So I've been a Buddhist since around 2007, but I've never been to a temple. I don't think I've ever actually met another Buddhist. I just go by what I read in Bodhi's translations and Thanissaro's lectures and practice on my own.
I had called their number a few years ago and asked if--I forget what I said specifically--something like do you have any services? (I may have said "Sunday services." Ack.) The response was something like:
Aah.. uh, no...
Sort of like a Consuela "no.. no..". It didn't seem that the person spoke English very well, although I think he understood my question.
At the time I had figured that a Thai temple is probably just not very interested in westerners. (I've noticed typical western converts to Buddhism don't tend to wholeheartedly buy into one tradition or another, they might read books on Zen, listen to lectures by the Dalai Lama and also watch videos by Ajahn Brahm. They often totally disregard the idea of rebirth. I can see how some of this might be off-putting to conservative Theravadins.)
So I figured their interest is just in attending to the Thai community there, and/or they may have few or no people that speak English well enough to teach in that language. Since then I've sort of alternated back and forth between this view and thinking maybe I ought to pursue it further. Now that I'm so close to the temple, I'm thinking more about trying to attend.
So my question is does anyone here have first-hand experience with Thai temples in the United States and how those tend to handle westerners wanting to attend?
I'm really only interested in practice. I'm only interested in devotion-based actions (e.g. veneration of Buddha statues, kathina ceremonies) insofar as they inspire practice, because I can imagine a scenario where the only thing being done is offering of incense, giving robes and alms to monks and maybe listening to Pali chanting, with little or no meditation or English-language talks. If that's the case, it might not be worth it. (Although this is a Dhammayut temple, so I would tend to think they would certainly be doing meditation there?)
I'm specifically interested in anyone who's Thai and attends Thai temples in the United States, especially a Dhammayut temple like this one, and could give me some insight as to how they operate, what practices they do and how useful it would be to someone who's interested primarily in practice, less in ritual..