Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010
New Tibetan Buddhist centre for Brynmawr
Meeting room at the Dharma Centre
Buddhists are already meeting in Brynmawr while renovation continues

A Tibetan Buddhist centre has relocated from Cardiff to a new home in Blaenau Gwent.

The Dharma Centre is located in the former Calvary Baptist chapel on King Street in Brynmawr.

The centre plans to offer weekly meditation classes and weekly retreats where people can escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

It is hoped that the renovation work being undertaken at the centre will be completed by summer 2010.

Lama Rabsang, the centre's spiritual teacher was born in Kathmandu. and first studied to be a monk age 11 under the direction of his uncle.

He then went to India to Palpung Sherabling, where he completed his studies. After entering a three year retreat he was appointed discipline master of Palpung Sherabling Monastery, where he stayed for four years.

Lama Rabsang and Phil Gardner

Lama Rabsang was appointed teacher at the Palpung Changchub Dargyeling or Dharma Centre when it first opened in Llandrindod Wells in 2004.

The centre then moved to Cardiff in 2007, before finally purchasing the premises in Brynmawr in 2009.

Phil Gardner from the Dharma Centre says that local reaction to the centre's relocation to Brynmawr has been very positive. He says they have been welcomed by the local community and even received 'Welcome to your new home' cards when they arrived.

The centre plans to run weekly meditation classes and in addition to this they are hoping to offer occasional weekly retreats where people can come and get away from the hustle and bustle of their lives, relax, meditate and take the benefits of the retreat home with them.

They'll also invite different visiting teachers to come from India and other countries.

Phil hopes that once renovations are completed, people from the local community will treat the centre as a meeting place.

He adds: "We'd like the centre to be a place that gives people a break from their daily lives, somewhere to go where there's no pressure on them to do anything or be anything special, they can just be themselves, relax, have a cup of tea and meet friends."

Buddhists follow the teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni, a prince born in Lumbini, Nepal, in 624 BC.

They practice meditation as a way to focus and relax the mind and gain greater insight into the teachings of their faith and ultimately to find inner peace.

Buddhists believe that the path to true happiness lies in enlightenment. They believe that there are four noble truths linked to the existence of suffering and that by acknowledging suffering, dealing with it and what causes it we can work towards attaining enlightenment.

Lama Rabsang says that practitioners of Buddhism believe in "Developing the loving-kindness and compassion inside of us towards all beings. "

He adds "Buddhism also deals with understanding the suffering we all have in our lives and slowly overcoming that suffering by understanding the true nature of our mind which is enlightened mind."

Dharma refers to the teachings of Buddhism, understanding the suffering we all go through in life and finding ways to emerge from that suffering.

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