One sunny Sunday afternoon in March our good friend Clemens took us to visit the Sakya Tashi Ling temple at Plana near Olivella. The monastery is situated in the heart of Parc del Garaf and is one of the most colourful, vibrant and peace inducing locations you could hope to find yourself in.
Originally called the Plana Novella Palace, the Tibetan monastery established itself in July of 1996 and was the first Buddhist monastery in Catalunya.
The monks follow the Sakyapa tradition and the teachings of Sakya Trizin, an ancient king from Tibet now considered a great spiritual leader.
So that’s the Sakya Tashi Ling 101 out the way, let’s talk about what it was like.
The bright sunshine and clear blue skies made for a wonderful canvas to paint the monastery on and the sight of its colourful banners instantly elevated my excitement. I imagine it would be impossible to be depressed in a place like this; surrounded by beautiful green hills, pure blue skies, views of the Mediterranean Sea and the positive chanting and dancing of the monks.
Highlights for me were the prayer garden where colourful cloths hung like flags and gently oscillated to the will of the breeze, each containing a prayer. The odd looking shrine in the middle was painted with unusual symbolism and contained small gold effigies of gods such as Lord Ganesha.
Despite the mass of tourists (us included) there was an air of peace about the temple which you couldn’t escape.
The busy restaurant offered reasonably priced food, herbal teas and ice creams, the little shop sold trinkets, crystals, statues, cards and the usual ‘spiritual’ suspects while the gardens offered tranquillity and a closeness to nature which is nigh impossible to find in the city.
It was a spectacular afternoon spent exploring the grounds, its little lake where the turtles live and soaking up the calmness courtesy of the land, colours and vibrancy – a truly holistic experience.
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