A new Buddhist temple has opened in the Isle of Man.
It’s been presented as a ‘great opportunity’ for those who identify as Buddhist, as well as anyone interested in meditation for wellbeing, and those who wish to experience the culture of Thailand.
Located in Baldrine, it offers comfort, support, advice, spiritual guidance, and a good social environment.
Head monk Maha Gone, from Thailand, moved here to oversee the opening of the temple.
He said: ‘For the fairly large Thai community here, the temple is of great importance.
‘Around 94% of Thais claim to be Buddhist and the temples of Thailand play a very significant part in daily life for a huge number of Thai people.
‘Traditionally the monks offer spiritual guidance, emotional support and encouragement, funeral services, teaching of meditation and the dissemination of the Buddha’s teachings.’
There was a ‘great desire’ for a Buddhist temple in the island, he explained, and it was a number of Thai people who had lived here for many years who initially invited the Buddhist monks to the island in the hope of a temple being established.
The local Thai community also funded the project from the beginning, which Maha described as being ‘very generous’.
He said: ‘A Buddhist temple is a place to learn the brilliant, psychologically sound, profoundly liberating, applicable teachings of the man called Buddha.
‘Meditation classes are taught which afford wellbeing, a sense of peace and understanding to many, and to those who involve themselves more, the ability to understand and embrace fundamental reality.
‘The result of this is contentment, a lasting happiness based internally and not dependent on anyone or anything external.
‘For those reasons, as well as the delicious Thai food, cultural ceremonies and delight the Thai people have in sharing with others, people would benefit from visiting the temple.’
The temple was officially opened to the public on Sunday and many people attended to explore the facility.
Though the temple itself is now open, it’s still very much a work in progress.
Financially, it’s completely dependent on the donations of supporters.
Buddhist monks don’t earn money and don’t run the finances of the temple.
‘To maintain the purity of the Buddhist Sangha and of the monks, the Buddha established very strict rules regarding this,’ Maha said. ‘It is lay supporters who build temples and not monks.
‘I, as a monk, am here as a teacher, a figure head and, even though I am “in charge” of this temple and therefore involved in it’s development and decisions, the legalities are left to a group of trustees and lay supporters.
‘The Buddha also stated that his teachings cannot be sold.
‘Therefore, all of the classes at the temple, as well as all of the events, are donation based.
‘If people feel that they benefit from visiting can afford, and choose to donate, that is most welcome as it will enable us to continue.
‘If people cannot afford to donate, they are still most welcome to participate in our classes and activities.’
Maha plans to stay in the island and believes the temple will be ‘of great benefit’ not only to the Thai community but also those interested in meditation, Buddhism and Thailand.
The monk added: ‘I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity we have here and, as my English improves, hope to be able to involve myself, and our temple, in adding another dimension to this beautiful island which has already made me feel so welcome.’
Maha explained that Thailand has the five precepts at its roots of government and society, which were taught by the Buddha as basic guidance for the wellbeing of individuals.
These precepts include not to intentionally harm any living being, not to take what is not yours or not given (stealing), not to commit sexual misconduct, to abstain from false speech, harsh or critical speech, gossip, slander or coarse language, and to abstain from alcohol or other mind altering substances that could be detrimental to health or lead to unskilful behaviour.
The temple is located at Dreamlang, Barroose Road, Baldrine, IM4 6AP.