Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple

Singapore Infopedia


Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore is located at 14 Tai Gin Road.1 The temple, which subscribes to the Theravada tradition,2 has been providing Theravada Buddhist services to the Buddhist community in Singapore since its earliest days.3 Built at a cost of S$4 million and completed in 1992,4 it is the first and only Burmese Buddhist temple built outside of Myanmar in the traditional Burmese architectural style.5 Its marble Buddha statue is also the largest enshrined outside of Myanmar. The present temple was designed according to the traditional Burmese concept by Venerable Sayadaw U Pannya Vamsa, who also initiated the temple’s registration with the Registrar of Societies in 1985.6

Early history
Existing records testify that the original temple was built by a U Tha Hint (also known as Tang Sooay Chin) in 1878 at 17 Kinta Road.7 It was established with the help of another Burmese, U Kyaw Gaung (also known as Khoo Teogou), who was a practitioner of traditional medicine from Mergui, Tenasserim, in Myanmar.8 It was also U Kyaw Gaung who installed the huge marble Buddha statue in the temple.9

After U Kyaw Guang’s death in 1935, his son, U Ba Thein, and daughter took over the management of the temple.10

In 1971, Venerable Sayadaw U Pannya Vamsa, with help from the Dharma Cakra Society, sought to build a new temple to replace the one at Kinta Road. The endeavour, however, was unsuccessful. In 1973, the plan to build a new temple at Kinta Road resurfaced when U Ba Thein approached Sayadaw U Pannya Vamsa with his proposal, but the project also could not proceed due to a lack of resources.11

In 1981, as a result of urban development plans in the area, the temple at Kinta Road received a notice of relocation from the resettlement department of the Housing and Development Board.12 

In April 1985, the temple was formally registered with the Registrar of Societies. A year later, the authorities granted the present site at 14 Tai Gin Road for the temple’s new location.13

With help from many venerable monks and Buddhist well-wishers, Sayadaw U Pannya Vamsa built the new Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple on Tai Gin Road.14 The foundation stone was laid on 1 July 1990 and the temple inaugurated on 20 December 1991.15 Construction was completed around March 1992.16

Buddha statue
The 11-feet high Buddha statue in the main Shrine Hall is the largest enshrined outside of Myanmar.17 It was sculpted from a solid piece of white marble weighing 10 tonnes, which U Kyaw Gaung bought for Rs 1,200 from Sagyin Hill, 50 km north of Mandalay. Completed in 1918, the sculpture was brought to Singapore in 1921.18 It was placed at the third milestone, Serangoon Road, before it was moved to the temple on Kinta Road in 1925 where it was enshrined.19

The statue was accompanied by about 1,000 devotees during the move to its present location on Tai Gin Road. It had to be transported on a trailer and then brought into the temple using a forklift.20

Ah Win Daw & Renuka M.

1. “About the Temple,” Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore, accessed 7 July 2017.
2. “Theravada Buddhism,” BBC, updated 2 October 2012.
3. Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore, “About the Temple.”
4. “New Burmese Buddhist Temple Ready in March,” Straits Times, 31 January 1992, 33(From NewspaperSG)
5. Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore, “About the Temple.”
6. Tan Geok Koon and U Sein Win, eds., Burmese Buddhist Temple: 10th Anniversary Souvenir 29th–31st December 2001 (Singapore: The Temple, 2001), 7. (Call no. RSING 294.3435095957 BUR)
7. Tan and U, Burmese Buddhist Temple, 35; “3,000 Expected at New Temple,” Straits Times, 17 May 1992, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
8. Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore, “About the Temple”; Tan and U, Burmese Buddhist Temple, 35.
9. Tan and U, Burmese Buddhist Temple, 35.
10. Tan and U, Burmese Buddhist Temple, 35.
11. Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore, “About the Temple.”
12. Tan and U, Burmese Buddhist Temple, 35.
13. Tan and U, Burmese Buddhist Temple, 36.
14. Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore, “About the Temple.”
15. Tan and U, Burmese Buddhist Temple, 36.
16. “New Burmese Buddhist Temple Ready in March.”
17. Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore, “About the Temple”; Tan and U, Burmese Buddhist Temple, 35.
18. Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore, “About the Temple.”
19. Tan and U, Burmese Buddhist Temple, 35.
20. “Giant Buddha on the Move,” Straits Times, 3 May 1988, 28. (From NewspaperSG)

Further resource
Jeffrey Hays, “Burmese Architecture,” updated May 2014.

The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


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The information on this page and any images that appear here may be used for private research and study purposes only. They may not be copied, altered or amended in any way without first gaining the permission of the copyright holder.

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