Wat Dhammarangsee

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Wat Dhammarangsee

Wat Dhammarangsee

Information
Tradition/Linage Thai
Main School Theravada
Founded 1984
People
Teacher(s) Ven. Phra Tanee
Abbot(s) Ven. Phra Tanee
Contact Infotmation
Address 387-389 Springvale Road
Forest Hill
Victoria 3131
Australia
Country Australia
Coordinates
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Map
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Phone (03) 9878 6162
Mobile 04 13 717 362
Fax (03) 9878 6162
Website http://www.watdhammarangsee.org.au/Wat_Dhammarangsee/Welcome.html
Email taneesit@yahoo.com.au



Wat Dhammarangsee

Wat Dhammarangsee was the first Buddhist temple to be established in Melbourne, and is one of four Thai Buddhist centres in Victoria. According to the 2001 census, of the 23,600 Thai-born people in Australia, 5,487 or 23.3% live in Victoria. Most of the Thai-born people in Victoria live in the Local Government Area of Greater Dandenong (637 or 11.6%), Melbourne City (400 or 7.3%) and Boroondara (389 or 7.1%).

The origins of Wat Dhammarangsee dated back to 1982 when Theravada Buddhists of Thai, Lao, Cambodian, Sri Lankan, Indian and Anglo-Australian origins formed the Buddhist Foundation of Victoria. In June 1984 the group took a six month lease on a house in the eastern suburb of Melbourne, Forest Hill and invited Ven. Chaokhun Suviriyan and Ven. Phra Yoi Pussiyo to spend the Rain Retreat at this house. The community supported the monks during this time and the monks served the community by offering a variety of religious activities. At the end of the six months period it became evident that there was strong community support for the two monks to stay on. They were asked to have their stay extended for another six months. Ven. Chaokhun Suviriyan was asked to take up the position of abbot at this centre. At the end of this period Ven. Chaokhun Suviriyan had been asked to remain at the centre indefinitely, and he accepted this proposal. In June 1985, the Buddhist Foundation of Victoria and the committee of monks' residence merged, and in January 1986, the name Wat Dhammarangsee was given to the centre and the group decided to purchase a permanent place. The group original plan to establish a large centre in the country was later changed and they decided to buy a smaller place in the suburb. This was not only seemed a more practical option in terms of cost, but it was also agreed that members preferred a place at a convenient distance for regular gathering and meeting. After a period of fundraising the group purchased a house as the residence for the abbot, and in 1993 the centre also purchased the adjacent house. A large multi-purpose hall was constructed and opened in 1999 as a place for worshiping.

The current abbot of Wat Dhammarangsee is Ven. Phra Tanee. He was ordained in 1992 at Wat Phrasrimahathat Buddhist temple in Bangkok and as a part of his training he did further study in the area of religion worker. In 1999 he was invited by the previous abbot of Wat Dhammarangsee, Ven. Phra Khru Yoi, to stay at the centre as a resident monk. He became the abbot of Wat Dhammarangsee in 2001. This temple is affiliated with the Wat Phrasrimahathat Buddhist order in Thailand. The current abbot and the previous two abbots of Wat Dhammarangsee, were all ordained and completed their training at Wat Phrasrimahathat Monastery in Bangkok.

About the Abbot

Ven. Phra Tanee runs the temple and organises a number of activities. Resident monks at the centre work under the direction of the abbot. Currently, there are four resident monks. The temple has a management committee of five members. The abbot is the president of the committee, and the other members are elected by the members of the lay-community. The centre has around 500 members; the majority are Thai, Laotians and Anglo-Australians. The Anglo-Australian Buddhists attend the meditation classes and Dhamma classes that are regularly offered at the temple, while the Thai and Laotian participate in a broader range of activities, and support the monks by daily offering of food. Wat Dhammarangsee successfully bridges both cultures and addressing the needs of all members.

Activities

Wat Dhammarangsee offers a wide range of religious, cultural and community support activities. The religious activities are namely, daily chanting in Pali and meditation in the morning and evening, both opened to the public free of charge. On the weekend the abbot offers a Dhamma talk. There are two one-day retreats every year in April around the time of the Thai New Year, and before the end of the Rain Retreat in October. The retreats are usually attended by around 70 people. A short duration of the retreats is largely due to insufficient accommodation and other amenities, which makes it impossible for the centre to hold overnight retreats. The centre also has a library collection of books on Buddhism, mainly in Thai and a few in English. The library is open to the public. There are a number of major community festivals at the centre each month. These festivals include Maga Puja Day, Visak Puja Day, Asalaha Puja Day, the Rain Retreat Day, Ancestor Day (sart) and the end of Rain Retreat celebration.

Since the year 2000, Wat Dhammarangsee has been offering the Sanam Luang Dhamma study course. (Buddha’s teaching) The course, which was instigated by Ven. Phra Tanee, is taught in both English and Thai every Sunday afternoon at the centre and may also be undertaken by correspondence. The course runs for three years and the participants are required to sit for an examination at the end of each year. The centre has also used some of the materials from the program as the basis preparation for a course on Buddhism at VCE level, which will be offered to a High School student who is doing Asian Studies as an elective subject. According to Ken Chan, a community representative:

“This course is a real contribution of our temple. In Thailand this course is only available to the monks, and all monks have to do this course. Here we are very lucky to be able to do what is really a part of the monks' education. When some students had to do the exam in English we had to write to Thailand to ask permission if the exam can be done in English and they granted the permission.”

The course is also a significant community activity and at the end of the three years as many as 32 monks from Canberra, Sydney and Adelaide, as well as the home temple in Thailand, are invited to join in the end of the course celebration.

The main focus of Wat Dhammarangsee is the practice of meditation and an in depth study of the Buddha's teachings, following the traditional Theravada order.