The temple, or “Wat”, is a very significant place for Thai Buddhists. Temples play an important role in everyday life, with people going to the temple to make merit and pray to Buddha for good health, good fortune and increased wealth.There are tens of thousands of Buddhist temples in Thailand. Some of you that have been to Thailand may have visited Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) or Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).
Outside of Thailand, there are also Thai temples in many places around the world. In my blog post this time I will take you to a Thai temple in Canberra called “Wat Dhammadharo”.
Wat Dhammadharo was the first and is still the only one Thai temple in Canberra. Founded in 1993, the temple is located on Archibald Street, Lyneham, in Canberra’s inner north.
Who can visit? All are welcome to visit to experience a different culture and gain knowledge of Buddhist traditions. You don’t have to be Thai or Buddhist to visit this temple.
When can you visit? Daily at around 10:30 am there is a ceremony where people offer their food to the monks, followed by a short homily (in Thai!) and blessing from the lead monk. A short meditation is also included in the ceremony. Many of you may hear about the value of the mediation. I know some who have paid to learn how to meditate, and here it is free!
After finishing the ceremony people are welcome to have lunch together. This is where you will find the best home cooked food, and it is also a good time to meet some new Thai friends.
Other times that you can visit include special events like Thai food fair festival on Songkran day (Thai traditional New Year) which is held around the 13th, 14th or 15th of April every year. This year it is on 14th April. There will be plenty of authentic Thai food for sale and the money goes to maintaining the temple.
Temples are sacred to Thai people. Here is some basic advice for your information before visiting. There is no need to be stressed about this as there are always people there to assist you.
- Remove hats, sunglasses, and shoes when entering the temple.
- Dress appropriately.
- Remain silent; many people come here for praying and meditating, so it’s better to avoid loud chatter.
- Respect personal space and never touching the monks
- Avoid touching sacred objects in the worship area
- Be careful not to point, either with fingers or feet, at a monk or Buddha statue or even other people.
Here are some further details if you are interested in knowing more.
English Name: Wat Dhammadharo (วัดธัมมธโร)
Address: 80 Archibald Street, Lyneham, ACT 2602 Australia.
Telephone: (02) 6249 8594
Photos credit: Nid McMillen, Katapunyako Apk, Wat Dhammadharo