Photos: At the entrance to Samye Ling; the Temple; with Rt Revd John Chalmers, former Moderator and Principal Clerk of the Church of Scotland.
I spent yesterday with the Religious Leaders Forum at Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre. This was part of the work of Interfaith Scotland – the kind of meeting which you approach feeling that there are lots of other things you might be doing but go away glad that you went.
Scotland is a big country – so it was 110 miles due south on the twisty roads of the Borders and 140 miles home on the M74 and the A9. The monastery is extraordinary – a magnificent temple, a conference centre and lots more – all built to the very highest standards. I suppose it’s the kind of thing you could do if you were able to concentrate all your resources in one place and weren’t trying to sustain a ‘branch network’. Perhaps we should look for a site near the Ferrytoll or Stirling
The meeting was interesting too. In this particular interfaith gathering we seem to have reached the point where difficult conversations seem to happen – and what we share is articulate and incisive. So we talked of many things – particularly of radicalisation and of anti-semitism.
Then we welcomed a group of children from Lincluden Primary School. They were great and asked us killer questions like ‘How do people worship and why do they worship?’ and ‘Do all religions have religious leaders and why do they have them?’. A session with staff from the Scottish Government on ‘Getting it right for every child’ and a bit of business and we were done.
So an interesting and encouraging day – some very impressive leadership now in place in the faith communities and all sorts of interesting things are possible