NEIGHBOURS and congregation members gathered as, for the first time since 1982, a new abbot was inducted at a Tynedale Buddhist monastery.

Rev. Master Leandra Robertshaw was inducted at a ceremony at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey last Wednesday.

The abbey, monastery and retreat centre near Carrshield had been under the spiritual direction of the abbot Rev. Master Daishin Morgan since 1982, but he had recently decided to retire to a hermitage in Wales.

But he was among those who travelled to gather for the induction, which Rev. Robertshaw described as “a ceremony where I dedicated the rest of my life to caring for other beings.”

It also included a short ceremony dedicated to the abbey’s founder, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett, who founded it in the 1970s.

Rev. Robertshaw said: “I met Daishin in 1986. I had dabbled in Buddhism of a slightly different flavour and I was invited to a conference in Cardiff which was something like ‘eastern approaches in body and mind’ which he was at.

“I thought ‘this person is incredible; whatever he does I want to be doing’.”

Not long after that, she moved to to Throssell Hole where she went on to become a monk for around 21 years prior to her induction as abbot.

She was selected through an election process, before two separate ceremonies – on Wednesday and Thursday – marked her coming into her new role.

“It all felt a bit overwhelming,” she explained. “I had to consider it very carefully – I am 81 and we have all got to die at some time.

“But I love this community, I love this village and this very place we live. It just felt obvious that I should do this.”