Cathkin high enjoy trip to Buddhist monastery

by Will Henshaw, Rutherglen Reformer, Nov 16 2011

CATHKIN High School pupils visited a Buddhist monastery

Eskdalemuir, Scotland -- A third-year class from the school attended the Samye Ling Monastery in Eskdalemuir, soaking up Buddhist philosophy and taking part in worship.

All 35 pupils and their three RE teachers, Orla Payne, Eilidh Colligan and Shirley Perrie, enjoyed a rain-free day at the monastery in Dumfriesshire.

As part of their Buddhism topic, the third years were immersed in Buddhist life and were shown round the monastery and its grounds by a Buddhist nun.

The nun took the group to the shrine and explained about the founder of Buddhism, Siddharta Gautama, and his life story.

The pupils were very impressed with the shrine, with its opulence and beauty, and they experienced the sounds, chants and musical instruments being played during a meditation session.

From this the pupils moved to the grounds of the monastery, taking in a quick stop at the Buddhist shop, exploring the self-sufficiency of the monks in their own herb and vegetable garden and looking through the living conditions of the monks and nuns in their day-to-day life.

From this, the pupils were brought to see the Stupa, the mound-like shrine for worship and Prayer Wheels where the Buddhists respect the dead.

Some pupils even managed to tie “wish ribbons” to the Peace Tree in order that the wind would take their wishes to the corners of the universe – a Buddhist tradition.

Kerri White, one of the pupils on the trip, said: “I think it was really good to go in person because we got to hear stories of real monks and nuns.

“It was a good experience and we all loved it. I would definitely go again!”

Jennifer Fell, another S3 pupil, said: “There were lots of little Buddha statues to represent the followers. I thought they were really cool and I was surprised how many there were.”

Fellow third year Kirsty Hailes: “I thought the trip was really good and the thing I liked most was seeing the monastery build its very own healing garden.”

Mrs Colligan was full of praise for the monastery.

She said: “It is invaluable for the pupils to witness the religion first hand in a setting that has been chosen as the only Buddhist monastery in the UK to enjoy a visit from the current Dali Lama himself.”