A weekend of Buddhism peace and tranquility descended into violence after a storm over a teacup.
A court heard yesterday that two followers of the religion from Glasgow joined fellow devotees from the central belt to enjoy a weekend retreat near Nairn.
But the serenity they were seeking was shattered when Robert Jenner and Raymond Storrie came to blows.
Mr Storrie, 47, was left needing stitches to a facial wound, and 50-year-old Mr Jenner went on trial at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday accused of assaulting him.
The court heard there was already friction between the pair before they arrived at the home of self-employed joiner Andrew Newlands at Hazelwood, Laikenbuie.
The bad feeling continued the morning after they arrived and Mr Jenner was in the kitchen making a cup of tea when Mr Storrie walked in.
Mr Storrie told Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood: “He poured boiling water into his cup, but not mine.
“I swore at him and called him ignorant. I grabbed his cup and poured the water into mine, spilling some of it.
“I didn’t see him again until later that night when he came up to me, wanting to talk about the incident.
“I was calm by that time although I must have still been upset.
“I was having another cup of tea and a smoke of my e-cigarette and didn’t want to talk to him.
“I did not swear at him and moved back towards the building. I showed no aggression towards him at all. It was then that he assaulted me. He punched me several times on the head.
“I had swelling on my face and my lip was burst. It later required stitches. I hit him over the head with my cup and asked him ‘is this how you practice the dharma?’.”
In Buddhism, dharma is the doctrine of universal truth.
Mr Storrie added: “Then he said that I had attacked him. I showed no aggression towards him whatsoever.”
Mr Storrie later told police: “It must have been ego-driven insecurity. I am a bit intellectual and Robert is dyslexic. I have always felt he had a bit of an issue towards me.”
But Mr Storrie later admitted under cross-examination by defence lawyer Raymond Mcilwham that he had threatened to “kill” Mr Jenner as a friend’s car passed his alleged attacker on the way to hospital for treatment.
He added: “I was still very, very angry at this point.”
Mr Jenner, of Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, denied assaulting Mr Storrie, lodging a special defence of self defence, claiming that he was first attacked with the tea cup.
He declined to give evidence on his own behalf.
No one else witnessed the alleged assault in May and Sheriff Fleetwood found the charge not proven.
The sheriff said: “How can I be sure I know what happened outside the house and that it was the accused who was the aggressor? The charge has to be not proven.”
After the case, Mr Jenner declined to comment.
Mr Storrie said: “It is unusual to have a violent incident at a Buddhist retreat. I have been going to them for over 20 years seeking some peace and tranquillity but it didn’t work out that way on this occasion.”
A source in the Buddhist community said last night: “It doesn’t sound very Buddhist. They might have to do a bit more studying.”