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Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Buddhist group outgrows home
Buddhist monk Nahalle Rahula
Rahula's chanting sessions draw many people
A Buddhist community centre is drawing so many devotees that it needs bigger premises - and it is all down to one man.

Buddhist monk Nahalle Rahula was invited to Letchworth, in Hertfordshire, from his monastery in Sri Lanka two years ago.

His spiritual mission is to guide local Buddhists - his personal mission is to improve his English.

"When he first came everyone was quite curious," said Manjula Niven, a teacher at the centre.


We are having problems with the space so we are looking for a big place in this area

Buddhist monk Nahalle Rahula
"It was the first time we had someone here in orange robes around the building, but he always handled the curiosity with great dignity."

Spiritually Rahula has done what he came to do.

His chanting sessions at the centre in Pix Road are drawing so many people it is becoming impossible to squeeze everyone in the sessions.

"We are having problems with the space so we are looking for a big place in this area," said Rahula.

Latha Gunatunga
Latha Gunatunga: 200 people have visited
The group's base for now is a small house. It is expensive to rent, but an improvement on the days when local Buddhists were having travel to London.

The changes in the last two years have been remarkable.

"It started to grow in the first year. We had only about 20 people coming in the first couple of days," said Latha Gunatunga, of the Sri Lankan Society.

"Now we have about 200 people who have visited this place from far and near."

All the community needs now is more room to grow.


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01 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
16 Sep 02 | South Asia
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