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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Ireland's first Buddhist temple for Beara

September 16, 2010

By Jackie Keogh
Southern Star (Ireland)
September 18 2010

THE ground for Ireland’s first Buddhist temple
has been blessed by a Tibetan lama and Cork County Council.

Earlier this summer, the local authority granted
planning permission for the proposed three-storey
temple, which is expected to cost €1.5 million to complete.

Meanwhile, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, a uniquely
qualified Tibetan master, recently travelled to
Dzogchen Beara, the Tibetan retreat centre near
Allihies, to consecrate the site.

Rinpoche conducted a pacifying "Jinsek," or fire
ceremony, which Dzogchen Beara's director, Matt
Padwick described as being 'traditional at this
stage of the project in order to eliminate any negative or harmful influences.'

A few hundred people gathered for the ceremony
around a ‘peace pole,’ a timber pole that was
erected at the central point of the site and
bears the legend 'May peace prevail on earth' in English, Irish and Tibetan.

Matt Padwick told The Southern Star that Orgyen
Tobgyal Rinpoche, together with Sogyal Rinpoche
the spiritual director of Dzogchen Beara, has
closely guided every aspect the building
location, orientation, design and detail, in
order to integrate the most authentic Tibetan
traditions with the best, and most appropriate, modern building techniques.

Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche has been advising on the
project from the outset, using the ancient art of
geomancy and following the advice laid down in traditional texts.

Geomancy, described as a divination that employs
the scattering of pebbles, grains of sand, or
seeds, on the earth and then the interpretation
of their shape and position, was central to the
plans that were submitted to Cork County Council.

Meanwhile, architect Giles Oliver, who alongside
his colleague Bob Whiteside also had a key role
to play in drawing the plans for the new temple,
said he was pleased that the local authority had
approved the plans for ‘this small wildly
attractive thing at the end of a long path.’

Inspired by the consecration ceremony, Giles
Oliver said: ‘This is how all temples should
begin, out of doors, in a clearing in the trees.’

Ireland’s first Tibetan temple will be
distinctive in many ways, including its copper
roof. To have a copper roof is traditional in
Tibet, but it is likely to have special resonance
locally, considering that Allihies was once a major centre for copper mining.

The temple will be cut into the hillside and be
protected from the harsh Atlantic winds by a
mature shelter bed of trees to the north and
west, which were planted more than thirty years
ago by Peter and the late Harriet Cornish, who founded the centre in 1974.

The 14.5 metre high temple and ancillary
buildings, which will overlook the meditation
garden, will cost an estimated €1.5 million to
build, but the centre’s fundraising committee is
already actively working on the project and to date it has raised €112,00.

Matt Padwick said: ‘We are confident that we will
be in a position to start construction next year
and, hopefully, we will be able to officially
open the temple eighteen months later.’

Many Tibetan masters have commented on the
qualities of Dzogchen Beara, with its beautiful
natural environment and atmosphere of profound
peace, which comes from deep spiritual practice.

No doubt, most people are aware of the tragedy
that overtook Tibet in 1959 when more than
100,000 people were forced into exile.

Among the exiles were a number of Buddhist
masters, the last holders of that wisdom, coming
from a lineage which stretches back over two and
a half millennia to the Buddha himself.

According to Matt, ‘We are fortunate to have
authentic holders of that lineage guiding us as
this tradition takes root in the western world.’
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