A Theravada Buddhist temple and monastery in the Greater Manchester area of northern England plans to expand into the grounds of a neighboring former golf course to create a meditation retreat center.
Established in 2016, Wat Sriratanaram, is located in the town of Kearsley, housed within the clubhouse of the former golf course, and serves as a focal point for the local Thai population.
“Although my visit was on a wet and windy February morning, it was not difficult to imagine what a beautiful place of worship it would be during a summer’s day,” said town councillor Paul Heslop after visiting the site. “The start of the walk in the grounds goes through a flower and ornamental light tunnel that leads to an open meditation area, which has many newly planted cherry blossom trees.” (Leigh Journal)
The plans for the temple expansion include spaces for meditation, recreation, the planting of a meditation garden, and agricultural grazing, all of which are in line with the council’s aim to preserve the area as a green space. The existing temple building includes accommodation for the four resident monks, a kitchen, and a central meditation hall.
“A low-level raised wooden platform is able to accommodate up to 100 followers to offer prayers to Buddha, who sits in various poses along the sides of the dais, along with the traditional gold statue of Buddha at the front,” Heslop observed. “The offerings that I brought, Buddhist prayer flags, were gratefully received and will soon be fluttering in the wind around the monastery.” (Leigh Journal)
Heslop noted that he was excited about the prospects for Wat Sriratanaram. The monastery already runs hour-long daily meditation sessions for the public. A Thai Buddhist volunteer, identified as Wendy, added that the meditation sessions often attracted up to 100 people.
“Wendy was keen to emphasize that this was open to everyone and that people did not need to be a practicing Buddhist to attend the sessions,” said Heslop. “They just need to turn up and assured of a warm welcome by the abbot, monks, congregation, and other non-Buddhist attendees.” (The Oldham Times)
Planners at the borough council are due to consider the temple’s planning application within the next few weeks.
Heslop said he intended to visit the temple again in April, for the traditional Thai new year festival Songkran. Meanwhile, the resident monks looked forward to welcoming visitors of all faiths to the monastery to gain first-hand experience of Theravada Buddhism.
Wat Sriratanaram UK: วัดศรีรัตนาราม ยูเค 2006 (Facebook)
Kearsley Thai Buddhist temple hopes to welcome visitors ahead of expansion plan (The Oldham Times)
Kearsley Thai Buddhist temple to expand further into former golf club grounds (The Bolton News)
Kearsley Thai Buddhist temple hopes to welcome visitors ahead of expansion plan (Leigh Journal)
Kearsley Thai Buddhist temple hopes to welcome visitors ahead of expansion plan (Messenger)
The former golf course being transformed into a ‘meditation’ retreat for Thai Buddhist monks (MSN)
Related news reports from BDG
British Buddhist Artist’s First Foray into Children’s Books Bears a Message of Environmental Concern
UK Charity to Turn Former Home of Poet Wordsworth into a Buddhist Retreat Center
Plan to Reincarnate 19th Century British Fort as Buddhist Temple Receives Green Light
Police in England and Wales Take Up Buddhist-inspired Meditation
Zen Buddhists to End Meditation Meetings at England’s York Minster
Mindfulness Trials Rolled Out at Hundreds of Schools in England