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
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 -
1. Buddhist studies and Dharma education - a wide range of classes, seminars and Pujas meant for all ages and everyone from all walks of life
2. Promoting traditional culture - children classics recitations classes, youth leadership camps, art competitions and Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations
3. 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.
Propagate Buddhist education and elevate spiritual growth.
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.
BW Monastery Logo
The widely accepted emblem of BW Monastery was successfully registered on 4 March 2015 and it has since been officially used in all our correspondences. BW Monastery Logo represents a passionate engaged spirit of enlightenment (Bodhicitta), shining on all sentient beings to provide them with brightness and wisdom like a precious torch.
Like petals of a lotus flower, each pair of petals is shaped as the symbol of infinity. They represent the eternal gaze and companionship of our compassionate buddhas and bodhisattavas, and their unwavering steadfastness to rescue all sentient beings. Red colour represents the radiating passion and warm feelings.
1994 – Mr Huang Yizhe and 8 other lay persons officially set up the first Buddhism discussion class. The learning environment was tough but they persevered. Gradually, their efforts led to the increase in the number of classes.
1997 – Master Jih-Chang visited Singapore in 1997 and in the same year, started a new series of Buddhism discussion classes. The number of students taking the classes also began to increase annually.
1997-1999 – Educational classes related to Chinese culture were set up for children and youths. Through overseas study and learning trips, the students also learnt much more about the Dharma.
2000 – The number of Buddhism discussion classes increased to 11, with a total of 180 students.
2002 - Zhang Clan Association at Geylang was rented as a learning centre. After an opening ceremony was held for the centre by Master Jih-Chang, many more new students enrolled for buddhism studies.
2003 – The number of discussion classes increased to 15 with a total of 500 students. In the same year, specific classes targeting senior citizens and parents were also established.
2005 – In January, 3 Buddhism classes for children and youths were established.In September 2005, under Venerable Jing Yuan’s instructions, the bilingual Buddhism discussion classes were introduced officially.
2007 – For the first time, Venerable Jing Yuan organized a three-day “Purification and Wisdom Retreat”. Almost 600 students participated in it. Another major event, Master’s Remembrance Day, was held in Singapore for the first time and was attended by more than 900 students.
2008 – The number of Buddhism discussion classes expanded to 43 with nearly 1,700 students. In July, the English Buddhism classes were also set up. December that year, we invited the Taiwanese Insightful Praise Choir to perform at the Victoria Music Hall in Singapore.
2009 – The first Buddhism music performance was held at Tai Pei Buddhist Centre.
2010 – We shifted to CitiRaya Building at Lorong 27, Geylang, occupying levels two and three of the building. The second Buddhism music performance was also held at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (KMSPKS), No Form Hall that year. This was the first time KMSPKS hosted such an event.
2011 – For the benefit of students who are English educated as well as to reach out to more virtuous friends, in November that year, a global English translation team was formally formed. They were tasked to translate the Chinese explanatory notes of the Lamrim into English. All the translators were Lamrim students from around the world.
2012 – For the first time, a youth camp was held to put into practice the observation of merits and kindness of the others and to gain spiritual improvements.
2013 – A Buddhist Music Composition Retreat was also held to encourage more works by students. A Buddhist music recital was also held at Republic Polytechnic in the same year.
2014 – Space at KH Plaza was rented to allow more English and Bilingual classes to be set up. The society successfully bided for a piece of land in Woodlands to build a new Monastery. BW Monastery, an auspicious place where the Sangha congregates.
– 7th April, the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the new Monastery took place. Guests of honor who were invited to preside over this event included the President of the Singapore Buddhist Federation, Venerable Guang Pin and Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development.
– 7th May, a fund-raising bazaar was held at Woodlands for the first time during Vesak Day. One of the highlights included the ceremony of bathing the Buddha where many attendees happily participated in. More than thirty thousand people participated in the bazaar event. Some of these participants included Members of Parliament Mr Baey Yam Keng and his family, Mr Yeo Guat Kwang and Mr Vikram Nair, MP for Sembawang GRC.
– 1st June, Venerables Ben Si and Ben Wen were ordained by Venerable Jing Yuan.
– 16th September, the first “Joyous Rhapsody Concert” was held at The Star Performing Arts Theatre, drawing a total crowd of more than 3,000. It was also a great honour to be able to invite Minister Khaw Boon Wan, Minister Ong Ye Kung and Mr Vikram Nair, Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC to grace the event.
– 27th November, Master’s Remembrance Day was held at Big Box after five months of preparation and contribution by students across various projects that culminated in offerings to Buddha. A total of more than 4000 people attended this full day event.
