A Breath of Tibet in Ireland

About Jampa Ling: Place of Loving Kindness

This past week, I stayed several nights at Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre. This is a residential retreat centre created on a glorious 19th Century estate in Co Cavan. It has been operating for twenty-seven years under the spiritual direction of Venerable Panchen Otrul Rinpoche, and with the patronage of the Dalai Lama.

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As soon as you arrive, you feel the positive energy of this pastoral land. Buddhist shrines appear as you wander the lawns and gardens, birds sing, the wind breathes, and people come and go. Many folks volunteer their time to work here from gardeners, who sustain an incredible fruit and vegetable garden, WWOOFers, to housekeepers, teachers, and cooks.

The vegetarian food is special. Breakfast is oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, and toast. Lunch, the main meal of the day at 1pm, is always an delicious surprise. So far, I’ve feasted on chana dhal and rice, chick pea stew, baked potatoes and chili, and shepherd’s pie. And always there is a huge bowl of green salad from the organic gardens. The cooks are mindful that I can’t eat wheat and dairy (thank you lovely women) and always provide for me. This is such a blessing! At 6pm, we sit down again for delicious soup, bread, and cheese. Simple, nourishing, beautiful food.

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People arrive from many places so fascinating stories are told around the lunch table. Many have taken refuge with Rinpoche, who teaches during the winter months. Rinpoche began training as a monk in Tibet when he was very young. He was ordained in India by the Dalai Lama and continued to study and design educational programs for monasteries. At the request of the Dalai Lama, Rinpoche travelled to the UK for interfaith dialogue and in 1990, he was asked by Irish students of Buddhism to become Spiritual Director of Jampa Ling. He continues to travel and teach.

A special relationship with Mongolia, where Rinpoche and his students engage in charitable work, involves the manufacture and sale of fantastic woollen felt items. I bought some gorgeous slippers. MIM (Made in Mongolia) comes via an NGO, developed to create sustainable work for women, who often head the households. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the people struggle with poverty where shanty towns have sprung up in the capital. The NGO also assists with outreach, supports children in their education, and trains people in “skills and finding self”.

Owendoon House was built in the 1850s by George L’Estrange in an Italianate style. This is where meals are provided and meditation takes place in the Shrine Room. Guests stay in Tara House, a renovated barn that also houses the shop and a community room for yoga and meditation. Even if you’re not staying here, but just passing through, you can come by to shop or share a low cost meal of gorgeous healthy food. On the August 1 weekend, the centre is hosting an open house.

At Jampa Ling I participated in an Evening Puja where Tibetan chants to White Tara create an aura of calm, and an extraordinary mindfulness yoga class. But mostly, I’ve enjoyed talking with wonderful people, relaxing, and practicing meditation.

Jampa Ling is a place of loving kindness.

For more information and to book visit Jampa Ling

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