Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Conishead Priory and the Manjushri Meditation Centre

Every half term we tend to head off to the Lakes to relax. We travelled up this morning and stopped off on our way at Conishead Priory, which houses a meditation centre and the Kadampa Buddhist temple in its grounds. The temple was built in 1997 and is really a very beautiful and tranquil place. We have attempted to visit before and always managed to find it closed but this time we struck lucky and enjoyed walking around the temple in the suggested clockwise direction. It was interesting to read about the "Dharma", these are the teachings of Buddha concerning the realisation of inner peace, which apparently help us to abandon those states of mind that cause suffering ( can't argue with that now, can you?)The centre piece of the temple was this dharma wheel in the ceiling, which was meant to symbolise the eight teachings, united in harmony, yet all diverse and spreading out through life and the world.
We walked around the temple and read about the various adornments, plaques and their meanings. The main shrine houses the largest bronze statue of Buddha ever made in the West and I managed to talk a little to a young monk, who was refilling some bowls of water and some glasses with various substances. He explained that this was to do with offering substances that we find beautiful or welcoming, such as water, flowers, light, perfume or food. At the back of the guide book was a step by step beginner's guide to a a simple breathing meditation, which Matthew wanted me to follow as he read me the instructions in a whisper, to the evident amusement of the said monk.
We then headed up to the Whitewater Hotel in Newby Bridge. You can see from the pictures that it is aptly named, because the river at the back forms quite a torrent as it courses over the rocks under the bridge.

All in all , a very calming day which was finished off nicely with a sauna and swim and a much needed meal in our favourite local pub.

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