and blessed in a special way. As one turns the prayer wheel clockwise it activates the blessing of the mantras, transmitting the energy of peace and compassion in all directions.

~ from the Kagyu Samye Ling website. The wording is a bit out of date because the ashes of people and animals (pets) are already starting to be stored in the shelves. There is also a book in which you can write the names of deceased people for whom prayers will also be offered.

Posted by bigblue on 29/08/2012 at 06:24 PM
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The Victory Stupa

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I wrote a few words about this building the other day, here. According to the Samye Ling website, this stupa

has a unique feature.  Its little shrine is dedicated to honouring people who have died and preserving their ashes. When people die, their coffin is placed inside the shrine with their head resting just above the mandala of the five elements.  On the ceiling over the coffin is the purification mandala of Dorje Sempa. Monks, nuns and lay practitioners say prayers continuously for three days and nights, invoking the blessing of Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and entrusting the mind of the deceased person to Amitabha, the Buddha of Boundless Light, praying that their mind takes birth in Dewachen, Amitabha’s Pure Land of Great Bliss.  After the period of three days is up, the deceased person’s body is cremated and their ashes are placed inside the cupboards that surround the shrine.  Then once a year there is a special ceremony conducted by a high lama in which the ashes are blessed and prayers are said for all those who have died.

During our tour inside the stupa the guide gave us lots of additional interesting information about the stupa, its construction, materials and purpose which I don’t feel I can do justice to here.

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The stained glass windows of the stupa are imprinted with the Kalachakra mandala, the function of which is to restore balance and harmony.
For more information on Stupas visit the stupa website.

Posted by bigblue on 29/08/2012 at 08:03 AM
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Tuesday, 28 August 2012
The peace garden at Samye Ling

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In the background of this photo is The Victory Stupa:

A Stupa is a symbol of the enlightened mind of the Buddha and its function is to restore, balance and transform negative energies to heal both our planet and ourselves. The form and contents of the Stupa express the balance and purification of earth, water, fire, air and space. They also express the wisdom and compassion of Buddha nature, the true nature of all living beings. Our Victory Stupa was consecrated in 2000 and is the first of its kind in Scotland.

In the foreground is a statue of Nagarjuna in a pond:

The statue in the lake with a snake rising above it is Nagarjuna, the forefather of the Madyamika school of philosophy, which forms the basis of the Karma Kagyu view of emptiness. According to Buddhist legend, Nagarjuna discovered the Prajnaparamita teachings that had been entrusted to the nagas for safekeeping.

See also: description of Samye Ling Peace Garden at REEP.

Posted by bigblue on 28/08/2012 at 08:57 AM
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