Back Our Buddhists

Plans for a Buddhist temple in Cambridge are under threat after leading monks have been forced out of the country.

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A group of Cambridge-based Buddhist monks have been asked to leave the UK, causing plans for the first ever Buddhist temple in Cambridge to be suspended.

A campaign had been launched by the organisation Buddha Metta Cambridge, consisting of monks from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Burma, Tibet and the UK, to build Cambridge’s first dedicated Buddhist temple. The temple would have provided support, teaching and meditation classes to all local Buddhists as well as to students interested in the religion.

Life may be a path…but it doesn’t lead to Cambridge

The group aimed to raise £400,000 in order to establish the temple, but plans were scuppered when leading monks were denied an extension to their tourist visas.

Lead monk, Luang Poh Sudiro, is a Thai religious leader who was highly influential in the development of the project. On the campaign’s website, he outlines the importance of the project:

“Cambridge has a long association with Buddhism going back to the 1930s. We hope that a Buddhist temple will be a new chapter in this story, offering a place where everyone can come and learn about Buddhism.”

He has since had to return to Thailand.

Dr Rachael Harris, the Cambridge University Buddhist Chaplain and a trustee of the Buddha Metta project, has acknowledged that this development will cause problems for the campaign.

She told the Cambridge News: “We are having difficulties getting visas for monks to lead the temple – it is proving extremely difficult – and at the moment we have no monks here.

Student reaction to the news has shown solidarity with the monks:

Sarah, a third year student at Tit Hall, told The Tab: “It seems such a shame that an opportunity to bring even more diversity to our great city has been snuffed out by the government.”

Jack from Pembroke added: “These monks planned to offer something really valuable to everyone in Cambridge. We should protect them. Bring back the monks!