The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is a Buddhist temple and museum complex located in the Chinatown district of Singapore.
The temple is based on the Tang dynasty architectural style and built to house the tooth relic of the historical Buddha. The ground breaking ceremony was conducted on 13 March 2005. Costing S$62 million and 2 years later, a soft launch was held to coincide with the 2007 Vesak Day celebration. It is claimed that the relic of Buddha from which it gains its name was found in 1980 in a collapsed stupa in Myanmar. The relic can be viewed by the public at the 4th floor of the temple.
Since opening, the temple has become a popular attraction within Chinatown. Simple vegetarian fare is served in the basement of the temple, though donations are accepted.
The President and Abbot of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, and Abbot of the Golden Pagoda Buddhist Temple is Venerable Shi Fa Zhao. Shi Fa Zhao is also the founder of the Metta Welfare Association, a non-profit Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) that provides special education, welfare services, community and medical care to the intellectually disabled, elderly and terminally ill in society.
In 1989, Venerable Shi Fa Zhao founded the Golden Pagoda Buddhist Temple at 798 Tampines Road (now 83, Tampines Link). This simple 2-storey and 1-basement building, incorporated both traditional and modern design elements, with unique Mahayana, Theravada and Vajayana artifacts. The Ground breaking and blessing ceremony was held on 11 March 1990, led by Elder Ven. Guang Qia, Abbot of Long San Temple. The laying of the Foundation stone was by Mr Zhuang Rexi. The new temple building was completed in 1992, the precursor to Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. The Temple was consecrated on 6 February 1992 and officially opened on 19 September 1992 by Mr Chew Heng Ching, Member of Parliament for Eunos GRC.
In early 1997, Ven. Shi Fa Zhao was approached by Singapore Tourism Board to develop a proposal for a temple at Sago Lane, on half of the vacant site. Given the short notice, a draft proposal was submitted 4 days later for the Golden Mandala Buddhist Temple, based on the principles of the Buddhist mandala and taking into account the needs of tourists visiting the temple. As space was a constraint, the building would have a modern, high-rise design and numerous facilities. This proposal was not developed further.
Subsequently in early 1998, we were again approached by Singapore Tourism Board to develop a traditional Chinese temple and opera stage for the entire Sago Lane vacant site, so as to blend into the Chinatown landscape. By April 1998, we submitted a comprehensive proposal, with detailed architectural plans for the Gajah Ratna Buddhist Temple. This proposal included various facilities, activities and events to be organized for both locals and tourists.
As covered in the earlier section, on 4 August 2002, Ven. Cakkapala decided to hand over the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic to Ven. Shi Fa Zhao. He exhorted the new guardian that, should the opportunity arise, he should build a monastery for the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic, so that Buddhists from everywhere may gather in Singapore to venerate this. Having been so urged by Ven. Cakkapala, Ven. Shi Fa Zhao found himself being tested.
The final proposal for the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum was submitted to Singapore Tourism Board in December 2004. This was followed by preparation of various legal documents and final approvals from various government authorities.
Finally, the Grand Official Opening Ceremony was held on Vesak Day eve evening, 30 May 2007, with President S R Nathan as our Guest of Honor. There were many local and overseas Sangha and guests. This was also held in conjunction with our first Vesak Festival Parade and carnival.
The Grand Consecration Ceremony was held on May 2008 and the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic was finally placed at its exquisite Chinatown home for the veneration by all Buddhists; showcasing our Buddhist culture and Chinatown heritage to all the overseas visitors to Singapore.
The Temple is four storeys building with a basement
Mountain Gate - This is the main entrance to the Temple at 288, South Bridge Road, Chinatown, Singapore. This traditional temple gateway has 3 large, heavy, red lacquered doors in accordance with traditional Tang Dynasty doors.The mountain gate (Chinese: shān mén, 山門: Japanese: sanmon, サンモン,三門 or 山門; Korean: sanmun, 산문) – the gate in front of the temple. The Japanese name is also short for Sangedatsumon (三解脱門 or Gate of the three liberations). Its three openings (kūmon (空門), musōmon (無相門) and muganmon (無願門) symbolize the three gates to enlightenment. Entering, one can free himself from three passions or keshas (貪 ton, or greed, 瞋 shin, or hatred, and 癡 chi, or “foolishness”).
Bell Tower - The Temple Bell is found on the second floor of the Bell Tower, to the right of the mountain gate. The Temple Bell is one of the most important musical instruments in a temple; listening to the sounds produced by the bell is said to give you a clear mind, improve your wisdom, avoid future disasters and receive blessings. Tolling the Bell is one of the ways to welcome the Chinese New Year and wish for good fortune.
In the Mazzinene storey, there are Dharma Hall and Ancestral Memorial Hall. Welcoming you on the Mezzanine storey, is the statue of the compassionate South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, sitting in the middle of the Dharma Hall, where many Buddhist ceremonies commence from.
The concept of a Dharma Hall started in China during the Jing Dynasty. This hall is usually located in the monastery’s private area, out of bounds to the public, next to the Abbot’s quarters. The hall is normally used for the Dharma lectures by the Abbot and eminent monks to the monks in the temple.
At the Ancestral Memorial Hall, you will notice a quiet chamber with another benevolent and compassionate Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, surrounded by a number of elegant ancestral tablets.
Majushri Sutra Chamber is located at second floor.
Samantabhadra Sutra Chamber and Sacred Relics are located at third floor.
Sacred light hall is located at forth floor.
Daily : 7.00am to 7.00pm
1 Wear appropriate attire to show respect; no bare backs, off-shoulders, shorts, mini-skirts, etc
2 Strictly no non-vegetarian food and pets inside the Temple.
Nearest MRT : Telok Ayer DT18 or Outram Park EW16/NE3
New Bridge Ctr - Stop ID 05039: 2 / 12 / 33 / 54 / 63 / 124 / 143 / 147 / 190 / 851 / 961 / 961C / 970 / CT8 / CT18
Maxwell Rd FC - Stop ID 05269: 80 / 145
Opp Sri Mariamman Tp - Stop ID 05189: 61 / 166 / 197