Center Profile

Wat Nawamintararachutis (The NMR Buddhist Meditation Center) (2013)

Thai (Buddhism)
382 South Street East
Raynham MA 02767
Phone: 508-823-1800
Fax: 508-823-1775

Websites:


Photographs:


About

Wat Nawamintararachutis was founded on August 1, 2002 in Boston as a Theravada Buddhist temple of the Mahanikaya sect and is registered as a nonprofit organization: the NMR Buddhist Meditation Center.

Description

History

In the late 1990s, a group of Thai families living in the Boston area became interested in founding a Theravada Buddhist temple in honor of the Thai monarch Rama IX, Bhumibhol Adulyadej, who was born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge on December 5, 1927. The group enlisted the support of Phra Promwachirayan, abbot of the Royal Wat Yannawa in Bangkok, who had helped establish Wat Dhammaram in Chicago, Illinois and was developing other Thai Buddhist temples in the United States. Wat Nawamintararachutis was founded on August 1, 2002 in Boston as a Theravada Buddhist temple of the Mahanikaya sect and is registered as a nonprofit organization: the NMR Buddhist Meditation Center. The temple's name itself is a composite of several Sanskrit words, meaning “the Temple of King Rama the Ninth of the Chakri Dynasty.” For convenience the temple is called simply “Wat Nawamin.” The temple community struggled to find a proper facility for a decade, located briefly in Boston, Braintree, Quincy, Waltham, and Watertown. In April 2006, after much searching and fundraising, the community purchased a 50 acre property in Raynham, Massachusetts. The community is currently raising money to begin construction on a large multi-million dollar Thai-inspired temple, cultural center, and monastery. The design for the future temple was created in a combined effort between Venerable Phra Promwachirayan and an American architect so as to adjust the Thai structure to better suit Massachusetts weather conditions. The temple community hopes to have the temple completed in 5 to 10 years.

Description

Wat Nawamin is located on an expansive 50 acre property in Raynham, Massachusetts. A small New England style farmhouse by the road serves as the monks' quarters. The ground floor of the building includes a small kitchen and dinning room, each decorated with portraits of the royal family of Thailand as well as detailed drawings of the temple's construction plans. Also on the ground floor is a modest prayer room which includes a small shrine clustered with flowers, offerings, and various Thai Buddhas of different shapes and sizes. The private quarters of the 6 resident monks and a newly renovated guest room for Phra Promwachirayan are located upstairs. A meditation and prayer hall is being built on the back of the main house. It shelters a 7-foot golden standing Buddha as well as Thai and Buddhist flags. The nearby barn has been converted into a summer school facility for young children; the large open room has been sectioned off into four small classrooms and one larger hall with a stage and altar for a golden Buddha. The resident monks have grown an impressive garden by the house, which includes vegetables and towering sunflowers. Much of the property has yet to be developed as lay members are still working to raise funds for further construction.

Services and Outreach

There are currently 6 resident monks at Wat Nawamin. Most of them trained at the Sangha University in Bangkok, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, to serve Thai communities abroad. The resident monks host hour-long meditation and chanting services daily in the early morning and evening. In addition, throughout the day, the monks are available to receive laity for counsel, to perform religious rites, and give lessons on Buddhism, Thai culture, and language. All of these services are open to the public. Throughout the year, the community hosts about a dozen events to celebrate Buddhist holy days. Such celebrations function as fundraisers and can attract as many as 300 people. The resident monks have also been invited to offer blessings at the annual Southeast Asian Water Festival in Lowell . They participated in Buddha's birthday celebrations hosted by the Greater Boston Buddhist Cultural Center in the Boston Commons and at the Samantabhadra/Pho Hien temple in Braintree. In 2007, a children's summer program was started at the temple. Around 30 children attend the camp. Activities include chanting, meditation, dharma talks, singing, Thai language lessons, Thai musical instrument training, and Thai dance lessons.

Demographics

Wat Nawamintararachutis draws the majority of its members from the Thai community of New England but a small percentage of members are Lao-, Khmer-, Vietnamese- and Euro-American.

Date Center Founded
1990s

Religious Leader and Title
Honorable Dr. Swai Lunbong, Head Monk

Membership
Weekly visitors vary. The temple attracts up to 500 people for larger ceremonies.

Ethnic Composition
Wat Nawamintararachutis draws the majority of its members from the Thai community of New England but a small percentage of members are Lao-, Khmer-, Vietnamese- and Euro-American.