Only the gate around the Buddhist Lodge in Singapore suggests that this is not an ordinary building.
The ornate stone carved panels show several Buddhist stories. The main entrance is through a beautiful arch in Chinese style.
The Buddhist Lodge was founded in 1943, originally with roughly 100 members. They came together in a traditional two-story house donated by wealthy business man and philanthrope Lee Choon Seng (李俊承) who made his money in the rubber trade and later set up the first Chinese banks in the area.
When the Buddhist Lodge grew in size to over 2000 members in only 4 years, Mr Lee again contributed generously to the new premises. Mr Lee grew up a Taoist and converted to Buddhism in adulthood. He was instrumental in the first drive to raise funds to purchase the rented building. He remained an active contributor to society until his death in 1966.
On entering the temple, there is main altar with a large statue of Buddha Śākyamuni. The Buddha is surrounded by statues of the 18 Arhats and different forms of Guānyīn. People are meditating in the hall and you can buy flowers and candles to offer to the Buddha.
Just outside the main hall is a large golden statue of a standing Buddha with three black smaller statues depicting the Buddha moments after his birth declaring that he is the Buddha.
The building contains a large office space and an extensive library. The library even has a special room to preserve the rare books in its collection. On the roof is a large statue of Guānyīn with a thousand arms.
In the dining hall people are offered a free vegetarian lunch.
Not only does the Buddhist Lodge provide free meals, but they also provide bursaries for education from junior college all the way to university for children of the poorer families in Singapore regardless of race or religion.
The Buddhist Lodge does not receive any government funding but solely relies on the generosity of its members and visitors.
The Buddhist Lodge can be found on 17-19 Kim Yam Road Singapore 239329 and is open daily from 9am till 5pm.