In 1995 Akong Rinpoche established Britain’s first school of Tibetan medicine. One of the activities of this school will be the growing and processing of medicinal herbs at Samye Ling under the supervision of the renowned Dr. Dhondun. The symbolic heart of this project will be the Tara Healing Garden. It is located in the meadow near the old farm with the golden statue of Green Tara as its centrepiece. There was an inaugural conference in 2005 and afterwards everyone joined in to start clearing the meadow.

    The completed garden will be 40 yards in diameter and will consist of a twenty-petal lotus flower built in stone with broad paths radiating from the statue in each of the four directions. Each lotus petal will be planted with medicinal herbs whose colours correspond to those of the Green Tara mandala, i.e. green in the north, yellow in the south, white in the east and red in the west. 

    We discussed the advantages of walled gardens. In addition to creating micro-climates there’s the ability to
    build lean-to greenhouses on the south facing side and sheds on the north. When it was mentioned that they’re sometimes fourteen feet high Rinpoche immediately agreed we should build one. There was certainly a feeling back then that we could do almost anything and reeling from the sheer scale of this project a few plans were drawn up.  

    Perhaps now our aspirations are more modest. The sheer logistics of such a scheme are enormous but there will nevertheless be a need to enclose the garden to deter rabbits, sheep and deer. It will also require its own facilities e.g. greenhouse and potting shed etc. So something smaller may be built to begin with though a traditional high stone wall isn’t impossible. The Oakhouse has been constructed for drying the herbs and schemes for the Steadings were drawn up to include a doctor’s laboratory and a surgery. But these are all long term proposals and in the meantime work is plodding on building the petals.