The Tara Garden
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpche's original monastery, Drolma Lhakang,
was strongly connected with Tara. Tara's influence has been recognized
historically in European culture and particularly in the Irish Gaelic
tradition. Drolma ( Tibetan for liberating mother) is one of the
principal Tibetan names for Tara. Akong Rinpoche's monastery near
Chamdo is called Drolma Lhakang, (The Holy place of Tara) because 21
different emanations of Tara appeared spontaneously in the rocks around
the monastery. Drolma Lhakang is dedicated to the constant practice of
prayers invoking Tara Drolma's healing energy and her protection for
all beings and the planet as a whole. In Tibet, Tara is seen to be a
female manifestation of the Buddha's Enlightened mind and energy and
to have the complementary female power of the Bodhisattva of Limitless
Love and Compassion, Chenrezig.
Healing Garden is dedicated to the 21 emanations of Tara and will
preserve and propagate medicinal herbs native to Tibet that can be
cultivated in the climate of the Scottish Borders. Each of the 21
emanations of Tara has the power and the qualities to overcome 21
different kinds of physical and mental disease. Therefore 21 different
herbs connected with these different aspects will be planted in
separate petal shaped beds around the central statue of Medicine Tara. This
statue was consecrated at 7 o'clock in the morning on the seventh day
of the seventh month of 2007.
The completed garden will be 40
yards in diameter and will be designed as a twenty one petalled lotus,
each petal consisting of a raised bed built in stone with broad paths
radiating from the central statue in each of the four directions. Each
lotus petal will be planted with medicinal herbs whose colour
corresponds to the mandala of Green Tara and the remaining meadow
planted with trees, shrubs and an orchard of native fruit trees.
the essential power of these plants, combined with the power of prayers
to Tara, medicines will be prepared that will be specific for healing
these 21 different conditions.
A Place for Preparation, Processing and Studying Herbs and Herbal Medicine.
herbarium is now nearing completion. This green oak post and beam
building insulated with wool and roofed in natural slate has been
supported by donations and voluntary building work by the Garden
The ground floor will be for general use with
tables, workbenches and a fitted kitchen area for the production of
chutneys, oils etc. It will also provide storage and house the garden
shop where herbal products can be displayed as well as garden produce.
The first floor will be primarily dedicated to herbal processing and
production of herbal remedies. Here there will be worktops, storage
space, a library and office and facilities for labeling and folders
with instructions and contact details. Here herbs will be dried and
made into medicines under the supervision of Dr Dhonden a fully
qualified Tibetan physician trained in the Dalai Lama's Medical College
The Samye Ling Garden Project already leads
courses in SVQ production Horticulture levels 2 and 3 as well as
weekend workshops and there are plans for Courses in herbal medicine
and the preparation of teas, ointments and other specifics in both the
European and the Tibetan traditions.
The European herb garden
now occupies 20% of the total vegetable garden and provides good annual
crops of mints, marjoram, lemon balm, sage, thyme, dill, coriander,
vervain, elecampane, valerian, sweet cicely, lavender, borage, St
John's wort, yarrow, comfrey, chives, chamomile and calendula. Basil
and parsley are grown in the greenhouses.