At the heart of Singapore sits a beautiful Buddhist temple known as the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple.
This temple is located in the town of Toa Payoh and its name roughly translates to “The Twin Groves of the Lotus Mountain Temple”. It is an outflow of rich history, beautiful architecture and deep spirituality.
Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple & Monastery, Singapore
Its history began in the early 1900s when a self-made merchant named Low Kim Pong had a vision. In it he saw a devout man illuminating in golden light and arriving at a waterfront. Compelled by his senses, he arrived at the waterfront the next day and there he met a devout man named Xian Hui who had travelled from the west (India and Burma, after a Buddhist pilgrimage) with a group of apprentice nuns and monks. Low Kim Pong persuaded this holy family to stay and spread Buddhism in Singapore, by donating a 50 acre piece of land and building a monastery for them. Xian Hui became the first abbot of this Buddhist temple.
The temple is an architectural masterpiece, based on an ancient Chinese layout known as the Heyuan concept. The immigrant builders integrated their native architectural styles from the Southern provinces of China (Quanzhou, Zhanzhou and Fuzhou) and blended it with a distinct regal Singaporean style. However, the temple has seen some hard times, through the 1990s it was mostly neglected and some of its glory was lost. After 11 years of renovations (1991-2004) this temple was redeemed its former glory. Visitors will enjoy the newly renovated entrance, the elaborate sculptures and the expansive buildings.
The temple breathes spirituality with its depiction of various Buddhist deities and the numerous religious sayings carved into the walls and doors. The temple is divided into various halls where visitors can hold prayers and meditate.
As a show of respect to the sanctity of these prayer halls, taking photographs within the halls is strictly prohibited. As the oldest Buddhist monastery in Singapore, its historical value was cemented when the government sanctioned it as a national monument. It is the only monastery in Singapore that enjoys such a status.