Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery


Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery is the largest monastery in Singapore.

Exploring Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Singapore

Situated in the Sin Ming neighbourhood, the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (KMSPKS), affectionately known as Bright Hill Temple, has evolved from humble beginnings into the largest monastery in Singapore. Spanning over 800,000 square feet the complex consists of multiple prayer halls, bell and drum towers, crematorium, and two columbaria. Furthermore, the Buddhist College of Singapore, established in 2006, provides academic programs in Buddhism, catering to both English and Mandarin speakers.

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The History of the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

Founding and Early Leadership

Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery was founded in 1921 by Venerable Sik Zhuan Dao. Initially established as a place for Buddhist practice and to provide lodging for monks who came to Singapore, the monastery housed just two shrine halls. However, it underwent rapid expansion under the leadership of Venerable Seck Hong Choon, who became the second abbot in 1947.

Growth and Expansion

Under Venerable Seck Hong Choon's guidance, the KMSPKS monastery expanded to include the construction of the Crematorium, Columbarium, Dharma Hall, Library, Hall of Great Compassion, and Hall of Precepts. Notably, KMSPKS became the first monastery in Singapore to hold the 3-Steps-1-Bow Ceremony in 1984, signifying its commitment to traditional Buddhist practices.

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Recognising KMSPKS’ Commitment to Buddhism

Throughout its history, KMSPKS has received recognition for its contributions to Buddhism and society at large. Venerable Seck Hong Choon was given the title of "Supreme Chinese Monk" by the Thai King in 1987, recognising his significant contributions to Buddhism in Southeast Asia.

The monastery has also been actively involved in charitable activities, organising fundraising events and humanitarian missions to support various causes, including disaster relief efforts.

Continued Leadership and Innovation

In 2004, Venerable Sik Kwang Sheng took over as the sixth abbot of KMSPKS, ushering in a new era of leadership. Under his guidance, the monastery established the Dharma Propagation Division and the KMSPKS Youth Ministry, expanding its efforts to reach a broader audience, particularly Singaporean youths.

The monastery also embraced modern communication channels, launching an English-language magazine and partnering with local filmmakers to produce educational films.

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Exploring Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by the Dragon Pond, the relic stupas of Venerable Zhuan Dao and Ven. Hong Choon, prayer halls, a meditation hall, and a beautiful garden. Among the monastery's highlights are the Hong Choon Memorial statue, honouring the second abbot of the monastery, and the outdoor Avalokitesvara statue, situated between the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas and the Dharma Hall.

The Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas is a sight in itself, with its golden stupas and sacred halls dedicated to Amitabha Buddha and the Medicine Buddha. Furthermore, the Bodhi Tree, a sacred symbol of enlightenment, is another of the monastery’s most striking features. This tree's sapling was brought from the renowned Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India, where Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.

The monastery's four-storey Venerable Hong Choon Memorial Hall houses a dining hall, museum, and the Hall of No Form. On designated days, free vegetarian meals are served in the dining hall and in the Hall of No Form, standing at an impressive 13.8 metres tall and weighing 55 tonnes, is Asia's largest bronze Buddha statue. Other notable halls include the Hall of Great Compassion, the Hall of Great Strength, and the Meditation Hall, where visitors can engage in mindfulness practices and meditation sessions.

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The Buddhist College of Singapore

After the establishment of the Buddhist College of Singapore at the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery a four-year bachelor's degree program in Buddhism was introduced. This aimed to enrich the understanding and practice of Buddhist teachings among students. Initially, classes were conducted on the temple grounds while awaiting the completion of a new dedicated building.

However, the construction of the new building faced setbacks, with delays attributed to adverse weather conditions and manpower issues. Despite these challenges, the monastery persevered, and in 2016, the impressive five-storey building was finally completed and a grand opening ceremony was graced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In a move towards inclusivity and gender equality, the Buddhist College of Singapore announced plans in 2014 to admit female monastics. This decision was a huge step forward, reflecting the monastery's commitment to establishing diversity and inclusiveness within the Buddhist community. The new nunnery campus, situated at Poh Ern Shih Temple, was established for the female students, and has an intake of 45 students every two years.

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Events at the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

The monastery is particularly busy during major festivals such as Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, QingMing Festival, and Vesak Day, with various programs and activities held throughout the year, including Dhamma talks, praying sessions, meditation sessions, and retreats.

Among the celebrations, Vesak Day holds particular significance, with the monastery organising elaborate ceremonies such as "Bathing the Buddha" and "Three-Steps-One-Bow". These events serve not only a religious purpose but offer opportunity for communal bonding and spiritual reflection.

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Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery Questions


What you need to know

Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
88 Bright Hill Road Singapore 574117
1.361458, 103.835907
Official Website
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