– 17th December, a fund-raising Luncheon was held at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) to raise funds for the construction of the new Monastery. The Luncheon also marked the end of the fund raising efforts. Through collective efforts made over the last 2 years, a total of S$20 million was successfully raised for the new Monastery building.
- 1 January 2017- In gratitude of the Buddha’s kindness, the Sangha and lay followers actively paid homage to thousand Buddhas, and participated in Dharma propagation and prayer ceremonies.
- 2 January 2017- Under the guidance of Venerable Jing Yuan, the Bliss Lions Club was set up to provide a key platform for enterprises and professionals to have healthy interactions between all walks of life, to enable and support young entrepreneurs and jobseekers to virtuously help one other in their pursuits.
- 3 January 2017 - The Sangha led the group of lecturers to practice outdoor walking meditation for the first time, generating interest in walking meditation ever since.
- 7 January 2017- Venerable Jing Yuan started the Training and Development Department, which comprised of professionals with training experience to develop courses that will cater to various levels of students, to facilitate the learning of the Dharma. On the same day, the Bliss Flowers group was formed, consisting of female students, to offer another route of Dharma learning opportunity for all.
- 16 January 2017 - Venerable Jing Yuan restructured the organisation and conducted a motivation class that not only imbued everyone with a sense of mission, but helped their studies to progress by leaps and bound as well.
- 4-18 January 2017 - Venerable Jing Yuan gave discourses on “General Presentation of the Path” to cadres and students every week for a month. It was also the first time Venerable Jing Yuan gave the discourse in English, which surprised and touched the bilingual class students greatly.
- 17 January 2017 - Venerable Jing Yuan led the sangha group into meditation practice for the first time. Through this practice, they learned how to be “mindful” in their every action. By reciting “Namo Buddha” once, not only did they contemplate on Buddha’s merits, but more importantly, sought refuge by reflecting on “I rely on you”, and “I want to become like you”, constantly accumulating authentic virtuous deeds.
- 27 January 2017 -For Chinese New Year Blessings Puja at Citiraya Centre, BW Monastery launched its innovative reformation in Dharma propagation through new and interesting programme.
- 30 January 2017 - For the graduation ceremony of the 1st batch of Lay Buddhists Institute students, despite his busy schedule, Venerable Jing Yuan spared some time to attend the ceremony, showing his care and concern for everyone. His presence was a blessing and at the same time very encouraging. It was a remarkable surprise and auspicious for all!
- 7 February 2017 -Venerable Jing Yuan conducted a one-day motivational course for our fortunate lecturers group.
- 11 February 2017- BW Monastery organised its first blessings ceremony for good fortune on Lantern Festival (15th of the 1st Lunar month).
- 17 February 2017- Venerable Jing Yuan skillfully led both sangha and laity in meditation practice. With the guidance of virtuous teacher, the right concept and method, one is able to meditate easily, which was really remarkable!
- 4 March 2017- Stemming from Venerable Jing Yuan's encouragement, the nunnery sangha organised the first Enrichment class for the Youths.
- 26 March 2017 -Venerable Jing Yuan conducted enrichment camp for more than 100 new cadres. Topics covered were "Establishing one's life goals", "Understanding what life goals are", "How to establish one's life goals", "When do we establish life's goals". Another topic, "How to attain one's life goals in the fastest manner" was yet to be fully completed, which had everyone planted a good cause.
- 16 April 2017- Under the guidance of Venerable Jing Yuan, the sangha and laity made great aspiration and supplication for the successful enshrinement of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas statues in our BW monastery in Woodlands.
- 6 & 7 May 2017- The Auspicious Vesak Day and Charity Bazaar which were held at the Level 3 exhibition hall in Big Box, attracted more than thirty thousand visitors. Minister of Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung, graced and celebrated this auspicious event with us, and also gave his encouragement and care to the volunteers and senior citizens.
- 21 May 2017-Under the compassionate direction of Venerable Jing Yuan, the Care Department was established, using our utmost care and open hearts to welcome all students, family members and friends.
- 1 July 2017- With the guidance from Venerable Jing Yuan, the BWM website was relaunched to be bilingual, and showcasing it from a religious aspect. The website mainly reports on the grand puja, activities and education of the monastery etc. Grateful to Venerable Jing Yuan for unveiling new chapters for us and injecting vitality.
-12 July 2017 – BW Monastery received the Temporary Occupant Permit (TOP) on Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Enlightenment Day. From this day onwards, BW Monastery will take on the task of propagating the Dharma for the benefit of sentient beings, working towards the vision of flourishing teachings.
