The Wat Sri Ratanaram temple on Moss Lane became a vibrant hub of activity as more than 100 Buddhist monks, accompanied by over 1,000 devoted followers and esteemed guests, convened for the annual meeting of the Council of UK and Ireland Buddhist Monks. The temple, renowned as a unique spiritual haven in the region, attracted guests from far and wide who eagerly gathered to witness the grand parade of monks and their followers.
Among the attendees were several notable figures, including Cllr Paul Heslop from One Kearsley, who expressed his delight at the substantial turnout. “There were also many locals and friends of the temple who also attended the meeting and joined in the festivities,” he remarked. The temple premises resonated with energy as approximately 130 monks and 1,200 followers came together to celebrate the occasion. Distinguished guests, including Cllr Heslop, Cllr Debbie Newall, Cllr Melanie Livesey, Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton, Cllr Mohammed Ayub and Zaibun Nisa, were also in attendance.
The Chief Abbot of the temple, Abbot PK Paganon Buddimeth, personally guided Mayor Mohammed Ayub, accompanied by Mayoress Zaibun Nisa and MP Yasmin Qureshi, on a tour of the temple grounds. The esteemed guests were treated to a glimpse of the ornamental features and newly planted tree saplings, enhancing the once windswept area of Kearsley. “The Mayor, Mayoress, and councillors were then treated to traditional vegetarian Thai food,” shared Cllr Heslop. The delectable feast included the fiery Som Tam, a spicy papaya salad that tantalized the taste buds of all present.
To mark the beginning of the annual meeting, the ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed by the honored guests, including newly elected Kearsley councillor Melanie Livesey. Additionally, the Mayor, Mayoress, and MP Qureshi participated in planting four fruit trees near the recently installed footbridge, creating a symbolic connection between the main temple area and the serene Garden of Peace & Reflection.
As the event drew to a close, the Mayor, Mayoress, and councillors departed with not only fond memories but also newfound culinary inspiration. They left with a few traditional Thai vegetarian recipes, having thoroughly enjoyed the feast that had been lovingly prepared for them.
The annual meeting of the Council of UK and Ireland Buddhist Monks provided an opportunity for spiritual unity, cultural exchange, and camaraderie among monks, followers, and esteemed guests, strengthening the bonds of the Buddhist community in the region.