On Sunday, 2 April, several hundred people, including community members and local friends both old and new, gathered throughout the day to celebrate the grand opening of Shambala — a retreat centre for healing and universal compassion — located on the edge of Findhorn Bay, within five minutes walking distance of The Park.
It was a picture perfect day with even the temperamental Scottish weather co-operating. Expansive bay windows, a hallmark of the former well known and much loved Minton House, afforded breathtaking panoramic views of the springtime sun glistening off the Bay.
The day was rich and full beginning with the community’s traditional Taize singing in the morning, a scrumptious brunch, then the formal blessing ceremony led by Tibetan nun, Venerable Angie. This was followed by the typically British tea and cakes in the afternoon, guided tours of the newly decorated centre, leisurely strolls throughout the grounds and beach front in the warm, afternoon sun, and many precious moments shared with friends and family alike.
It was a true community affair — the culmination of the hard work and dedication of Thomas and Maris Warrior (managers of the centre) with the assistance of a vast team of volunteer skill and labour. This project has clearly been a labour of love with many hands making light work and exemplifying the community’s age-old tenet ‘work is love in action.’
During the Tibetan Buddhist blessing ceremony, Thomas offered these wishes for the centre:
“It is my deepest prayer and aspiration that Shambala Retreat Centre will bring much benefit and happiness to all those who come through this centre and to all those who serve here; to all the local people and the people in the Findhorn Foundation and Community, and to all living beings everywhere.”
Thomas also expressed his gratitude, on behalf of the Shambala family, to all their supporters and well-wishers, and the army of kind and generous helpers and volunteers. He then paid a special tribute to all his teachers, in particular to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Khenrinpoche Lama Lhundrup, who provided the inspiration for the centre, as well as much wisdom and guidance over the past 10 years.
Although the centre has a Buddhist flavour, the vision as stressed by Thomas’ teachers is to remain very much an interfaith centre open to all spiritual faiths.
One of the highlights of the day was the late afternoon visit of Findhorn Foundation co-founder Eileen Caddy who arrived with grandson Jason. Eileen shared that husband Peter and she were among the first people to come to the house when it was first built (sometime in the 1950′s). She continued, “And now it is built again.” Eileen was visibly impressed with the work done on the house and also commented on the beautiful gardens which she seemed to particularly like. As she sat gazing out of the bay window enjoying the sunshine, a rainbow appeared exactly in the direction she was looking. Someone said, “Oh, you brought the blessing of the rainbow with you.” Smiling, Eileen responded, “Of course, of course.”
Please enjoy these photo highlights of this day of celebration and be sure to visit the centre on your next trip to Findhorn.
For more information, to book or to offer your support in any way, please visit: www.shambala-retreat.org, email, or telephone +44(0)1309 690690.
Guests gather in the Ballroom to begin the celebration with
a Universal Dance of Peace led by Maris Warrior
Sheila Pettit ushers in the morning with the delicate strains of the harp
Community members lead guests in traditional Taize singing
The Meditation Hall will become home to spiritual practitioners of all faiths
Thomas and Maris Warrior with Eileen Caddy
The centre as pictured overlooking the Findhorn Bay
Garden Walkout to The Bay
The Buddha presides silently over the grounds and all is very, very well
Photos Sverre Koxvold; Image of Eileen courtesy Thomas Warrior