The Alpujarra villages, just South of Granada have more to them than first meets the eye.  A good example is the O Sei Ling Buddhist retreat. Perched at 1,600 meters high, sitting above the village of Pampaneira. On a recent trip out that way I almost managed to visit the retreat, but didn´t arrive on time. Due to the strict schedule of meditation and spiritual activities no visitor can arrive after 5pm. Even so I do know a bit about this place. Hopefully I´ll get to visit sometime soon.

Maybe you are wondering what this Buddhist site is doing in Southern Spain. This began in 1982 and is one of 20 buddhist sites in Spain. The link between Granada and the Dalai Lama goes back to the eighties.  O Sel Hita Torres, a boy from Granada, Spain was discovered by Tibetan Buddhists. In 1985 at just 2 years old he was the first Spanish child to be confirmed by the Dalai Lama himself to be a reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism.  They believed he was the reincarnation of the charismatic and extrovert Tibetan Lama Yeshe. During several years the boy was known as Tenzin Ösel Rinpoche.

When Osel was still a small boy he was taken to India for evaluation by Buddhist monks. There he selected some of Lama Yeshe’s former possessions although he had never seen the man. This action was translated by the monks to be a sign of special qualities. This was important for the Tibetan Buddhists and for a long time he lived in a Southern India monastery. During this time without any of his family, he missed Spain terribly. At the age of 9 his father went to India to be with him, sometime later his brother joined him too.

When he reached the age of 18 he expressed discomfort with others’ expectations as to his role in life, he left India and moved back to Spain. His first languages are Tibetan and English, Spanish is his third language. Lama Osel subsequently chose to attend a western secondary boarding school in Canada and is then university in Spain. He now lives in Ibiza. Read more at:  The reluctant Lama

This retreat is referred to by locals as Joselin rather than O Sei ling. This name means Place of Clear Light in Tibetan language. The retreat is open all year round but there has to be silence and the religious beliefs of the monks there must be respected.  This place was chosen for the excellent site for meditation.