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18. Holy Isle / Eilean MoLaise

Listen to Gaelic translation

The Holy Isle, due to its commanding position in the mouth of Lamlash Bay manages to create an impression on the viewer completely out of proportion to its relatively small size. At only 3km long and 1km wide, this small island is now owned by the Samyé Ling Buddhist Community, who belong to the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Here the Centre for World Peace and Health can be found, alongside homes for those undertaking spiritual retreats.

Once known as Molaise's Island, a cave containing Viking runes can be visited, as can the Eriskay ponys and Soay sheep who are permanent residents of the isle. 

For the trail we have decided to mark to mark the work of Dechi Wangmo, a painter, and former caretaker of Holy Isle.

Featured Artist  

Wangmo, Dechi

"You don't have to be a spiritual person, or a frazzled bundle of neuroses, to benefit from Holy Island." - Dechi Wangmo

For the trail we have decided to mark to mark the work of Dechi Wangmo (unknown - 2003) , a painter, and former caretaker of the island who trained under Sherab Palden Beru (1911-2012) the exiled master Thangka painter.

Working on rocks originally carved by Gyamtso Tashi, another master from Samyé Ling, Dechi Wangmo created stunning and striking works which managed to endure the worst excesses of the Scottish weather, at times using acyrlic paints designed for oil rigs. Her works continue to leave a deep impression on both residents and vistors to the island alike. 

Truly community artworks, these sacred pieces, first begun in 1993 continue to be maintained, restored and re-worked by many hands, and will continue to be for a long time to come.


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