Completed in 1909, Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery (also known as Siong Lim Temple) is the oldest Buddhist monastery in Singapore. Its name translates to “Twin Groves of the Lotus Mountain” in Mandarin and references the belief that Buddha attained nirvana sitting within a sala tree grove. In 1980, the monastery’s Hall of Celestial Kings (Tian Wang Dian) and Mahavira Hall (Da Xiong Bao Dian) were gazetted collectively as a National Monument.
The monastery was founded in 1898 by community leader Low Kim Pong and twelve Buddhist monks and nuns from Hui’an, China. Low and his son had waited at the Singapore waterfront after their mystical dream of a golden light shining from the west. There, they met the monks and nuns, led by Venerable Xian Hui, who were returning to China from a pilgrimage. Low invited them to remain in Singapore to spread the Buddhist faith with Venerable Xian Hui as the monastery’s first abbot. Low donated 12 acres of land and funds for the monastery, while people across the region also contributed financially.
The monastery has a layout common in Zen Buddhism and is modelled after the Xi Chan Monastery in Fuzhou, China. Its design adopts the cong lin (“layered forest” in Mandarin) approach, where the monastery’s layout facilitates monastic routines and religious rituals.
Today, Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery continues to be a focal point for devotees from Toa Payoh and beyond, while fulfilling its role in monastic training and education.
Explore the Suggested Short Trail Routes:
Of Public Housing & Shared Spaces, 1.5 hours on foot (4.5 km)
Of Faiths & Beliefs, 2 hours with public transport (6 km)
Of Community Institutions & Common Spaces, 0.5 hours on foot (1.5 km)