Thai Buddhist Monks to Establish Temple Complex in Raynham

August 31, 2006

Source: The Boston Globe

On August 31, 2006 The Boston Globe reported, "The tract of land off Raynham's South Street East is the sort that often ends up being developed into an office building or store. But a group of Thai monks has a very different plan for the 47 acres they bought in July.

The monks -- who recently moved into a farmhouse across town from the Raynham dog track, down the road from the Sunday flea market -- are setting out to turn the land into a temple. It would include a pagoda for worship, a meditation center, and a grand hall in honor of King Adulyadej, the reigning Thai monarch, who was born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge in 1927.

If the half-dozen monks in saffron-colored clothes and their followers are successful, they say, their temple -- called Wat Nawamintararachutis -- would be the largest Thai Buddhist center in the Boston area.

Like many immigrant religious groups, these Theravada monks come from humble beginnings. After arriving from Thailand, they lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, then moved to a house in Watertown, and have now relocated to their home in Raynham, which they bought for $1.5 million this spring.

For years, the monks have been searching for a large piece of land where they could build a Theravada Buddhist temple and cultural center, and Raynham offered the needed space at the right price.

On a recent afternoon, members of the temple busied themselves in the kitchen of the farmhouse and showed early drawings of the temple they are raising funds to build. A pagoda dominates neatly manicured grounds, with ample room for monks to live, teach, and meditate. No formal plans have been drawn up or submitted to town boards, but an architect from Thailand is due to visit this fall to help transform the sketch into a blueprint."