Sunday, April 11, 2010

Church Turns Buddhist Centre

A 60 year old man has turned a former church into a Buddhist Centre in Brynmawr, Wales. John Beard is transforming the former Calvary Chapel into the Paipung Changchub Dargye Ling. His Tibetan Buddhist foundation bought over the chapel after it's congregations dwindled and became too costly to run.

Mr Beard previously rented a building in Cardiff for practising Buddhists, but has chosen to open one in Brynmawr as he believes its valley location is similar to the Asian plateau region, north of the Himalayas. He also said that Tibetan and Welsh cultures are somewhat alike.

“If you look at the early struggles of Plaid Cymru you could draw similarities with the disputed territory of Tibet,” he said.

Mr Beard, a practising Tibetan Buddhist himself for 40 years, turned to Buddhism in his teenage years while living in Manchester.

“The way I was living my life was the way the Mahayana Buddhists live. The Buddha taught that it’s not about being popular that matters it’s about being practical every day” he said.

The centre is expected to welcome up to 50 people a week through its doors, with several hundred on special occasions.

According to Beard, Buddhist Lamas from all over the world will be invited to give talks in the centre and a lama will conduct meditation classes and Buddhism classes on voluntary basis