A Scandinavian home
SIDA came into being in 1983 as a result of the energetic efforts and dedication of ardent Buddhist devotees who gathered in Stockholm during the winter of 1982 to discuss the possibility of forming an association.
Their courage and determination resulted in establishing a temporary organization, which became permanent after a general meeting in March, 1983 at the SIDA Auditorium in Stockholm.
Once established in 1985 the Stockholm Buddhist Temple moved to several temporary locations until the monastics and devotees succeeded in acquiring a permanent building for the center in Jakobsberg in 1995.
Thai Temple in Gothenburg
In 2005 Mrs. Eh and her husband Stein donated five hectares in northern Rörum for a temple building. However, lack of municipal water and sanitation would have meant additional costs if it had been built there.
So in 2006, Mrs. Eh and her husband found a property, one owned by a Thai/Swedish family, was for sale. They jumped at the opportunity to create a temple in southern Sweden and decided to purchase the property.
The temple has been built by Theravada Thai Buddhists and their partners living in southern Sweden. They have received help from the monks of Wat Pa in Copenhagen under the direction of Abbot Phar Kru Somsak.
Theravada temple in Skåne Åstorpsvägen
Buddhism is not a law or set of dogmas. It is a direct path to enlightenment, something to be undertaken and verified for oneself. Since it is not a "religion" in our Western sense, one need not abandon any faith or creed to practice.
It is often spoken of as an Eastern philosophy or a way of life, says the Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Assati. All are welcome here to meditate, not only Buddhists. When the temple at Railway Road 13 in Åstorpsvägen was recently inaugurated, about 100 people attended. Most were Sri Lankan Buddhists from southern Sweden who previously had to travel to Stockholm or Copenhagen, where there are already Buddhist temples.
"Some attendees were not Buddhists," says Mr. Nandi Dei Zylva, Chairman of Standing Behind the Temple, a Sri Lankan Buddhist cultural association in Skaane. "My wife, for example, is a Christian."
"We’re neighbors with Björnekulla Church, and the pastor and his family came here," continues Mr. Dei Zylva. "They were very friendly and accommodating and said that our visitors were free to use their parking [lot]."
The temple in Åstorpsvägen was financed by members and is a Sri Lankan Buddhist temple, unlike the Bjuv, which is Vietnamese. Bhikkhu Assati explains the difference:
"Buddhism, which originated in Nepal and India, has two branches -- ours called Theravada ["Teaching of the Buddha's elder enlightened disciples"] and the Bjuv called Mahayana ["Great Vehicle"]. Theravada is more conservative than the Mahayana. It is much like the difference between Catholicism [which is like universalist Mahayana] and [back to basics] Protestantism."
- [A more apt comparison might be Sufism to Islam or Judaism to Christianity because both are related but one is a popularization and is ten times larger.]
The temple’s representatives wish many Åstorpsbors will come to visit and meditate. They welcome all who feel the need to replace their daily stress with a moment of contemplative rest.
In addition to the Bjuv Buddhist temple of Sweden, there is a Vietnamese temple in Katrineholm.