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Foo Hai Chan Monastery

Foo Hai Chan Monastery is a Mahayana Buddhist temple founded in 1935 by Venerable Hong Zong, who was born in Taiwan, ordained in Japan and came to Singapore to propagate Buddhism. The temple was rebuilt into a Southern Chinese styled temple in 1964.


Venerable Hong Zong was succeeded by Venerable Miao Shou after his passing. Born in Xiamen, Venerable Miao Shou was ordained by 宁波天童寺 and succeeded as the Second Abbott in 1975. After the passing of Venerable Miao Shou in 1992, leaving no successor, Venerable Chang Kai, as authorized representative of the temple, passed the management of the temple to Venerable Ming Yi, current Abbott.


Young and promising, Abbott Venerable Ming Yi aspired to advocate Buddism teachings for life, and actively engaged in many of the WTO's social services, cultivating the practice of "education, charity, culture," and bringing Buddhism principles and teaching into society. The few years passing sees the construction of the Buddha stupa, administration building, and creation of various charities organizations. Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery founded the Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre at Novena in 1994, being the first Buddhist Hospital in Singapore. Serving all regardless of background, race and religion, Ren Ci received a positive welcome in the country, which boosted the status of Buddhism in Singapore.

With overwhelming number of devotees, the temple faced capacity limitations. The 1999 renovations and reconstruction of the temple were initiated by Venerable Mingyi. The temple was rebuilt into a Tang Dynasty styled temple in 2004 and renamed Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery.


The temple has a pair of Heng Ha Dharma Protectors at the main gate of Foo Hai Chan, which serve to protect the monastery. They originated from the Sanskrit word Guhyapada, which refers to a prince that became leader of 500 Vajra Protectors. Initially there was just one Dharma protector per monastery, but the Chinese are not used to "odd" number and so they have a pair, similar to Door Gods in Taoist and Chinese Folk Religion temples.


The architecture of the temple is designed in a unique zen style which exudes a quiet elegance. Inside Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery the centerpiece is a stunning 9.9 m tall statue of Guanyin (Quan Yin), the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Foo Hai Ch’an has the 1000 hands version of Guanyin. There is also a 3.3 metres statue of Buddha. Copper tile are imported from Japan and drums from Korea are incorporated into the building of the new temple. There is also an auditorium, guest houses, a Bodhi Tree and a Bell Drum Tower in the temple. The temple hosts the Buddha’s relics at the top level of the Buddha Relics Pagoda.


In 2004, a pagoda was constructed for the Siddhartha centre (formerly known as Siddhartha Temple), which donated 6 million dollars to Foo Hai Chan Monastery and officially moved into the monastery in October 2004. The Siddhartha Centre was founded in 1954 by the late Master Wong Foo Siong in the Hainanese village at 44 Lincoln Road and was relocated to 19 Lincoln Road in 1977, in an area known colloquially as "Red Bridge Head".


In the morning, the gong is set to create a stream of intense sounds followed by a slow pace. This is to remind the mass that they have come to the end of a long night and do not indulge oneself in deep unconsciousness; in the evening, the gong is sounded in the reverse order, that is, slow then a faster pace. This is to remind everyone that they should be aware of illusions and unconsciousness; and to help relieve all beings in the nether world from suffering. The gongs in Chinese Temples are sounded one hundred and eight times each time, because sentient beings have one hundred and eight types of worries.