Growth Brings Second Theravada Temple to Massachusetts

September 25, 2006

Source: The Taunton Gazette

On September 25, 2006 The Taunton Gazette reported, "The building at 382 South St. East is an average-looking New England house, for now. The property is home to Thai Buddhist monks who use it while awaiting the building of the Wat Nawamintararachutis temple. Once completed, it will be the larger of two Theravada, or traditionalist, Buddhist temples in the state. The other is in Malden.

The monks bought the $1.5 million lot earlier this year and are working on plans for the temple. A little more than a dozen monks live in the one-family house, sharing their living space with temple activities.

For these monks, maintaining a traditional way of life has not been easy in America, but the growing Buddhist community in this country works to preserve their culture. In an average week the temple will see 200 patrons in search of a place to meditate or for a lesson from the monks.

Bristol County's population is only 1.7 percent Asian, according to U.S. Census data, but the monks say they draw visitors and support from Asian and non-Asian Buddhists from throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

One family working hard to keep their culture strong are the Kijsurachais, owners of Spizy, a Thai restaurant on Route 44.

'We moved here from Thailand with our children, and our restaurant is one of many that brings the monks food,' said Sam Kijsurachai, a leader in the local Asian community. 'In Thailand, the monks walk through villages and ask for food, but here we bring the food to the temples.'

With interest in Buddhism increasing among westerners, Kijsurachai says that the small temple gets support not only from the Thai community, but also from a growing number of Americans."