Singapore's Chinatown to build 53 m dollar temple for Buddha's tooth relic

ANI, Jan 30, 2005

Singapore -- Singapore's Chinatown has activated plans to build a 53 million dollar Buddha Tooth Relic Temple on Sago Street, the construction of which will commence in March.

According to a report in The Straits Times, the temple will house over 10,000 Buddha statues, including a six-metre tall Maitreya Buddha, as well as the Tripitaka, a collection of Buddhist scriptures. Its Buddha tooth relic will be kept in an over two metre tall dome-shaped 'stupa' made of gold.

The five-storeyed building will include a mezzanine level and three basement levels. It will have a wax museum and foodcourt when completed in about two years' time.

The temple's abbot, Venerable Fazhao, hopes the temple will invigorate Chinatown, while the Singapore Tourism Board believes the project will boost the district's appeal to visitors interested in religious attractions.

The upcoming temple's deputy executive director, Mr Ee Giang Hwee, 50, told The Straits Times that the tender for its construction will be launched on Monday and will close on February 18. Ground-breaking is set for March 13. Ee, however, declined to reveal how much the lease on the 2,600 square metre plot cost.

He said that funds for the project would be raised by letting the public 'adopt' parts of the building. For example, 100 Buddha statues of about 90cm high can be 'adopted' for 100,000 dollars each, roof tiles for 50 dollars each and bricks for 10 dollars each.The temple's management is also collecting donations of gold - in the form of chains, rings and bracelets - to be melted into the stupa used to house the Buddha tooth relic.

About 250kg of gold is needed. So far, 60kg has been collected. Also, at least 10 million dollars has been raised for the temple's construction up till now.