The Dhammapadipa Temple, a Thai Theravada center in Edinburgh, has reopened after a £120,000 (US$160,000) renovation. The temple, located in a former family home, first opened in 2005 in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, which took the lives of an estimated 227,898 people.
In the years since its founding, plans were made to move the temple to a mansion in the southeast of the Scottish capital, with financial support from Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Thai chairman of England’s Leicester City Football Club. These plans were halted after Srivaddhanaprabha’s sudden death in a helicopter crash in 2018.
While undergoing refurbishment, the temple remained open to the public, even hosting a food bank during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The center also held regular religious activities for local Thai Buddhists and introductory meditation and yoga classes popular with local non-Buddhists and converts.
In 2016, the temple was targeted by thieve,s who stole its main Buddha statue. In 2018, a stone carver in Thailand created a new 250-kilogram statue for the temple.
Deputy Abbot Prasert Prommala said at the time: “Once it was completed, it was shipped over to Edinburgh, where it now takes pride of place in our front garden overlooking Slateford Road. We hope the passing community enjoy seeing this outstanding statue as they pass our temple as much as we do.” (BBC)
This year, a new 500-kilogram Buddha, ordained with gold leaf, is on display at the temple. It is scheduled to be exhibited at the National Museum of Scotland in 2023.
Temple chairman Kachen Gerdphol said: “The temple has existed since 2005. It was brought together as a result of the Thai community that came together after the tsunami in Asia. It has grown into a community hub for well-being, and holds meditation classes not for profit.” (Manchester Evening News)
Gerdphol continued: “There were two double garages and we knocked down two separating walls to create an 85-square-foot [7.9-square-meter] Buddha hall. It was quite an event trying to get something like that into a residential house.” (Manchester Evening News)
Phramaha Prasert Prommala, head monk at the temple, said of the recent renovations: “The quality of products and finishes merits a far higher budget, but we must give credit to all our materials providers and tradespeople who tirelessly worked to tight timescales and kept their costs down to achieve this on budget. While we followed the plans to the letter, walking into our main hall still feels special. The feedback from everyone who enters is exceptional.” (Deadline News)
“The renovation cost around £50,000 but people and communities really got behind the project and gave us massive discounts. It would have been around £120,000 but for people giving us discounts and keeping prices down.” (Manchester Evening News)
Head Monk Prommala added: “We always knew there was potential to overhaul the floorplans of the ground floor to maximize the building’s potential to create a large, spacious, and natural light-laden space for patrons to enjoy. We wanted a space that was encouraging for the local community to come in, enjoy its peaceful and uplifting ambiance as we knew anyone interested would love spending time there.” Further, he noted: “We agreed on a design that blended in fabrics and design styles that had similarities and were common in both traditional Edinburgh and Thai decor, such as Georgian-style block cornicing, wall paneling, and stressed wood flooring in some places. This was then supported with modern lighting systems to give mood effect and a peaceful atmosphere.” (Deadline News)
The Dhammapadipa Temple represents the home of Thai Buddhists who have settled in Scotland. It was founded with support from the UK’s original Thai Buddhist temple, Wat Buddhapadipa in Wimbledon, London.
New Buddha statue for Thai temple in Edinburgh (BBC News)
Family home transformed into Thai Buddhist temple open to the public (Manchester Evening News)
Renovation Unveils New Look Thai Temple (Deadline News)
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