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Buddhism in Singapore

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Title: Buddhism in Singapore  
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Buddhism in Singapore

Buddhism owes its origins primarily from Shakyamuni Buddha who appeared in India around 2500 years ago or more. As a religion, Buddhism is introduced in modern-day Singapore primarily by migrants from across the world over past centuries. The first recorded histories of Buddhism in Singapore[1] can be observed in the early days' monasteries and temples such as Thian Hock Keng and Jin Long Si Temple that were built by settlers that came from various parts of the world, in particularly Asia. In 2010, out of 2,779,524 Singaporeans polled, 943,369 (33.9%) of them aged 15 and over identified themselves as Buddhists.[2] There are a variety of Buddhist organizations in Singapore, with the more predominant authorities being established ones such as the Singapore Buddhist Federation.


  • History 1
  • Overview 2
  • Modern day 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6


Copying of Mahayana Shorter Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra in Chinese.

The Buddhist doctrine was presented by the Gautama Buddha around 2500 years ago in North India. During more than forty years of ministry, preachings revolved around the fundamental characteristics of existence which included stress (dukkha), egolessness (anatta) and impermanence (anicca). Most of the sermons of the Buddha were originally memorised by disciples before the first buddhist publications and documentations were invented, possibly in Central Asia.


Buddhism first appeared around the Singapore Straits during the 2nd century. Given the historic status of Singapore as a British trade port and colonial state, as well as a brief period of Japanese colonial rule during World War II, over the centuries a variety of Buddhist lineages from across the globe has appeared gradually on the island. They include Japanese and Western interpretations of the tripitaka, although a substantial local presence have their origins dating back into historic South East and East Asian kingdoms.

Modern day

Free-distribution Buddhist media in Singapore.

With the advent of religious freedom in modern-day Singapore, most Singaporeans that adhere to the Buddhist doctrine are a participant of at least one Buddhist organisation, while also being actively involved in other beliefs that are presented across the diverse cosmopolitan culture. This coincided with the basic Buddhist teaching that the Shakyamuni Buddha is neither a theist God nor a saviour, at best a concerned[3] teacher.[4][5][6][7][8] There also remain an active female involvement in Singapore Buddhism,[9][10][11] which include lay female followers as well as monastic bhikkunis.[12][13][14]

See also


  1. ^ Bibliography of Buddhism in Singapore
  2. ^ "Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion" (PDF). Census of Population 2010. Singapore Department of Statistics. Retrieved 2 Dec 2013. 
  3. ^ "Firefly Mission". Retrieved 2 Dec 2013. 
  4. ^ "About us / Support us". The Dharmafarers. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Dharmafarers". Retrieved 2 Dec 2013. 
  6. ^ "About: Piya Tan". Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Tan, Piya. "from Piya TAN Beng Sin". support bhikkhunis. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Piya Tan". Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Bodhi Meditation Centre". Retrieved 2 Dec 2013. 
  10. ^ "Buddha Vihara Society - Sinhttps://t0.ssl.ak.tiles..". Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Home Page of Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple". Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Leksim Ling". Retrieved 2 Dec 2013. 
  13. ^ "Singapore Buddhist Federation". Retrieved 2 Dec 2013. 
  14. ^ "Singapore Buddhist Lodge". Retrieved 2 Dec 2013. 


  • Chia, Jack Meng Tat. "Buddhism in Singapore: A State of the Field Review." Asian Culture 33 (June 2009): 81-93.
  • Kuah, Khun Eng. State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 2003.
  • Ong, Y.D. Buddhism in Singapore: A Short Narrative History. Singapore: Skylark Publications, 2005.
  • Shi Chuanfa 释传发. Xinjiapo Fojiao Fazhan Shi 新加坡佛教发展史 [A History of the Development of Buddhism in Singapore]. Singapore: Xinjiapo fojiao jushilin, 1997.
  • Wee, Vivienne. “Buddhism in Singapore.” In Understanding Singapore Society, eds. Ong Jin Hui, Tong Chee Kiong and Tan Ern Ser, pp. 130–162. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1997.
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