Ideal Time: 1 - 2 hours
Open Time: Buddhist Culture Museum and Relic Chamber: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM,
Eminent Sangha Museum: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM,
Guided Tour: Saturday: 2:00 PM
Cost: No Entry Fee
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple Museum is a Chinese Buddhist temple found in the Chinatown district of Singapore. It is dedicated to the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic, said to be the left canine tooth of Lord Buddha which can be found in the shrine, constructed in 2007. The chief draw of the temple lies in its design and architecture, which has been extensively-researched to replicate the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty and the Buddhist Mandala.
There are two museums at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, one located on the third floor below the Sacred Tooth Relic and the other found on the mezzanine floor.
Buddhist Culture Museum: Situated on the third floor of the shrine, one can find around 300 Buddhist artefacts and relics in this room, retrieved from various regions in Asia such as China, Thailand, Myanmar, and Pakistan. These relics help onlookers understand and appreciate the history of Buddhism and Buddhist culture.
Eminent Sangha Museum: Situated on the mezzanine floor, one can use this treasure trove of information to explore the lives and the contributions of the eminent Buddhist monks of Singapore, as well as from across the world. It is interesting to see how Buddhism has flourished over the years during the development of the multicultural society seen in present day Singapore.
The temple was designed and conceptualised by Shi Fa Zhao, the chief abbot of this sacred site. Built in 2007, the building features outstretched eaves, bright colours, outspread and even-levelled roofs, simple doors and windows without ornamental accessories. These elements are all characteristic of the architectural style of the Tang dynasty, an ancient Chinese kingdom integral in the adoption of Buddhism in mainstream Chinese culture. Venerable Shi Fa Zhao had extensively researched on this architectural style in order to implement as much of it in the current temple we see today. The overall structure, in terms of placement of facilities and layout, is inspired by the Buddhist Mandala, a symbol of Buddhist culture that represents the universe.
The first floor of this magnificent shrine is where one will find the Hundred Dragons Hall, home to a ceiling mounted keman framed by a hundred ornate dragons, and the Universal Wisdom Hall, lined with one hundred Buddha statues performing various mudras or hand gestures. There are two museums within the shrine, the Buddhist Culture Museum and the Eminent Sangha museum, where one can learn more about Buddhist culture and the history and impact of Buddhism in Singapore. The fourth floor is the prime feature of this temple, where one will find the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic enshrined in a giant gold Buddhist stupa weighing over 300 kilograms. This area is known as the Sacred Light Hall. Finally, this glorious structure is completed by the rooftop garden that can be accessed through one of the four corner staircases on the preceding floor. This charming little garden is filled with trees, shrubs and orchids, with the peaceful atmosphere of the place magnified by the delicate wind chimes set around the garden. There are four small pavilions where one can find the Buddhas of the Cardinal Points. The middle of the garden is where the Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel lies, said to the largest prayer wheel in the world.
The Buddha Relic Tooth Temple is devoted to helping the community understand and appreciate Buddhism. A specially designed programme known as ‘Discovering Buddhism’ is regularly organised by the temple, where participants have the unique opportunity to learn Chinese Mahayana Buddhist etiquette, basic Buddhist teachings and basic meditation over the span of a day. There are also beginner, intermediate and advanced meditation courses held here.
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The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is located on South Bridge Road in the bustling Chinatown district of Singapore. Those choosing to arrive through public transport can take a bus to the Maxwell Road FC bus stop, a short walk away from the temple, or opt for travelling by the MRT to either the Chinatown or Telok Ayer station, both within a kilometre’s radius of the charming temple.
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