Denmark is a melting pot of various cultures not only from the West but even from Asia. Some of you may be surprised to know that a Thai community exists in the country. An estimated 7,700 Thais are currently living in Denmark and about 95 percent of them are Buddhists. Approximately 80 percent of the total Buddhists in the country are immigrants from Asia including their families.
The good news is that these people from Thailand love living in this Nordic country. They have blended quite well in their community. In fact, they have set up a Thai temple in Watpa, a suburban street in the quiet village of Dragor on Amager. The temple known as the Sunnataram Copenhagen Meditation Temple is already 17 years old and the Thai Theravada monks there are happy providing spiritual nourishment to the community.
The monks are appreciative as well of the help they get from their local community. Members of the meditation center contribute by helping maintain the temple’s garden and fish pond. They see to it that the flowers and grasses are well trimmed because the monks are prohibited from engaging in any activity that involves cutting.
Members of the Thai meditation center have grown in the past decade from 1,250 to already 2,000 today. The temple has also attracted more tourists including student groups from Sweden and visitors coming from Thailand. Around 30 to 100 tourists visit the place on weekends alone.
This coming October 17, the Thai monks will hold a special ceremony with the attendance of the Thai Ambassador. The occasion is the presentation of a ceremonial robe to the monks.
Denmark first welcomed Buddhism back in the 19th century when literary works inspired people to adopt the religion’s spiritual ways. Today, Buddhism is the country’s fourth largest religion.