LAYTON -- The Wat Dhammagunaram Buddhist Temple suddenly has five times the capacity to serve the community.
Down to just one Thai Buddhist monk for a few years, five additional monks recently came to the temple from Thailand.
"We've had to wait," said Roberta Chase, director of the temple's board of trustees. "It's been difficult to get (travel) visas. We feel very, very fortunate that they've been allowed to come and that they are so excited to be here and help with our temple."
The monks now are organizing themselves to teach free classes to community members who come to visit them.
"We get so many inquiries from people who would love to learn about Buddhism, meditation and poly chanting," Chase said.
"We're really up and running now that we have the resources."
Chase said the monks were chosen because of their education.
"All of them have college degrees," she said. "One of them has a doctorate. All of them are skilled in using the computer."
Among the changes will be an updated website designed by a monk who is now the temple's webmaster.
He predicts the updated website will be up and running in about a month.
The website, wat.layton.org, will keep those who are interested informed about coming offerings at the temple.
"The people are very delighted," Chase said of those who worship at the temple already. "They are just so happy."
Abbot Israt Rittiron, a psiamasa-level Buddhist, has been the lone monk at the temple. He said the monks are here as missionaries to bring peace and tranquility to the people of the Top of Utah.
He wants area residents to look upon the temple as a meditation center open to the public and as a place where people may participate in Buddhist traditional ceremonies.
"Anybody with a need to study, to train, to observe our tradition, we welcome," Rittiron said. "It doesn't matter who you are."
He said the main point of the monks' stay at the temple is missionary service geared toward helping people solve their personal problems.
"We lean on 84,000 methods to solve the problems," he said. "Train your mind to have the virtues. That's the way you can stay away from the suffering."
He said 10:30 a.m. Sunday services at the temple are open to all.
Rittiron noted that the congregation already has a multicultural feel that serves as a means for those of various backgrounds to feel comfortable as they join in.
He said precepts, sermons and meditation are part of each service.
Those who attend each week will be urged to keep the Buddhist precepts for the next seven days.
Those precepts are focused on the virtues of not hurting oneself and not hurting others.
Rittiron said the community also is welcome on a daily basis to join in chanting services at 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Narong, a psiamasa-level new monk who now serves as the temple's director of education, said open basic Buddhist study will start in three weeks at 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Chase said beginning around the end of October, the monks will be offering classes on sitting and walking meditation at the temple at 1 p.m. Sundays.
Narong said Thai language classes also will soon be offered at the temple.
And there will be other offerings as well.
"We will speak to the people to see what they are interested in," Narong said.
"Right now, we need to know what people need, then we will try and offer best what they want," Rittiron said.
The monks said they also are available to go to events in the community to explain their traditions and beliefs as requested. They also will meet with people who make appointments to talk to them at the temple.
But there is one request the monks have of the community.
"We do need some volunteers to come and help the monks improve their English skills," Chase said. She also noted that volunteers are sometimes needed to help with the temple grounds.
To request an appointment or to obtain more information about missionary or temple services, call the temple at 801-504-7616.
Narong said people may e-mail him about education opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chase said those who would like to volunteer to help the monks may call her at 801-966-0639.
The Wat Dhammagunaram Buddhist Temple is at 644 E. 1000 North, Layton.