A BUDDHIST retreat could open up in Burnley town centre – if the wishes of a Yorkshire-based monk are granted.

Gen Kalsang Paljin has high hopes for the former card and gift shop premises in Curzon Street, opposite the former Pioneer car park.

He already stages regular sessions at the Burnley and Pendle Faith Centre in Barden Lane and Barnoldswick’s Rainhall Centre.

But in documents submitted to Burnley Council’s planning department he has outlined how he hopes to convert the shop into a Buddhist store and meeting room to offer people an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

He said: "The overall aim is to provide a spiritual refuge where everyone – Buddhist or non-Buddhist, can feel part of a supportive community, and find inspiration and encouragement to develop harmony and peace within their lives."

Under the venture, the shop would sell small Buddhist artefacts and provide general information about the meditation classes being staged there.

Mr Paljin, who has more than 14 years experience in teaching Kadampa Buddhism, is based at the Buddha Land centre in Keighley.

He was taught by the Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who has been teaching in the West since 1977 and has founded Buddha Land and more than 1,000 similar centres worldwide.

"The meeting room would also be open for those looking for a place of quietness, and available for other charities and community groups to hold meetings," added Mr Paljin.

Potential students would be offered either a foundation or general programme in Kadampa Buddhism at the new retreat.

The foundation course would introduce the basic principles of Buddhism and meditation, through studying set texts, and the general programme would provide more advanced theories.