This imposing Tibetan temple stands in the unlikely setting of Eskdalemuir, near Langholm. It is home to Tibetan monks and nuns, and to many lay people of various religions.
Our picture from the past was taken on the day the temple was officially opened by the then Borders MP, David Steel, who was accompanied by his wife Judy and the Earl of Dalkeith. Mr Steel was assisted in the opening by Kentin Tai Situ-pa, the patriarch of the Kagyo tradition on which the temple is based.
It took nine years to complete at a cost of £300,000 – and that cost would have been considerably more had it not been for the hours of work put in by volunteers.
The opening took place following a week of activities and celebrations. And the opening date was chosen because of its significance to Tibetans. The eighth day of the eighth month of the year 1988 – a date of good luck and good fortune.
This was the first phase of the temple built on the site of Johnstone House and contained a shrine, accommodation for visiting lamas and a house for religious relics.
One of its founders was the abbot, Akong Rinpoche, one of thousands of Tibetans who fled their country after the 1958 occupation by the communist Chinese.
He told the 1,000 who attended the opening that it was not their intention to convert people to Tibetan Buddhism, but rather to combine Tibetan and Western traditions and philosophy in an effort to provide better understanding between nations.
As reporter Mark Entwistle wrote at the time: “As the curtains of the commemorative plaque were drawn back, the sound of two traditional Tibetan horns rang out in the hot, still air, in a valley 6,000 miles from their home.”
– compiled by Bob Burgess
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