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Lack Of Funds Delay Europe's Largest Buddhist Temple

By Bjarne Wildau, ScandAsia.com, Aug 17, 2008

Fredrika, Sweden -- Three years after the first stone was layed in Fredrika, Sweden, the construction of Europe's largest Buddhist temple not yet begun. And no one can today say when, or if, it will be built at all. The fact is that the corporation behind the project is facing serious economic problems.

“Yes, we need a lot more money before we can start building. It takes around ten million kronor, confirms the abbot Phramaha Boonthin Taosiri in the Thai Buddhist Association.

Boonthin himself was the one who fell in love with the mountain next to Fredrika, four years ago and is was he’s own organisation, which pushed hardest for temple project.

Åsele municipality has supported what as much as it could, including through the offer of free water and sewer connection. But some other contributions from the municipality shall not be expected.

“No, we do not have any opportunities to invest money in temple project. However, we will be happy to help in other ways, with contacts, and by promoting the project in different contexts”, said councillor Bert-Rune Dahlberg, who himself believe that regime change in Thailand a few years ago contributed to the delay.

“The previous government had promised to pay for a large part of the building. We have tried to bring about a meeting with the new regime but it has so far not been possible. They are of course quite worried over there, "says Dahlberg.

The planned Buddhist temple in Fredrika in Jämtland would, if it’s ever completed by far be the largest in all of Europe. In addition, there are further plans building a large conference centre with room for 800 guests in connection with the temple.

An architectural firm in Lycksele has made the blueprint for the construction in classical Thai style, and the whole project would cost at least 50 million Swedish kronor.

"It is not possible to say when we can begin. Do we have a large donation, and then we can get started right away. But it can also take several years", said Phramaha Boonthin Taosiri.

And the problem is clearly money. According to the abbot, it would take at least 10 of the 22 million to get started.

In addition, the association has a million debts to a contractor Vännäs, which started working on temple mountain outside Fredrika three years ago. The contractor Kaj Johansson does not want to speak so much about the claims, but admits that he has not been paid.

“No. They have managed to scrape together some payment together, but there are still quite a lot that remain unpaid.
The abbot is anyway optimistic:

“Ten million is not so much. If many people in Sweden donated ten crowns each, we would soon be able to start building”, he says.


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