Long ago, on a date lost in the mists of time (probably the late 1990s), Vimalavajra set off from Glasgow, Scotland, to the Far North to share the gift of the Dharma. A short while afterwards Satyapada and Gunasiddhi each decided to leave London and head to the Highlands.
Thus was born a new small sangha, and in mid-June this year Triratna Buddhist Community Highlands took possession of the keys to the first ever Highlands Buddhist Centre, the most northerly in the UK.
It is just fabulous. People were talking about the potential for a centre when I first moved to Inverness 12 years ago, but always it was decided, no, too risky, you really don’t need a building, not enough money, not enough people, etc… Eventually, though, conditions came together: Satyapada became Chair, with a mission to create a centre; Padmolka moved up from Glasgow; a group of regulars coalesced and started the Foundation Course, there were two new ordination requests; and so we were persuaded that now was the time.
Satyapada collected the keys one Friday. As she says, “I do love being able to go into the Centre the day before a festival day and play with the shrine. No more crumply little shrine cloths!” Our first event two days later was a morning for Order members and mitras. I walked in and found myself in tears. I thought “Wow! This is amazing!”, and so did everyone else - everyone was really excited, seeing the potential of sharing the Dharma and experiencing sangha in a way that isn’t possible when you don’t have a centre. As Gerry said, “This is such an exciting time to be part of the Triratna highland Sangha. The potential feels limitless.”
Sadhu! No more carrying cushions around and finding venues for practice days. Bliss. Now starts our fabulous Autumn programme.