Off the coast of Arran in
the Firth of Clyde, the island has a long sacred history with an ancient
healing spring, the hermit-cave of a 6th Century monk, St Molaise, and
evidence of a 13th Century Monastery.
Now under the stewardship
of the Rokpa Trust, the island has become a focus for work on three great
concerns of our time:
Rapid degradation of the
global environment is endangering all life.
Holy Island still remains
It is ensured that whatever
is done on the island will respect the environment, the island being a focus
for the energies of many who care. Thus, for example, the centre was built
with ecologically sound materials and methods:
is heated with solar panels;
All the paint used is
non-toxic and bio-degradable;
Insulation materials are
is processed using state-of-the-art reed beds resulting in almost clear
water discharged into the sea.
The threat of total nuclear
destruction is no longer on everyone's mind but the universal availability
of powerful weapons means that economic, racial and ideological conflicts
can turn into carnage on a scale previously unknown.
Holy Island is dedicated to
peace, co-operation between all faiths and what His Holiness the Dalai Lama
talks of as "lasting peace" based on "internal disarmament".
Celtic Christians sought
the solitude of Holy Island to support their prayer and meditation, just as
the Tibetan yogis did in the Himalayas. The powerful nature of these places
becomes charged with the energy of spiritual practice which can touch the
heart and inspire the mind. The link forged with Tibet's ancient spiritual
tradition is re-awakening Holy Island to its sacred purpose. Separated from
the busy world, this sacred island will provide accommodation for both short
and long retreats. It is a place to experience inner peace, to discover
creativity and to find meaning in this precious human life.
The Holy Island Project
fires the imagination of thousands of people who have donated generously.
Hundreds of people have visited and given of their time to work on the
Island. Your sponsorship has enabled over 35,000 native hardwood trees to be
planted. Careful management of the environment is also helping to conserve
the island's unique species of plants, while the wild Eriskay Ponies and the
Soay Sheep and Goats are all benefitting from improved grazing. The Project
is now part of the Alliance for Religion and Conservation, a world wide
movement helping to channel the power of spiritual commitment to meet the
challenges of ecological crisis.
The Centre for World Peace
The centre opened its doors
on 31 May 2003. The Centre will accommodate individuals and groups of all
faiths and traditions. It will offer opportunities for retreats, courses and
short stays. There will be inter-faith dialogue through meetings,
conferences and workshops. The design of the Centre will be free from the
signs, symbols or trappings of any particular faith.
Monastery Retreat Centre
With room for 108
people, it will exemplify good environmental design with ecological
strategies for energy, food, water and waste management.
Modern secular attitudes devalued the ancient monastic traditions which once
flourished in both the east and the west.
The Holy Island Project is an opportunity for a re-evaluation of this way of
life. The vows and discipline of a monastic community provide the time and
freedom to reflect on spiritual teachings and a lifestyle conducive to the
cultivation of concentration and insight.
For human existence to survive the mounting challenges of ecological havoc,
the aims of human life have to be re-evaluated.
It is perhaps not merely by chance that Lama Yeshe Losal is bringing an
ancient holy site alive with people practising a spiritual way of life. Holy
Island will help in the quest for a more sustainable way of life, offering a
unique mixture of ecological sustainability, ancient wisdom and a
Extending the benefits of this to the world at large will take the efforts
of many creative minds and require those with the material means, influence
and communication skills to embrace and support this vision.e.
As well as being the Abbot
of Kagyu Samyť Ling, Lama Yeshe is the Executive Director of The Holy Island
Project. Since arriving in the West, his broad experience of life as a lay
person in both the U.K. and the U.S.A. has given him great understanding of
Western people and culture. After taking ordination he spent 12 years in
solitary retreat and is widely renowned as a meditation master whose clarity
of mind and good humour are an inspiration to Samyť Ling visitors, lay
community, retreatants and the growing number of monks and nuns under his
wing. His direct, down to earth approach is invaluable in making Tibetan
Buddhism accessible to the western mind.