Thai Buddhist Temple - Wat Yanviriya
Wat Yanviriya was the first Thai BUDDHIST temple in Canada (wat means temple-monastery). In 1992 Lord Abbot Luang Phor Viriyang Sirintharo established Wat Yanviriya in a converted Christian church in East Vancouver.
Luang Phor (a Thai term of respect for senior monks) has directed his network of THAI wats from Wat Dhammamongkol in Bangkok, where he maintains his position as Lord Abbot. He first assigned several senior Thai monks to the new Canadian location, but over the next ten years, the senior monks returned to Thailand and secular programs, such as Thai language classes, were discontinued. Luang Phor maintains contact with the Vancouver wat from his Canadian base in Edmonton, where he established his residence. The junior monks assigned to the Vancouver wat rotate between there and Luang Phor's other wats in Ontario and Alberta.
The majority of the Wat Yanviriya congregation are Thai Buddhists; an important activity for the members is to make merit, a cultural imperative for Thais. Members make merit by donating money and food, and by making ritualized donations of robes and prepackaged baskets of daily needs such as toothpaste and towels. Wat Yanviriya is also the regional home of the Willpower Institute, Luang Phor's international outreach foundation. The mandate of the Institute is to train meditation teachers, build general mindfulness, and ultimately promote world peace.
The Lao and CAMBODIAN communities in Vancouver have established their own wats, and two other Thai wats have opened; therefore attendance at Wat Yanviriya has declined slightly. Nevertheless it continues to function as a gathering place and social centre, especially for newly arrived Thais, and continues to offer education in both sitting and walking meditation.