The Spiritual Side of Singapore

Sushi Menon, June 5, 2015
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

Hundreds of lotus candles, incense sticks jabbed into pots of sand, and chants that roll within the walls of the Wat Palelai temple define Vesak Day celebrations in Singapore. Vesak Day is celebrated across the country by Mahayana Buddhists to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha. It's the most significant day in the Buddhist calendar and a public holiday in the city-state.

More than 30 percent of Singaporeans are Buddhists; the religion owes its roots in Singapore to migrants from other parts of the world. The island has many beautiful Buddhist temples that exhibit a wide variety of sculptures and paintings that depict the life of Gautama Buddha.

Vesak Day sees huge crowds with people of all ages praying, chanting, and bathing statues of the Buddha. Monks can be seen blessing followers inside the temples. Some temples have meditation programs too. Many lotus lanterns are dedicated by followers on this day to renew their commitment to seeking enlightenment and in helping others strive towards this goal. Buddhists also pray for the world to be a more peaceful place as the religion is defined essentially by its faith in non-violence. Certain temples serve food to their devotees and some encourage them to sit for a while within the calm precincts of the temple, just as Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree decades ago. These moments are for followers to reflect on their lives and realize that they already have everything they need.

Buddhist temples in Singapore stand as a symbol of religious peace the country has always strived to achieve. One of the most diverse nations in the world, Singapore has accommodated all religions and places of worship that dot the tiny island, reminding human beings that it is indeed possible to co-exist regardless of the beliefs we carry or the cultures we come from. With the increasing tourist flow from India to Singapore, it is an easier way to get a Singapore visa for Indian passport holders.

Five Famous Buddhist Temples in Singapore:

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

288, South Bridge Road, Singapore 058840

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple

30 Jalan Eunos, Singapore 419495

Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple

Burmese Buddhist Temple

14 Tai Gin Road, Singapore 327873

Burmese Buddhist Temple

Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

88 Bright Hill Road, Singapore 574117

Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple

50B Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 169545

Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple