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Hollr Explores: Did you know there’s a Buddhist temple in Ulverston?

Today on Hollr explores, and in light of mental health awareness week, we visited the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre nestled into the countryside of Ulverston.

Founded by the Venerable Geshe Keslang Gyatso Rinpoche 46 years ago the temple offers a place for everyone to find peace.

According to their pamphlet they use the original teachings and meditations of Buddha in a contemporary form that is easy for most modern people to understand and practice.

The temple is situated around a six minute drive from Ulverston town centre or a 40 minute walk from the train station.

The main monastery that the monks live in

We opted for walking as you pass through a beautiful woodland to access the temple and it gave us a chance to practice a simple mindfulness technique known as noting which we’ve previously covered before.

The noting exercise is a simple and effective anxiety reliever and it focuses on each of the senses.

We noted the smells of wild garlic that was pungent in the air, listened to the sounds of birds chirping around the forest and stopped to touch wildflowers.

We also looked around the woods for things that caught our eye like the fantastic flora that covers the ground of the forest.

The fields of wild garlic that adorn much of the floors of the forest

Once we arrived at the temple we were warmly welcomed by monks and in tradition took our shoes off before starting the free 15 minute meditation that they offer.

The temple itself is adorned with beautiful ceremonial objects at the back of the temple and in the centre of these objects is the largest bronze statue of Buddha ever made in the west.

The ceremonial objects at the back of the temple with the large bronze statue of Buddha in the centre

Adorned around the temple are the sixteen Goddesses cladded in gold and in the centre of the skylight is the Dharma Wheel, a symbol of the path to enlightenment that is used across various religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.

The person leading the meditation session explained how this simple meditation can help people solve daily problems in their everyday life.

We were instructed to straighten our backs so that we didn’t fall asleep from the meditation, to clasp our hands together with thumbs touching tips and to have a light gaze or eyes shut before we began the meditation.

The Dharma Wheel situated in the centre of the temple beneath the skylight

We started by noting each breath that passed and halfway through were reminded that if the mind became busy with thoughts again to focus back on the breath.

As someone who lives with anxiety when the meditation finished I felt a sense of calm and peace wash over me that really helped get rid of the anxiety I often hold within myself.

The temple offered a free ebook ‘How to Transform Your Life - A Blissful Journey’ within the pamphlets peppered around the seating area.

It was written by the Venerable Geshe, Kelsang Gyatso who has written over 40 books for those that may want to look into how Buddhist teachings may help with everyday life.

Two of the sixteen goddesses that surround the temple

They offer a lot of the courses at the temple such as: understanding your anxiety, seeing beyond criticism and blame, the bliss of concentration, staying strong when things go wrong and the gratitude retreat.

These are all things that can offer relief for when mental health is bad.

It’s worth noting that these courses are not a replacement for medication and therapy for mental health but can offer what the centre says is peace and tranquillity from problems in daily life.

Although they do offer classes for those that want to get into Buddhism, these classes are more focused on mental health relief.

Even if you're not into meditation it’s still a great place to visit with fantastic architecture, wonderful gardens and has a seventy acre woodland you can explore and enjoy with friends and family.

One of the many beautiful gardens you can sit in to relax and unwind

We hope that this mental health awareness week you take steps to help your mental health whether that be meditation and mindfulness or even just a check in with your mate and to seek support when you really need it.

Mind infoline: 0300 123 3393

Samaritans: 116 123.

You can find Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre at: Manjushri KMC, Conishead Priory, Priory Road, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA129QQ

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