A welcoming party awaits the pilgrim entourage upon their return from Sri Lanka. Another ceremony of presentation of Buddha Sacred Relics to Ven Si Fazhao by Venerable G. Gnanissara (Abbot, Sri Lank Ganagaramaya Temple) was done on the ground of Golden Pagoda Buddhist Temple on 15.03.1992 The Sacred Buddha Relics were handed over by the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka to Ven Shi FaZhao on 14 March 1992, after the Dhana ceremony to 1,500 Sangha. A welcome ceremony was held at Changi Airport on 15 March to receive the Buddha Relics.
Website link: Golden Pagoda Temple
The Origin of Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
In 1980, Ven. Cakkapala, abbot of the renowned Bandula monastery in Mrauk-U, Myanmar, resolved together with five male devotees to go up the Bagan Hill at Mrauk-U to restore a collapsed stupa and a large statue of the Buddha. In the process of clearing up the debris, they discovered a Tooth of the Buddha within a stupa of pure gold, and also found various other relics of the Buddha. The discovery was not made known publicly.
In mid-January 2001, members of the Preparatory Committee for the Bandula Monastery were preparing to build a Buddhist hall and a two-storey Exhibition Hall for Ancient Buddhist Cultural Relics. Faced with great difficulties in fund-raising, they appealed to Ven. Shi Fazhao for financial assistance. Moved by the Committee spirit of commitment to Buddhism, Ven. Shi Fazhao gladly agreed to their request.
In mid-August 2001, the Preparatory Committee escorted Ven. Shi Fazhao and his devotees to pay reverence to the Buddha Tooth Relic (discovered more than 200 years) at the Bandula Monastery, and to meet the abbot Ven. Cakkapala. The two eminent monks felt close to each other right from the start, such that they shared extensively with each other their experiences in furthering the Dharma. In early 2002, Ven. Cakkapala came to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand for a visit on Ven. Shi Fazhao invitation. As he visited both the Golden Pagoda Buddhist Temple and Metta Welfare Association (founded by Ven. Shi Fazhao), he came to the profound understanding that the compassion of this friend of his extended beyond just helping to restore stupas in Myanmar – indeed, it was sown widely all over Singapore and the region.
On August 4, 2002, Ven. Cakkapala decided to hand over the Buddha Tooth Relic (which he had reverently enshrined for 22 years) to Ven. Shi Fazhao to be safeguarded. He exhorted the new guardian that, should the opportunity arise, he is to build a monastery for the relic, so that Buddhists from everywhere may gather in Singapore to pay reverence to it. These people, it was hoped, may in this way connect with the Buddha and hence increase in blessings and wisdom. Ven. Cakkapala passed away peacefully on December 11, 2002.
Having been so urged by Ven. Cakkapala, Ven. Shi Fazhao found himself being tested. To get things started, he resolved to be secluded in a one-year Dharma Lotus Blossom Retreat. Thanks to blessings from the Triple Gems, Ven. Shi Fazhao conceived during the retreat not only the name “Buddha Relic Tooth Temple (Singapore)”, but also an architectural style based on the Buddhist mandala and integrated with the art culture of Buddhism in the Tang dynasty. Naturally, the classical ethos of the building has to be matched with a site with a long history. Loaded with significance for early Chinese immigrants, and also being the locus of the roots of Chinese culture here, Chinatown became one of the places under consideration for the building of the new Temple.