Recession-hit Buddhist retreat is reincarnated . . . as a furniture shop

By Kaye Nicolson, The Press and Journal, Oct 9, 2010

Everything for sale as much-loved spiritual sanctuary forced to close

Findhorn, Scotland (UK) -- A popular Moray Buddhist centre is being forced to close down due to financial problems.

The Shambala Retreat, at Findhorn, was opened in 2006 by the Shambala Trust, with a strong focus on the teachings of Buddhism.

The £1.3million house was bought in 2005, after the trust received a loan from an unnamed businessman who is a member of the Findhorn Foundation.

The anonymous man also contributed to the centre’s running costs, but has decided to stop making further payments.

Now the trust has been left with no choice but to close the facility.

The house is up for sale, as are the majority of its contents.

Trustee Kerrigan Bell said that the benefactor did not want to be named.

She added: “He was very generous in his support for us, he really went above and beyond the call of duty for us, but his business interests are suffering in the recession.”

The Shambala Retreat offered a variety of classes and workshops, including meditation and yoga.

It could accommodate up to 24 guests and was also available to hire for conferences and weddings.

Keith Armstrong, office administrator at the centre, said: “Over the years, Shambala has served a lot of people but this year we have had to cancel classes.

“We have to face it that we are in a luxury industry.” The centre had eight staff members – director, deputy manager, a gardener, a chef, office administrator, and three work exchanges in roles such as housekeeping and general upkeep.

Thomas Warrior, director of the retreat, was not available for comment as he is currently leading a group on a pilgrimage to Tibet.

Mr Armstrong said the Shambala Trust was still in existence, and that Mr Warrior was considering the group’s options for the future.

The retreat’s large meditation hall, which features Buddhist paintings and an altar, has now been transformed into a furniture salesroom.

Deputy manager Bruno Ancelin said that “just about everything” was being sold.

These include professional kitchen equipment, electrical goods, assorted pieces of furniture and linen.

A large sale will be held today and tomorrow from noon-5pm, and on Wednesday from 3pm-8pm.