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[Click on the pictures to enlarge and on underlined words for more details]

When you come to visit Wat Dhammapateep (the Temple of the Light of the Teaching), situated in a very quiet street in Mechelen, you immediately recognize the place. At th streetside near the entrance you are welcomed and warned by two big collorful yaksha statues, the "Guardians of the Temple", which symbolically make cllear that there the Dhamma (Buddhist Teaching) is protected.

wdp-front-yakshas-20120424-184711-wvde-450pIn Thailand a 'Wat' can also include, besides the 'tempel' (in Western meaning: a religious place for ritual and ceremonial activities and worship) other spaces or buildings for all sorts of cultural, educational and social goals (school, hospital, museum etc.).

The main building of Wat Dhammapteep, generally called "the Temple", was bought in 2005 by Thai buddhists connected to Wat Chakkawatrajawas in Bangkok, Thailand. It is a modern construction that previously was the seat of an IT company.

The building has a fuction as temple, that means (in the Western sense), for the rituals, the ceremonies, worshipping and other spiritual actions under the guidance of the Buddhist monks. These actions take place in the Vihaan on the ground floor and in the meditation room on the first floor, the spaces where also the Buddha images and decorative elements are placed. The wall painting in the Vihaan is a work of Mr. Renaat Savels from Hofstade (Vlaams Brabant).

wdp-vihaan-20120203-pks-450pBuddha images, mostly in Thai style, are present in all sizes and in the whole gamma of symbolic postures. Typically Thai are the 'Buddhas of the Week' and the Phra Kaew Buddhas which are copies of the Emerald Buddha in the Temple of the Royal Palace in Bangkok. Some statues represent the discipels of the Buddha. There is also a life-size sculpture of the founder of the Temple, Phra Phuttiwongmunee (at that time Abbot, Sub-Patriarch - member of the Suppreme Sangha Council in Thailand).

thai-dynasty-20120412-120102-wvde-450pSome class rooms and some residences for monks and guests are available. The rest of the building is taken by sanitairy installations,  cooking, storage and living places and an office. The respect of the Thai for the monarchy is shown by big portraits of the King and the Queen.

wdp-boeddha-en-sala-20110614-185424-wvde-450pIn the garden one can see five original wooden constructions which were created in Thailand: the Thai 'sala'. These are covered open buildings suitable for many goals. One is the bell-tower, the Ho-Rakhang. A special kind of wood has been used which is reserved for temple constructions and therefore requires a permission of the Thai authorities.

In front of a a huge linden (lime) tree and under an old acacia tree stand the famous eye-catcher and highly respected symbol of the Temple, the Big Granite Buddha. In zijn schaduw organiseert de Tempel boeddhistische festivals waar elk jaar duizenden In his shadow the Temple is organizing Buddhist festivals that are attended every year by thousands of Buddhists and sympathizers.

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