In 1995, Venerable Zhen Dao bought a unit along Geylang Lorong 12, intending to set up a temple for devotees who wanted to learn about Buddhism. During then, there was very little known about Buddhism. Venerable Zhen Dao devoted his time to teaching devotees and guided them carefully on both Buddha Dharma and Buddhist rituals.
Under Venerable Zhen Dao’s guidance, the devotees of DZL grew in numbers, and soon, there was limited space for conducting major events. Hence, there was a need to move to a bigger premise. This move came about in 2003 to a rented premise along Mohamed Sultan Road. At the new site, more activities were carried out and soon, through words of mouth and the growing awareness of Buddhism, there was a need to move yet again to a larger and more conducive location. Unfortunately, it was also around this period that Venerable Zhen Dao was taken ill and he passed away in 2005, appointing his only disciple, Venerable You Wei to be the next Abbot of DZL.
DZL’s devotee base suffered as a result of the illness of Venerable Zhen Dao. When Venerable You Wei took over Abbotship, Venerable You Wei rebuilt the devotee base by re-modelling prayer sessions and he taught the first Dharma lessons in DZL. Gradually, the space at Mohammad Sultan became insufficient to contain the growing devotee base. DZL moved again to its current address along Macpherson Road. Being one of the youngest Abbot in Singapore, Venerable You Wei had to helm over DZL immediately, win over his teachers’ devotees and to grow the temple.
Besides teaching Dharma, conducting weekly congregations and organising major prayers, Venerable You Wei also wanted devotees to be involved in charitable acts to invoke the virtues of compassion. Hence, a partnership was established with Man Fut Tong Nursing Home in June 2010 and volunteers were recruited to run monthly activities with the residents of the nursing home. This activity was subsequently extended to Serene and Irene Homes.
In 2011, DZL recognised the need to support financially disadvantaged students to give them a heads start in life. DZL provided bursaries to students of the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels. Till 2020, awards were given out to 262 students regardless of race or religion. The charitable acts did not stop here. In late 2016, DZL management committee saw the needs of vulnerable residents in Marine Parade and started a project to distribute food to the vulnerable residents there. To date, over 3000 meals have been delivered to about 90 vulnerable residents and more plans are made for the coming years.
Devotees of DZL began to grow over time, and when the opportunity to acquire a second rental unit above its current unit arose, the management committee expanded DZL. This is so that devotees can have a more comfortable place to do their prayers and a place to have their meals. While DZL is now operating and conducting its activities robustly in Gnoh Hock Building, nevertheless, there is still a considerable uncertainty for the temple. For the excellent work of DZL to continue both at the temple and community level, there is an urgent need for DZL to acquire land and build her temple.
Government land sales for locally funded temples opens the opportunity for DZL to realise its long-standing vision of building a temple. Besides overcoming space constraints at our current location in Macpherson, the expansion would allow DZL to enrich its outreach efforts. Over the decade, the temple has been organising activities that cater to the younger generations. DZL has been effective in imparting traditional moral values that strengthen character and uniting the community. To achieve more, DZL needs her temple.