The Founder of Palelai Buddhist Temple
Phrakhru Prakassa Dhammakhun (Luang Phor),
Late Founder, Wat Palelai
Phrakru Prakassa Dhammakhun (fondly known as Luang Phor – Venerable Father) was born on 6th April 1923 in Buriram province, Thailand. He undertook novice ordination in the Sangha at the age of 16 and received higher ordination in 1943. He started his missionary work upon completing his studies at the Mahamakut Buddhist University in Thailand. This took him to the Southern provinces of Thailand (Songkhla) and the Northern parts of the Malaysian peninsula. He first arrived in Singapore in 1960 and took up residence at Wat Ananda Metyarama in Jalan Bukit Merah.
As part of his deep desire to spread the Buddha’s teachings to Singaporeans, the late Venerable decided to found a temple of his own. This marked the beginning of the Palelai Buddhist Temple in Singapore. It was on 3rd April 1962 that Luang Phor and another Thai monk founded our temple. The temple was first housed at Poh Huat Road. One year later, on 20th April 1963, it was formally registered as a society with the Registrar of Societies, Singapore.
Over the course of time, Palelai moved to larger premises in order to accommodate the growing numbers of members and devotees. It was first moved to No. 9 Jalan Nipah and subsequently to our present location at 49 Bedok Walk. Under the guidance of Luang Phor, events of the Buddhist calendar were celebrated regularly. The Sunday Dhamma classes and Tuesday meditation sessions were also conducted regularly for members and devotees. In addition, the temple helped to propagate Dhamma by inviting visiting monks to give Dhamma talks, holding meditation sessions, and printing Dhamma books for free distribution. In the midst of all these activities, the temple also managed to discharge its social responsibilities by organising visits and making donations to welfare/charity organisations.
Luang Phor was a generous and caring Bhikkhu who strongly believed in academic and religious education. His generous nature had led him to build a school for the poor in Buriram province, his home province in Thailand. In 1988, He also sponsored the building of a temple in Buriram province and named it Wat Bodhidhammakunaram. He had lived up to the Lord Buddha’s injunction to his first disciples: “to spread the teachings for the sake of the many, out of compassion for the good and welfare of the many”.
Luang Phor passed away on 22nd December 1996 in Bangkok, Thailand.
In view of the generosity of Luang Phor and out of gratitude for his kindness to Singaporeans, a Bursary Award was established by the Executive Committee of Palelai Buddhist Temple in his name. It is our aim that through our activities, we will continue to spread Lord Buddha’s teachings of peace and benevolence to all living beings and help to ensure that Luang Phor’s mission will continue for many generations to come. This is best done by our continued practice of Lord Buddha’s teachings and encouraging others to walk that same path.
We also have a memorial hall dedicated to him at our temple.