Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Singapore and a popular tourist attraction. Besides being a buddhist temple, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is also a Buddhist museum, ancestral memorial and gallery.
Let me give you a visual tour of Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. There is free guided temple tour every Saturday, Chinese session 10.30am – 12pm (selected Saturday), English session 2pm – 3.30pm.
Level 1 – Buddhist Temple
After passing through the traditional temple gateway “Mountain Gate”, you will arrive at the main hall Hundred Dragon Hall 百龍殿. At the far end of the hall is a 15-feet statue of Buddha Maitreya, flanked by two bodhisattvas on each side. The rest of the hall is decorated in red and gold, it is definitely a grand-looking hall.
The hall behind the statue is Universal Wisdom Hall 圓通殿 which enshrines the Cintamanicakra manifestation of the Bodhisattva Guanyin. The Heart Sutra, written in the Siddham script, is embroidered on the rear wall of the hall. Shrines and statues of eight Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Wisdom Kings traditionally assigned as protectors of Buddhists born under one of the Twelve Chinese Zodiac signs adorn the walls of the hall, surrounded by smaller Cintamanicakra statues.
Mezzanine – closed to the public
Level 2 – Ancestral Memorial Hall
Kshitigarbha Hall 安养堂 is commonly known as Ancestral Memorial Hall. This hall is dedicated to deified ancestors and progenitors of surname lineages or families in the Chinese tradition. Ancestral tablets that embody the ancestral spirit line the tables along the walls with tables in the middle where monks sit to chant scriptures.
To the right side of the ancestral memorial hall is Manjushri Hall 文殊殿 which enshrines a statue of the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. This floor also contains the Aranya Gallery, consisting of the Aranya Reference Library, the temple’s History Gallery and the Aranya Buddhist Culture Shop as well as the Aranya Sutra Chamber, where a copy of the Mahāprajñāpāramitā Sūtra is kept.
Level 3 – Buddhist Museum
Nagapuspa Buddhist Culture Museum 龍華文物館 has been renamed Buddhas of the World Museum（世界佛像博物馆）. This museum has a total of 278 exhibits, ranging from modern expressionistic works to 2nd and 3rd century Gandharan statuary. The various exhibits come from Gandhara, India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Myanmar, Three main themes run through the museum. The largest, occupying half the exhibition space, is a hagiographic narration of Buddha Shakyamuni’s life. The other half is dedicated to Buddha Maitreya and Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. I am utterly blown away by the complexity and beauty of the sculpture, paintings and textiles.
Samantabhadra Hall 普賢殿 located at the back of Buddhas of the World Museum, enshrines a statue of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.
Next to the statue of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra is Sacred Buddha Relics Chamber 佛陀舍利子展覽館 which showcases tiny pearl-like multi-colored relics purportedly of the Buddha.
Level 4 – Buddha Tooth Relic
Located in the centre of Sacred Light Chamber 靈光殿 is the Scared Buddha Tooth Relic Stupa, which is made of pure gold. The floor tiles in this chamber are made of gold, giving a regal appearance befitting the Buddha.
Roof – Buddha Prayer Wheel
There is a small garden on the roof of Buddha Tooth Relic Temple called Ten Thousand Buddha Pagoda 萬佛閣 with gilt statues of approximately 11,111 Buddhas and Bodhisattvas along its walls. At the center of the pagoda is a large Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel, the largest cloisonné Buddha Prayer Wheel in the world. The rim of the wheel os embossed with esoteric Vairocana Mantra. A piece of scripture is placed inside. Every turn of the wheel represents a single recital of the scripture and mantra. It is a convenient way to recite the sutra.
Statues of the Five Tathāgatas 五方佛 are enshrined in different pavilions on the roof, with their location corresponding to the cardinal direction the particular Buddha is traditionally associated with.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Address: 288 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058840
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 9am – 5pm