Wednesday, June 2

[SG] Vesak Day 2010 @ Singapore

This (2010) Vesak Day (Buddha bathing day, 浴佛節) is on 28/5, Friday. I decided to move to the new place in this long weekend; however, I received an invitation from a local friend. He asked me if I was interesting in visiting some temple here.

I seldom go out on the weekend, but this ceremony sounded good, especially there was a local guide who can introduce the ritual in Singapore. Therefore, right after my moving, I went to the temple with my new roommate (a great Chinese senior XD).

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The temple we went is Wat Ananda temple (it even has a website!! here; also a wiki page). It is a Thai temple, but indeed it's a mixture of many religions. The elder Thai monks are called "Ajahn", which has the meaning of instructor. One of the most famous Thai Ajahn is Ajahn Chah (see wiki here). Here we didn't meet any Ajahn, but there was a Dharma (Lama) talk. We didn't participate through the whole talk, but the technical way a masculine (upāsaka) presenting the talk was interesting. That was the first time I saw a Buddhist using powerpoint to show the dogma.

The Wat Ananda temple main gate.  Wat Ananda寺的正門。我們沒有從那邊進去,不過從放電影的房間往外看,可以看到蟒蛇(傳說悉達多在苦修的時候,有一隻大蟒蛇一般的怪物為他遮雨,所以佛寺的扶手都會做成蟒蛇形狀)扶手和泰國的人頭鳥身像(守衛寺廟的小兵)。

The entrance ladders of Thai temple always have a dragon (big snake) railing, but I didn't take a picture for it. We entered the temple from the back door, it is a steep slope, and the food camp was built there. Under the canvas camp, the cookers and aunties were busy preparing Beehoon with vegetable to the people.

The canvas camp for food serving. Right on the slope, there were many vendors selling small stuffs. 在後門斜坡旁搭建的類似流水席的遮雨棚。在那邊有免費的蔬菜炒米粉可以吃。有些人還會打包回家!

We had a dish of beehoon there and passed by another temple call 太陽宮 (the Sun Palace) and grabbed some free hot agaric soup (there were many free food served during Vesak ceremony) and went into the temple.

The back gate of Wat Ananda Temple. There was another canvas camp for people to pray. Somethings were sold in there, most likely paper lotus and the amulet. The dropping flower bags were also handed out in the camp.

Right at the courtyard of the temple, another dinning table was placed. Many people sat down  alternatively and ate. The food was better here, and all of them are traditional Thai food. To my surprise, there were even chicken! Our guide said Thai monks are allowed to eat meat. This is different from original Buddhism.

The Buddha statue under Bodhi tree.

The queue for bathing Buddha was very long, thus we went directly into the room at which the movies would be played. There are many books there. Two movies about the life of Siddhartha were played. One was cartoon and another was a Hollywood movie. I didn't pay much attention on the movies; most of the time I was chatting with the Singaporean friend. I also went out and walked around the temple. There is a 觀世音 (Avalokiteśvara) statue in one room and people can burn joss sticks before it. I don't know if people also do this in Thailand, but this to me is really Chinese-like. There is also a Buddha stone statue right under the Bodhi tree. The tree is covered with a piece of yellow cloth. Some people were worshiping it.

A small Buddha statute was placed on the spring for bathing.
After the movies was the Dharma talk. It seemed to be the regular talk, but my roommate didn't want to listen to that, so we left.

The trip was very interesting. The surrounding buildings including Singapore General Hospital and the Police station were also briefly introduced to us. The Duke-NUS medical school is also nearby the region.


How to get Wat Ananda Temple?

Take MRT to Outrum Park station and then walk for about 20 mins. Or you can take bus 147 or 197 and get off at BLK 140.

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