Origins of Fo Guang Shan ( Singapore )
During the 6th century BCE, Sakyamuni Buddha laid the foundation for what was to become a world religion, Buddhism. For over two thousand years, Buddhism has been evolving and helping countless people to live a better life through its teachings. The founder of Fo Guang Shan, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, in upholding the teachings of the Buddha has dedicated himself to propagating Humanistic Buddhism. He has established centres of practice worldwide and Singapore has benefited greatly from the Master’s international outreach.
The Singapore Chapter of the Buddha’s Light International Association was formed in 1993. In order to carry out the ideals of the Venerable Master, the President of the Overseas Executive Council, Venerable Tzu Chuang, came to Singapore to look for a place for the Singapore Chapter. Eventually, Fo Guang Yuan (Singapore) was established on 8th December 1996 at East Coast Road. Since then, the seed of Buddhism has been flourishing. It also signifies another step toward the Master’s compassionate wish for the “Buddha’s Light to shine through the universe and the Dharma to flow throughout the five continents”.
Since 1996, the Venerable Master has been visiting Singapore regularly to promote the Dharma. His lectures on Buddhism cover a wide range of topics. He presents them in an easy-to-understand manner, encouraging and motivating many young adults to learn the Dharma. Through her emphasis on understanding and spiritual cultivation, the teahouse attracted many devotees. In 1998 to cope with the rapidly increasing membership, the teahouse had to relocate to a bigger premise at the ACE Industrial Building in Paya Lebar to continue her propagation of the Dharma and support for the devotees.
In 2000, Fo Guang Shan (Singapore) was officially registered. A 2,000 square metres site was acquired in 2004. On 17th April 2005, Venerable Master Hsing Yun and Defence Minister Mr. Teo Chee Hean presided over the ground-breaking ceremony of the temple, witnessed by many delighted devotees. A prayer service to commemorate the start of the construction project was held on 13th February 2006. Fo Guang Shan (Singapore) opened her doors to the public in October 2007.
To achieve the Venerable Master’s idea of localisation and assimilation with the local culture, the new temple caters to the need of the Singapore society. The building comprises of the main shrine hall, a visitor centre, a dining room, a hall for sutra manuscripts, a columbarium, multi-purpose classrooms, a teahouse, an open-air terrace, car park and other modern facilities. The temple embraces modern technology and contemporary arts to promote the Dharma for the benefits of the people.
The four objectives of Fo Guang Shan (Singapore) set by the Venerable Master are as follows:
● Propagate the Dharma through culture
● Foster talents through education
● Benefit society through charity
● Purify minds through Dharma services
Through her many activities, Fo Guang Shan (Singapore) hopes to develop into a haven that synergies the traditional and the modern, integrates religion and culture with the emphasis on practice and wisdom so as to encompass both the venerables and devotees. At the same time, Fo Guang Shan (Singapore) aims to be an educational institute for the community and a sanctuary for spiritual cultivation in her journey to propagate Humanistic Buddhism and develop a Buddha’s Light Pure Land in Singapore.