Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

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Weather:

Time Required: 1 - 2 hours

Timings:

Gate: 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Halls: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Entry Fee:

No Entry Fee
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Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Singapore Overview

The Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery is Singapore's largest Buddhist temple, sitting on 75,470 square meters of land. Built by Zhuan Dao in the early 20th century, this Temple is located in Bishan and is considered to be a very sacred place by Buddhists. The shrine was originally built to provide lodging for Buddhist monks and to propagate Buddhism throughout Singapore. Today, the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery serves as a sanctuary for those who seek spirituality in urban Singapore. It propagates to visitors the wisdom and compassion of Buddha's teachings and helps them develop and practice mindfulness and appreciation for all things in the world.

The Monastery houses one of Asia's largest Buddhist statues, located in the Hall of No Form. Made of bronze, this marvel is 13.8 meters tall and weighs 55 tonnes. Visitors can also see the sacred Bodhi Tree at the monastery, the sapling of which was brought from the sacred Bodhi tree at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, which had been retrieved from the Bodhi Tree of Bodh Gaya in India. The outdoor statue of Avalokitesvara situated between the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas and Dharma Hall is another noteworthy feature of the monastery. This charming temple is a must visit for all those who are interested in Buddhism and want to learn more about the teachings of Buddha.

More on Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery


  • Talks: Various talks are often organized by the Monastery, revolving around the subjects of Buddhism, dharma and meditation.
  • Meditation: Workshops on the various aspects of meditation, its advantages and even a beginner’s course is frequently held in the Monastery.
  • Retreats: The monastery offers a variety of retreats as per the various schedules and preferences of devotees and other interested parties. These retreats help participants find spirituality and discover themselves on a deeper level.
  • Seminars and Workshops: Health, Yoga, Detoxification and Happiness are some of the themes around which the seminars and workshops conducted by the Monastery revolve. Many such workshops and seminars are held regularly, all of which aim to help the visitor lead a better, happier and healthier lifestyle.

Front Office: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM,
Reception: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM,
Gate 1 and 2: 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM,
Gate 3: 4:00 AM - 8:30 PM,
Gate 4: 4:00 AM - 6:45 PM,
The Shrine Halls: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM,
Hall of Great Compassion: 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM,
Ancestral Halls: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM,
The Awareness Place: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM,
Crematorium: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM,
Zen Gardens and Ponds: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

  • Shrine Halls: There are six Shrine Halls in the Monastery. The Hall of Great Compassion symbolizes the great compassion of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. The Hall of Great Strength has been dedicated to Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism. The Hall of Medicine Buddha is dedicated to the Medicine Buddha of healing and medicine, and is situated on the 2nd level of the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Located on the fourth level of the Venerable Hong Choon Memorial Hall, is the Hall of No Form which houses the huge bronze Shakyamuni Buddha statue. It is used for talks, sermons, meditations and dharma activities. The Bhikkhus (monks) and Bhikkhunis (nuns) receive their precepts in the Hall of Ambrosia Precepts. At the entrance of this Hall is a Vairocana Buddha statue, seated on a giant lotus flower on an octagon platform, guarded by eight fierce looking Vajrakumaras. The walls and ceilings of the Hall of Ambrosia Precepts is decorated with majestic paintings of heavenly beings offering alms, music and precious items to the Buddha. The Hall of Universal Brilliance was the first Hall to be built in the Monastery and it houses three Buddha statues, symbolising the past, present and future.
  • Memorial: The Monastery has a museum called the Venerable Hong Choon Museum. It was established in 2006 to commemorate the second abbot of the Monastery, the late Venerable Seck Hong Choon. The museum has many of his personal items and relics. It is only open from 10:00AM to 3:00PM on the 27th day of every lunar month, the actual day of Qingming, Vesak Day (15th day of the 4th lunar month), Ullambana (15th day of the 7th lunar month), the Birth Anniversary of Venerable Hong Choon (3rd day of the 9th lunar month), and the Death Anniversary of Venerable Hong Choon (9th day of the 11th lunar month). There is also a memorial shrine on the first floor of the Drum Tower dedicated to the late Venerable Seck Hong Choon, containing a statue of him where devotees can pay their respect.  
  • Garden Koi Pond: There are koi ponds located on each side of the Hall of Great Strength. Visitors are welcome to take a stroll along the Dragon Pond and even practice walking meditation. The gardens surrounding the ponds are beautifully landscaped and have meditation huts, where one can relax and indulge in the healing sounds of flowing water and chirping birds.

  • New Year: On the New Year, the bell in the Monastery is rung by the abbot 108 times to help visitors and devotees gain clarity and inner peace.
  • Chinese New Year: The Chinese New Year is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur in the Monastery, which is beautifully decorated during this time. This is the longest festival as it lasts from the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the 15th day of the first month. People come together on New Year’s Eve to usher in the New Year with the auspicious chiming of the bells and numerous prayers.
  • Qing Ming: The Buddhists of the Monastery spend this traditional Chinese festival by honouring and remembering their forefathers by offerings of fruits, flowers and incense sticks.
  • Vesak Day: This Day commemorates the birth, enlightenment and the final Nirvana of the Buddha. As such, it has great significance for Buddhists and is celebrated in a grand way by the Monastery. Various ceremonies are held during this day like the Light Transference Ceremony and the 3 Step 1 Bow Ceremony. Special prayers, talks, tours and exhibitions are also held during the celebrations of Vesak Day.
  • Ullambana: Special prayers are held during this day, which expresses gratitude to our ancestors and shows compassion towards the beings suffering in this world. Ullambana is observed on the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month.
  • Shui Lu: This is one of the grandest and most supreme of all Buddhist prayers. It takes seven days and nights to complete, and 11 different prayer texts are recited in the various different Inner and Outer Shrines of the Monastery.

Built between 1920 and 1921, the monastery was originally called the Phor Kark See Monastery. It came to be known as Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery since it was situated on Kong Meng San Hill. This was the first traditional Chinese forest monastery in Singapore and it was originally only a two storey building with a shrine room, a visitors' room and living quarters. The Monastery expanded over the years, especially under its second abbot, Hoong Choon. Under his tenure, the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas and prayer halls as large as ten football fields were built on the premises of the Monastery.

Guided tours are often organized by the monastery. They are free of charge, although visitors can make donations, and usually between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM. Visitors are taken around the monastery during these tours and are informed about its history and colourful heritage as a sanctuary for monks and devotees. Visitors must refrain from wearing low cut tops and shorts during these tours.

The best times to visit the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery are during the various festivals and religious Buddhist observances celebrated here.

Visitors can buy Dharma books, religious items, bilingual Buddhist books, inspirational and spiritual books, CDs, accessories and lifestyle items from the Awareness Place outlet at the Monastery. The outlet is open from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

  • Free lunch is available for the public on every Sunday, the 1st and 15th day of every lunar month and on the 27th day of every lunar month.
  • Visitors are requested to dress respectfully by covering the shoulders and knees when visiting the monastery.
  • Visitors must speak in low voices when visiting the Shrine Halls.
  • Visitors are not allowed to feed the fish in the ponds.

  • By MRT: The nearest station to the monastery is Bishan MRT (NS17/CC15). From Bishan Bus Interchange, visitors should take bus No. 410 (white plate) or No. 52 and they should reach the Monastery within 10 minutes.
  • By Bus: Bus Nos. 52, 162, 162 M and 410 will bring visitors to Gate 3 of the monastery.
  • By Taxi/Car: Visitors should direct drivers to go to 'Kong Meng San' or Bright Hill Temple on Sin Ming Avenue. The drop off should be at Bright Hill Road main entrance.

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