We have just returned home from a visit to Whangarei's hidden gem - The Jam Tse Dhargyey Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre and what a wonderful experience it was.
We were met in the car park by Paul, the Director of the Centre, who very kindly gave us a tour of the Centre and was very informative and welcoming.
Our first stop was at the painting studio where Nyima, a Tibetan monk who specialises in the Thangka (pronounced Tanka) painting and is also a teacher gave us a very warm welcome. He explained how he prepared the cotton canvas to it, treats it with chalk to make it as smooth as possible and then commences to paint the most intricate paintings. He makes his own paint from soil and stone and the colours are so vibrant. Nyima told us this type of painting can only be done in fine weather as moisture makes it very difficult to use but years later the paintings are still as colourful as when they were first painted. These paintings can take years to complete.
We then went into the Centre, where we met Geshe, a resident spiritual teacher and qualified Buddhist Master and Karma who is the Buddhist Master's attendant and interpreter.
We entered a room where the walls were covered with paintings and symbols very important to the Buddhist beliefs. A photo of the Dalai Lama was on the wall too.
Geshe, called "The Teacher" was seated and we were invited to sit on the floor in front of him. To his right were the other Monks and Paul. He very knowledgeable man, filled with wisdom and very kind soul. He spoke in his native tongue which was translated for us. He told us a little about the Centre and his time there and kindly invited us to borrow books from his library.
We then left the Centre and walked up the steep hill behind the Stupa. which is a Buddhist commemorative monument. There is a row of prayer wheels. To use it, one has to walk around it in clockwise direction whilst turning the wheel. have kind thoughts and recite, " om mani paddle hung." (meaning: may all beings experience love and compassion).
Its a beautiful view from the Centre. All of Whangarei and in the far distance, Bream Bay, Waipu is visible.
A cloudy day but, the clouds parted for during our visit.