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Madhyamaka Buddhist Centre

There are few better ways of getting away from it all than a visit to the Madhyamaka Centre - and there's no need to be a Buddhist either.

Housed in an 18th-entury English Heritage listed building, the centre is surrounded with all the impressive trimmings anyone could expect from an old English aristocratic home. Beautifully-kept gardens and generous grounds unfold away from the house to a huge, clear lake and rolling hills.

It is managed by a shifting population of residents, many of whom are ordained into the monastic order of the New Kadampa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The essence of this recent offshoot (it began in 1979, and the centre has been going since 1986), aims to translate Buddha's teachings into a form suitable for our modern world.

Weekend meditation courses run regularly and attract people of all backgrounds, ages and religious disciplines from all over the country. They tend to take a similar format whatever the content: beginning on a Friday evening at 7pm and continuing until Sunday lunchtime, with plenty of time off to wander around the grounds or relax.

The meditation courses are pitched for the beginner, so the emphasis is more on acquiring the basic skills, rather than entering into any philosophical inquiry. The teachers (who could be lay or ordained) also adopt a theme, for example, studying the "mind of anger" or "developing compassion". It is surprising how much you can get out of a small time of focus.

It is also possible to stay at the centre for longer periods on a "working holiday" basis. This means that for 35 hours work a week (which could be in the kitchen, garden or office), you get accommodation and substantial amounts of vegetarian food. This has to be a bargain for any cash-strapped backpacker, especially if he or she fancies a taste of the path to enlightenment...

Check out the centre's excellent website for all that is on offer - if you live nearby you may be tempted to taste the non-residential workshops or just to pop by for some time out.

Madhyamaka Buddhist Centre Information

When: Daily

Where: Pocklington


Opening Hours:

Address: Kilnwick Percy Hall, Pocklington, YO42 1UF

Hotels near Madhyamaka Buddhist Centre

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