BW Monastery, its meaning signifying an auspicious gathering of the Sangha and the Three Jewels, was started in 2002 and led by Venerable Jing Yuan, who is the Monastery’s Abbot.
BW Monastery offers a variety of Buddhist courses. Mindsets are changed positively and spiritual growth are cultivated through discussions and contemplation of Buddhistic principles. The practical applications of Buddhism in daily life are also emphasized and devotees are encouraged to do more virtuous acts and to serve others in everyday lives.
BW Monastery’s mission is to combine Buddhism and living in order to elevate human lives and spiritual minds, establish positive and active living and to build happy families and harmonious social relationships.
1) ORIGINS OF THE ORGANIZATION
Zhang Clan Association Building at Geylang Lorong 29
In the early days of his monk hood, Venerable Jing Yuan, the Abbot of BW Monastery, studied Buddhism from a Buddhist institution in Taiwan. It was then that he came to know of Master Venerable Jih Chang and began his learning journey of the Lamrim, under the guidance of the Master Venerable. Subsequently, a group of lay people also began the learnings of Lamrim in Singapore. The group grew over time and officially registered itself as the Bliss and Wisdom Society, renting the fourth level of the Zhang Clan Association Building in Geylang as its society premise and Buddhist shrine hall which was later officially opened by Master Venerable Jih Chang. Venerable Jing Yuan then became the first President of the society, with the rest of the committee and executive roles, looking after administrative, donations and society management matters, helmed by Singaporean members of the society.
2) DEVELOPMENT OF THE ORGANIZATION
Standing firm to its belief of being politically non-partisan and merely to impart Buddhist knowledge and help spread the Dharma, Bliss and Wisdom Society started offering Buddhist studies classes. With time, members increased and space for classes became a constraint. The society then expanded its premises from the fourth level of Zhang Clan Association Building to Citiraya Building.
Over the years, the society made Buddhism education as its main focus and maintained the teaching and practice of the Dharma as its core. Over a span of 10 years, classes grew to its current size of 160 and members numbered 3,500. With the vision of having a permanent home of its own, without having to rent spaces from elsewhere, the society embarked on the mission to look for a plot of land in Singapore to build its own Monastery. In 2014, the land parcel was finally obtained and a Monastery-building committee was set up to take on the arduous task.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the new Monastery took place on 7th April 2015. Guests who were invited to preside over this event included the President of the Singapore Buddhist Federation, Venerable Guang Pin and Mr Khaw Boon Wan, the then Minister for National Development.
After three years of hard work, the Monastery was finally completed and was officially opened by Minister Khaw Boon Wan on 11th August 2017. The society also officially changed its name to BW Monastery.
BW Monastery incurred a total of $20M in construction cost. Funds came from a total pool of construction funding of $21.277M raised through donations both locally and overseas. 98.2% of the donations were from local sources while 1.8% from overseas.
3) PRESENT RUNNINGS OF THE ORGANIZATION
BW Monastery focuses on the following four core principles - propagate Buddhist education for spiritual advancement, promote cultural education, care for the community and compassionate service. The Monastery’s Dharma activities are organised with the above core principles in mind. Volunteers believe in contributing and giving, and full-time staff receive token reimbursements or salaries lower than market rates. Together, staff and volunteers work towards building a spiritual haven for all sentient beings.
Activities that BW Monastery currently offers:
Buddhist studies and Dharma education - a wide range of classes, seminars and Pujas meant for all ages and everyone from all walks of life
Promoting traditional culture - children classics recitations classes, youth leadership camps, art competitions and Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations
Care and service for the community - senior citizens classes, visits and care to old folks homes and the lonely elderly in the community, work closely with related social services to provide care and services for the needy in the neighbourhood
BW Monastery’s current financial report - a small margin remain annually after deducting operating expenses. In 2016, the total collection of funding for the Monastery, mainly from members’ donations, is $4,014,457 while expenses total $3,837,222.
4) FUTURE PLAN OF THE ORGANIZATION
With the four core principles as base, BW Monastery will continue its efforts on Buddhism and Dharma propagation, contribute towards our country’s nation building and social cohesiveness, and a strong emphasis on promoting and preserving traditional culture.
To propagate Buddhist education for spiritual advancement. Promote cultural education and character-cultivation. To serve the community, and advocate good moral values for a peaceful society, striving towards a better and wholesome environment for all.
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