-16 July 2017 – BW Monastery held its inaugural kids art competition which was also opened to the public. A total of 170 children participated, including children from China, Germany, Korea, etc. Mr Vikram Nair (Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC) and his wife were invited to the event as the Guests-of-honour and they also presented prizes to the participants.
- 9-20 Aug 2017- During the opening week of BW Monastery, there were many activities held, such as Blessings Pujas, Refuge-taking, 8-precepts camp, seminars, exhibitions and concerts.
- 10 Aug 2017- BW Monastery had a very auspicious and formal ceremony to receive the relic of the Buddha. The relic was a gift by the Abbot Elder Dhammarathana from Sri Lanka. Guests-of-Honour, Second Minister for Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung, and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan and their spouses, together with Venerable Jing Yuan, Venerable Ben Si, Venerable Ben Wen, Venerable Dao Ci, received the relic together. Abbot Elder Dhammarathana and other monasteries' elders also recited Pali sutra verses to seek blessings for BW Monastery too.
- 11 Aug 2017 - It was the grand opening day of BW Monastery and together with Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Dr Lim Wee Kiak, and Venerable Jing Yuan, they kicked off the opening of the monastery at the main gate.
- 12 & 14 Aug 2017- BW Monastery held its first Refuge-Taking ceremony, which was also opened to the public for the first time. Attendees were able to receive the 3 or 5 precepts from Venerable Jing Yuan directly.
- 13 Aug 2017 -BW Monastery organized its first Offering to Sangha, where many local and overseas sangha members were invited to receive the pure meals offering.
- 15 & 16 Aug 2017- BW monastery held 8-Precepts enrichment camp on 2 separate days where it combined both walking and sitting meditation for the first time, allowing the students to experience a day in the life of a practitioner.
- 19 & 20 Aug 2017- Second year in running, "Joyous Rhapsody - Voices of the Heart", was held in the newly opened BW Monastery. The first session was graced by Second Minister for Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung, MPs for Sembawang GRC, Mr Vikram Nair and Mr Amrin Amin. The concerts that took place over the 2 days were very well-received.
- 20 August 2017- Jointly with BW Monastery, Blossom Seeds Limited organized its first Gala event for senior citizens, with Mr Vikram Nair and Mr Amrin Amin, both MPs for Sembawang GRC as the special guests. The purpose of the gala was to promote cultural harmony and the spirit of respecting the elders in multi-cultural Singapore. About 200 senior citizens from Sembawang GRC attended the gala event.
- 27 August 2017- BW Monastery hourly insightful praise sessions consists of venerable discourse, vast offering, repentance service, supplications and insightful praises. They enable you to relax and know more about the merits of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
-3 Sept 2017 BWM held the 6th run of Lay Practitioners Dharma Institute Course 1st module from 3 September 2017 to 29 October 2017, with 146 students attended.
-15 Oct 2017
BW Monastery first held Master Jih-Chang's Memorial Day with Light Offering Ceremony
-17 Oct 2017 Sri Lankan Sangha Leader, Venerable Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thero and 4 Elders visited BW Monastery.
-28 Oct 2017
4 sessions using both bilingual and English language were held for Master’s Remembrance Day, with the slogan - "One Heart One Goal One Happy Bodhi Path " (同心同愿 快乐菩萨行)
-6 Nov 2017
BW Monastery Volunteers Enrichment Camp had nearly 200 attendees present.
-7 Nov 2017
Refuge-Taking Ceremony in conjunction with Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Ordination Day.
-21 Nov 2017
Enshrining the statue of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.
-25 Nov 2017
Receiving of the Tibetan Dragon Sutra
-2 Dec 2017
BW Monastery held an Appreciation Dinner which was graced by Minister for Education and Second Minister for the Ministry of Defence, Mr Ong Ye Kung, to thank all donors and students from the North Zone for their unrelenting support to the monastery.
-2 & 3 Dec 2017
Receiving and Offering of Buddha’s Body, Speech and Mind
-9 & 10, 16 & 17 Dec 2017
4 days BWM Fiesta, with Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for Transport, and Mr Vikram Nair, MP for Sembawang GRC as special guests.
- 23 Dec 2017
Lay Practitioners Dharma Institute Course 3rd module: 83 students continued their learning journey with “Intermediate Principles” and “Advance Principles” of the Dialectic Studies.
- 30 Dec 2017 - 1st Jan 2018
3-day Auspicious Lights Festival with respective blessing sessions and Thousand Buddhas Prayers Ceremony on 1st Jan 2018
-31 Dec 2017
Inaugural BWM Countdown Party
-4 Jan 2018
The widely respected Venerable Niyangoda Vigithasiri Anunayaka Thero, Deputy Head of Sri Lanka's Siam Sect and Sangha visited BW Monastery for the second time.