Official opening and 10th anniversary of the Buddhist College of Singapore

Venerable Sik Kwang Sheng,
Rector of Buddhist College Singapore Abbot of Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery Ladies and Gentlemen Good morning to all of you. I am delighted to be here on this happy occasion, to open the Buddhist College of Singapore (BCS)
for the new building and to celebrate the College’s 10th Anniversary. The Buddhists are the largest religious group in Singapore. The community makes important contributions
to our multi-racial society. Through the many devotees and temples in Singapore, they help the poor and the needy, providing free meals,
funding scholarships and bursaries, operating clinics and kidney dialysis centres – helping to
make healthcare affordable. The Buddhists also provides counselling
at penal institutions, drug rehabilitation centres,
and the SAF Detention Barracks. The Buddhists foster racial and religious harmony,
engaging with all races and religions, participating in our Inter-Racial and Religious
Confidence Circles (IRCCs). One key reason why the Buddhist community
has thrived in Singapore, is because the Buddhist leaders understand the context
of our multi-racial society and have a strong sense of service to the community. For example, Venerable Sik Kwang Sheng
started the BCS ten years ago. And his vision was to groom bilingual Sangha members, grounded in the appropriate perspective and knowledge, to contribute to the development of Chinese Buddhism
and to spread the faith to the English-speaking world. And he also wanted the students to be able to
contribute to the community. So he made sure the BCS had a strong
service learning component, offering religious counselling,
fund-raising for Buddhist causes. I am glad that ten years on, BCS is fulfilling its vision and nurturing Buddhist leaders for Singapore
and for the region. Many of its graduates over the last ten years
are serving as Buddhist educators and administrators in temples here and overseas. They have a deep understanding of their faith, and they also understand how to practise it in the
context of their own societies. In Singapore, many different religions live side by side. We accommodate and adjust to one another. We respect each other’s beliefs and practices.
We build bridges and mutual trust. And thus, we all live harmoniously together,
regardless of race and religion. The BCS helps to bring about this happy and precious outcome, through its work with the Buddhist community. I hope that they will continue to play this important role,
helping believers to understand their faith better, to practice their faith better,
and to contribute more to the society, and to build a better Singapore and contribute to their
own countries if they are from abroad. Finally, before I conclude,
let me say a few words in Mandarin. 很高兴能够和大家一起庆祝新加坡佛学院
落成暨建校十周年纪念庆典。 对光明山普觉禅寺和新加坡来说,
这是一个非常有意义和重大的里程碑。 光明山普觉禅寺在新加坡的佛教与建国历史
中扮演了很重要的角色。 从教育到慈善工作方面都不遗余力,
贡献良多; 同时不断的推广人文教育,弘扬佛教。 在新加坡这个多元种族、宗教的社会背景, 宗教的教育、宗教的和谐是非常重要的。 佛教在新加坡要持续发展,
并在英语世界流布, 就需要培养一批具有正知正见,
精通中、英双语, 有能力从事弘法、管理和佛学研究的僧伽人才。 这就是新加坡佛学院的宗旨。 可见光明山普觉禅寺方丈广声大和尚,
非常有远见。 为国家为佛教,费了一番心思。 最后,恭祝普觉禅寺,培育多些正知正见的僧才, 为国家为 宗教和谐 持续发扬光大! Congratulations to BCS and Happy 10th Anniversary! Thank you very much.

Jerry Heath

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