In Europe at first, a few monks were sent to study in university in England and at the same time to find a way to set up a branch centre. In 1997, the first Dhammakaya meditation centre in Europe was established in Ieper, Belgium and shortly after that in France, England, and Germany. Mostly, there were just a few monks in rented spaces because of the visa limitations for monks and volunteers who wanted to stay in these countries.
In 2003, a group of monks who were assigned to fulfill the temple and the foundation’s vision arrived in Europe. Then the mission to set up and expand the branch centres around Europe was gradually implemented.
Since then, the number of centres has increased from four to 28 in 12 countries throughout Europe, with the temple buying the spaces used rather than renting. And there are many devotees who regularly join the activities and follow the teaching of Luang Por rooted in Buddhist practice. Activities in general include meditation teaching, retreats and group ordination for local students and adults. Activities for devotees always emphasize the practice of giving, self-discipline, and meditation.
Our vision is “World peace through inner peace”. Inner peace in turn is derived from meditation practice. And the habits which promote good meditation practice affect one’s thinking, speech, and actions in a wholesome way. These good habits enable one to take long-term responsibility for one’s mental, verbal, and physical action. Peace already exists within us. It is always there in everyone, no matter who. We only need to be aware of it. Each human being has the potential to look within, to be still, to experience peace. We can see for ourselves that the road which leads us to world peace lies within our inner peace. And all the branch centers of Wat Phra Dhammakaya around the world have started this work to awaken and invite all humankind to join.