Venerable Samahito, The public relation of The Council of Thai Bhikkhus in USA, during his visit to Christchurch in November 1998 for teaching meditation, incidentally heard this idea. He met some of the committees and heartily took the responsibility to consult the monks and lay people in Thailand.
Since Venerable Phra Soponthammawong, the compassionate monk, Abbot of Indraviharn Temple, Bangkok, Thailand, kindly accepted to be the chairman of this project, the progress of the project gathered pace. He, his colleagues, and all followers of the Buddhist faith in Thailand and America, accompanied by the devotees in New Zealand held the first Forest Robe Presentation Ceremony on 20 December 1998, at Wairakei School Hall, Christchurch. Many Buddhists belonging to different nationalities and their friends attended the ceremony and made donations towards the establishment of the temple. By this time, the amount of money in the donation boxes has also been increasing every month.
The dream came true after the return visit of Venerable Phra Soponthammawong to Christchurch to lead the second Forest Robe Presentation Ceremony on 2 May 1999 at Shirley Boys’ High School Hall. Many more Buddhists joined and contributed more money towards the project. When all the previous donations from New Zealand and around the world had been put together, the project had money enough to purchase a house with a piece of land to establish a temporary temple for the first rains-retreat in 1999.
Therefore, Venerable Phra Soponthammawong and the trustees signed the contract for buying and transferring the property into the Trust’s name on 5 May 1999. He also named the first international Theravada Buddhist temple in Christchurch “Wat Buddha Samakhee”. Soon afterwards, in July 1999, 5 Thai monks arrived in Christchurch for the first rains-retreat at the temple, which is located at 779 Main North Road, Belfast, Christchurch. The first abbot is Venerable Samahito who has experience in teaching insight meditation in USA for more than 14 years.
After the temple was set up, many activities such as worships, sermons, meditation classes, religious rites and cultural activities have been carried out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Those activities were open wide to people from all walks of life. These led to the lack of enough space for the lay people. Consequently, the idea to move to a bigger area has been raised. Many locations was searched carefully and the new place finally had been found at 359 Marshland road, Shirley, Christchurch. This is the new, spacious, and permanent place for the first international Theravada Buddhist temple in Christchurch named “Wat Buddha Samakhee”.
Luang Poh Phra Buddhasamakhee was founded on 22 June
1999 at Wat Indraviharn, Bangkok, Thailand. The Chairman of the foundation
was Venerable Phra Wisutthathibordee, member of the
Maha Thera Samagom (The Elders’ Council), the Ecclesiastical Regional
Governor, Abbot of Wat Suthat, Bangkok, Thailand. Luang Poh Phra Buddhasamakhee is a Chiangsaen style Buddha image. Lap size of the statue
is 16 inches width.
Venerable Phra Wisutthathibordee, Venerable Phra Soponthammawong, Abbot of Wat Indraviharn, Bangkok, Thailand and their colleague brought Luang Poh Phra Buddhasamakhee to Wat Buddha Samakhee here in New Zealand on 14th November 1999.
The Most Venerable Somdet Sangharaja Phra Nyanasamvara,
Supreme Patriach of Thailand allowed Venerable Phra Soponthammawong,
Abbot of Wat Indraviharn, Bangkok, Thailand and Venerable Phra
Khru Dhammathorn Setthakic Samahito (Venerable Samahito) , Abbot of Wat
Buddha Samakhee, Christchurch, New Zealand to meet him on 5th November
On this auspicious occasion His Holiness, Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara conferred the Buddha Relics on Wat Buddha Samakhee. The Buddha Relics was brought here in New Zealand leading by Venerable Phra Wisutthathibordee, member of the Maha Thera Samagom (The Elders’ Council), the Ecclesiastical Regional Governor, Abbot of Wat Suthat and his colleague to Wat Buddha Samakhee on 14th November 1999.
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