After finishing a "get to know you" session with a potential client, I stepped out onto the street and caught a glimpse of what looked like an old Asian style roof corner. I was informed that it was the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, a "must visit" if you're in Singapore. My lucky day, I love that stuff, so I walked the block or so to get the temple. This temple is famed for having one of Buddha's teeth. To me, it looks like a very big molar still attached to the jaw. The piece of jaw was the same width of the tooth, so it looks like someone deliberately cut it out. I stood there thinking, "who the heck had the moxy to cut Buddha's tooth and jaw"? I'm not a Buddhist or follower of any religion but I still found it kind of offensive, isn't that called desecration? I was under the impression that it was a tooth that fell out or had survived the cremation process. Anyways, once the shock had subsided, I thought, maybe that's what Buddha wanted, to have his teeth and jaw cut up and disbursed. Coincidentally, I've visited a different Buddha Tooth Relic temple in China called the Yixian Wooden Pagoda but I didn't get to see the tooth as the building it was in wasn't open yet (I didn't even know there was a tooth relic there until I saw the signage on the building). I only mention this because of the world of difference there is between these two structures housing Buddha's tooth. You can see the images for the Wooden Pagoda in my previous post, Yixian Wooden Pagoda of Datong.
The building has 4 floors serviced by 2 elevators. There's a canteen, in the basement, serving traditional Buddhist vegetarian food and the fee is a voluntary donation. The main floor houses the large statues of Buddha in two separate lobbies and has miniature Buddha sculptures from floor to ceiling on both walls, each in a different pose. Both lobbies have street level entrances as well as gift shops (more like a counter) and donation services where you can buy (then leave at the alters) ornate candles, mini fruit baskets, wish coins etc. In the larger of the two lobbies is where pubic praying/chanting takes place. I've never seen microphones used in praying before so that was a surprise. The mezzanine floor houses local historic items, wax figures and this temple's history articles/photos. The second floor has prayer/class rooms as well as more religious artifacts displayed in show cases. The third floor is a museum with lots of old stuff like stone statues, carvings etc. Then on the fourth floor is the meditation hall in which the Buddha Tooth Relic is housed (in a gold stupa), in its own room heavily decorated with gold leaf and viewed only through a window. You have to take off your shows in this hall and no photography is allowed. There are 2 tv screens on either side of the hall showing a photo of the Tooth Relic because you can't really see it through the viewing window. There's also a gift shop on this floor. The roof garden is accessible only via stairs and showcases the prayer wheel. It's more like a column that you hold onto and rotate while walking in circles. This Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore is, in my opinion, really extravagant. It's the most elaborate and detailed Asian temple I've ever been to, quite a sight to behold. Really worth a trip if you're into this sort of thing, especially if you're already in Chinatown.
Since this was a spur of the moment trip, I only had my Canon 7D2 camera, a 24-105 lens, and a flash (that's my take everywhere combo). I felt wanting on the wide side and wanting on close ups so I'm going to go back with my Canon 5D2, an ultra wide lens and macro lens. Oh, if your clothing is too "skimpy" like bare shoulders, they have shawls that they will make you wear to cover up. Hope you enjoyed the images!
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