A campaign for a Ballarat Thai Buddhist temple has got off to a strong start.
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Just weeks after announcing a push those behind it say it has raised almost $15,000 to get the process started from people in Ballarat and Melbourne.
Dip Yuanjit said members of the Ballarat Thai community had met with monks over the weekend to talk about their plans and were buoyed by the response.
He said a temple in Ballarat would help strengthen the Thai community.
“We have 100 – 200 people in the Thai community in Ballarat, and now people go to Melbourne to visit the monks...I think maybe a bit too far to go all the time,” he said.
“We already have a Thai association, set up last year, but one thing missing is a Buddhist temple.”
Danai Adirekchotikul is also involved with the project.
He said over the next six months they would try and bring a monk to Ballarat.
“We’re looking for the prayers that we can invite the monk who can stay in Ballarat and meet the people,” he said.
Both men said the response to the Songkran Festival earlier in the month had shown the Thai community was keen to get together, and Mr Yuanjit said he had had support from the rest of the Ballarat community as well.
“(Buddhism) is about peace and quiet, so most people we know are supportive, they are happy,” he said.
The group met with the City of Ballarat on Tuesday and were positive after the discussion with officers.
As they have not identified a site planning considerations are still a long way off, but Mr Adirekchotikul said not to expect a big gold-topped place of worship like those seen in Thailand.
“We meet the monk, we see how the Thai people (and) Australian people respond to what we are doing, and after six months we plan another six months and look at what will the place be, that is suitable for (us),” he said.
Mr Adirekchotikul said they would look at sites close to town as building a temple far out would undermine the goal of bringing one closer to people.
The dominant form of Buddhism in Thailand is the Theravāda branch.
This is common in South East Asia, but separate to the Buddhism practised in eastern Asian countries.
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