Saturday, August 26, 2006

24. Jin Long Si 金龙寺

A temple that started off in an attap shed on a land donated by a grateful jeweller during WWII (1941), Jin Long Si, 金龙寺 (originally known as Jin Long Miao) was later rebuilt into a zinc-roof and wooden structure. It has since stood still with passing time. Today, this unique structure in the midst of rapid developments in the Lorong How Sun (off Bartley Rd & Upper Paya Lebar Rd) area, which is as busy as before, stood still in time, reminding us of the kampung days in this area and in Singapore.

What is older than this temple is the Bodhi tree that probably has recorded the development or evolution of this temple with passing time and the generations of villagers and worshippers. It stands there, each day watching the worshippers pray or chants. As the 94 year old temple keeper shared her story, whenever she had time, she would come to the tree to meditate. This elder Bodhi tree is said to be about 100 to 120 years old.

Located in a very good fengshui point, this temple and tree have grown into a symbiotic relationship. This could not have been better described than by a father and son devotee of the temple. The tree reminds them of their late wife and mother, and the tree brings peace to them, as with the chanting inside the temple.

While this temple is now actively involved in Buddhist chanting, it is a san-jiao (three religion) temple with teachings derived from the great books of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The teachings of the late master continued to be shared with the devotees each Sunday afternoon through a tape player.

This temple also has many unique Taoist Deities like Nan Wu Wu Ji Sheng Mu and Pan Gu. There must be something in this temple that inspires the artistic talents of the devotees. In the short history of the temple (65 years), the devotees had made a huge statue of the Laughing Buddha out of saw dusts (similar to those used for making joss sticks), built a pagoda and also a pavilion with the life size statue of Nan Wu Wu Ji Sheng Mu.

Devotees of the temple get to take vegetarian meals after the chanting. The vegetarian dishes were created and cooked with such loving care that they are probably the best secrets kept in Singapore. No money can buy. (^^)

At this moment, this temple is in danger of disappearing soon. The Buddhas and Deities willing, it might be a short time left for anyone to enjoy (appreciate) one of the last remaining bastion of rural Singapore temple.

The place: Jin Long Si, Lorong How Sun

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