Saturday, May 3, 2008
Visit to Singapore Buddhist Meditation Center
The city-state of Singapore is a beautiful place to visit, and is one of the many ports that the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet ships may stop at for a little R&R. It has many diverse cultures and religions peacefully co-existing; you can find all kinds of places of worship there. There are many, many Buddhist temples there, belonging to many different schools.
Recently during a liberty port visit to Singapore, I had the privilege of visiting the Buddhist Meditation Center. I was invited to visit by the Venerable Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero, the Chief Prelate of Singapore. He is the religious director of the Center; its mission is the worldwide dissemination of Buddha-Dharma through publication of many English-language books and sermons. This is a very important endeavor.
Together with a hardy Petty Officer from my ship, we were treated to a vegetarian lunch and a tour around Singapore, culminating with a visit to Singapore's largest Buddhist temple, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It is a beautiful four-story Chinese-style temple, mostly decorated in the traditional colors of red and gold, housing many beautiful Buddhist images, and a museum and cafe. On the fourth floor is the Sacred Tooth relic itself, housed in a 500-lb solid gold(!) reliquary behind bulletproof glass. Unfortunately, we could not take photographs, but it was a blessing to see the relic as close as we did! We met several of the staff of the temple, and discovered how hard they worked to provide such an impressive place for Buddhist devotees.
Ven. Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero generously provided many Buddhist books for us to take away with us; some have already been distributed among Sailors interested in Buddhism in our carrier group. If you are making a port visit to Singapore, definitely take the time to visit the Center, and also take time to visit the Sacred Tooth Relic Temple. It's one of Singapore's major attractions. You can also find a link to Buddhist Meditation Center's directions and selection of books on the left of this page. My thanks and gratitude to the Venerable Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero for making this port visit so memorable.
Namo Amida Butsu
Singapore Buddhist Meditation Center
No. 1, Jalan Mas Puteh
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
288 South Bridge Road