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Upholding Tranquility Amid Gunfire: Buddhists in Samye Ling, Scotland

The article “Buddhist monastery in Scotland calls for firearms exclusion zone” describes how practitioners of Buddhism experience problems in their spiritual practices in Samye Ling, Scotland, because of the constant gunfire in the neighboring rifle ranges.

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The article explains that gunfire disrupts Buddhist meditations and other spiritual practices in Samye Ling, the first Buddhist monastery in the West. It quotes the monastery’s spokespersons stressing that the issue is not Buddhists vs. guns but, rather, maintaining tranquility in the entire valley (Brooks, 2021). The article also draws attention to the fact that Buddhist practices appeal even to those who do not share its teachings, and Buddhism itself is tolerant of other religions.

Covering the current controversy surrounding the shooting ranges and the noise they make in the valley where Samye Ling is located, the article expands the readers’ awareness of Tibetan Buddhism in several respects at once. First and foremost, it reiterates the crucial and even essential importance of peace and tranquility for Buddhist cult practices. The author refers to meditations, yoga, and art as examples of such practices that used to take place in Samye Ling, even more often before the pandemic (Brooks, 2021). Apart from that, the text as a whole never ceases to emphasize the importance of tranquility to the meaningful reflection and contemplation that are at the heart of Buddhist worship. Wording like “secluded spiritual community” or “pocket of peace” is commonplace throughout the text (Brooks, 2021, para. 2). Thus, the article may not pay detailed attention to the technical detail of Buddhist spiritual practices as they take place in Samye Ling. However, it never stops to stress the vital importance of a peaceful and serene environment that should facilitate these practices – exactly the sort of environment that is currently being disrupted by loud gunfire nearby. Apart from that, the article expands the readers’ knowledge and awareness of Buddhism in the sense of its tolerance. While it might be tempting to interpret the situation in simple terms of Buddhists opposing hunters and shooters, that would not be the case. As the spokesperson for the monastery explicitly notes, the conflict is not about “Buddhists against guns” (Brooks, 2021, para. 2).

Moreover, the text specifically stresses that Buddhism as a religion does not oppose people’s pursuit of their chosen vocations and does not try to forbid activities such as hunting or shooting. It is also explicitly stated in the commentary by the same spokesperson mentioned above that the monastery is “not trying to stop people from running their business” (Brooks, 2021, para. 2). If anything, the article emphasizes that the monastery is ready and willing to provide spiritual help to people from all walks of life, making no distinction between those who use guns and those who do not. In particular, the text lists veterans with PTSD among those who come to the monastery to seek peace, tranquility, and spiritual enlightenment (Brooks, 2021). It demonstrates that the conflict is indeed not rooted in any sort of principled opposition to guns and shooting per se but merely in the inconveniences it creates within a specific context. In terms of learning more about religions, this example demonstrates that Buddhism has fewer normative inhibitions against particular vocations and occupations than many other religions. Finally, and apart from the things listed above, the article may also add to the audience’s knowledge of Buddhism by highlighting its tolerance of and acceptance by those who do not follow its teachings.

In its campaign to limit the gunfire in the surrounding valley and mitigate the noise it produces, Samye Ling was able to enlist the help of numerous allies who shared similar concerns. One such supporter is an activist and award-winning musician, Annie Lennox, who spoke in favor of the monastery and against the inconveniences produced by the constant gunfire. According to Lennox, “a peaceful retreat center being threatened by the interests of a gun club” demonstrates the bitter irony of contemporary times (Brooks, 2021, para. 15). However, the most important thing here is not Lennox’s precise position on the issue but the fact that she supports Samye Ling, and the monastery accepts this support. This fact is interesting and worth paying attention to because Lennox is not and never was a Buddhist – moreover, she is an agnostic and, as such, does not follow any religion in particular. However, the article mentions that Lennox has been “a supporter of the monastery for many years,” and, evidently, the monastery accepted this support (Brooks, 2021, para. 15). This example shows that being an agnostic does not prevent one from being interested in Buddhist spiritual practices and supporting them, suggesting there is more to Buddhism than religious dogma. Moreover, it also demonstrates that Buddhism as a religion is also perfectly willing to cooperate with those belonging to other religions or no religion at all. As such, this example suggests that Buddhism is generally more tolerant and has fewer normative inhibitions against cooperating with other faiths as compared to Abrahamic religions.

References

Libby, B. (2021). Buddhist monastery in Scotland calls for firearms exclusion zone. The Guardian. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, October 22). Upholding Tranquility Amid Gunfire: Buddhists in Samye Ling, Scotland. https://studycorgi.com/upholding-tranquility-amid-gunfire-buddhists-in-samye-ling-scotland/

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"Upholding Tranquility Amid Gunfire: Buddhists in Samye Ling, Scotland." StudyCorgi, 22 Oct. 2022, studycorgi.com/upholding-tranquility-amid-gunfire-buddhists-in-samye-ling-scotland/.

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StudyCorgi. "Upholding Tranquility Amid Gunfire: Buddhists in Samye Ling, Scotland." October 22, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/upholding-tranquility-amid-gunfire-buddhists-in-samye-ling-scotland/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Upholding Tranquility Amid Gunfire: Buddhists in Samye Ling, Scotland." October 22, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/upholding-tranquility-amid-gunfire-buddhists-in-samye-ling-scotland/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Upholding Tranquility Amid Gunfire: Buddhists in Samye Ling, Scotland'. 22 October.

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