In 1979, His Eminence Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche visited Singapore and with his encouragement and advice, a protem committee headed by Mr. David Chee Kim Swee was formed in preparation for the founding of Karma Kagyud Buddhist Centre in Singapore. A detached house at 17, Jalan Lateh was rented for the Centre's administration.
The protem committee representing many devotees, then invited His Holiness the Late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, who was the Head of the Karma Kagyud Lineage to visit Singapore.
On 27th December, 1980, His Holiness came with His entourage including His Eminence, the Late Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and Venerable Ponlop Rinpoche.
The main event of His Holiness' visit was the performance of the very auspicious Black Crown Ceremony. About five thousand people attended the ceremony held in Puat Jit Temple. The presence of His Holiness at our Centre had greatly inspired and motivated the committee and devotees to work hard for the propagation of the Buddha Dharma as preserved through the Kagyud lineage.
Before leaving Singapore, His Holiness left a pair of shoes in the Centre signifying profundity, His ever presence and notably, His impending physical return. Since then, many Rinpoches and lamas from our Kagyud lineage have visited the Centre and arrangements were made for them to give teachings and blessings to members and devotees bringing great benefits to innumerable people.
On 17th April 1981, the Registrar of Societies approved the registration of our Centre. The first management committee was formed on 11th March, 1982.
The Centre has organised visits and made donations to welfare institutions such as homes for the aged and orphanages. It has also initiated and participated in several charity fairs to raise donations for the needy. During the Hotel New World disaster in 1986, a voluntary group from the Centre was dispatched to assist in the rescue operation. In recognition of the Centre's contribution to society, it was granted the status of a Charitable Organisation on 2nd May, 1989 under the Charities Act Chap (37). In May 1991, a three day Thousand Buddhas Ceremony was organised by the Centre at the IMM Building. A few thousand members from different traditions including some monks participated in the propagation of the Buddha's teachings.
Through great blessings, the Centre received one of the first resident Rinpoches in this part of the world. Venerable Shangpa Tulku Rinpoche became the Centre's Spiritual Advisor and Resident Rinpoche in 1982. Since then, Rinpoche has been guiding the management committees in the Centre's works and also giving teachings, initiations and advices to many people. Rinpoche has contributed tremendously to the growth of the Centre. In 1990, Rinpoche initiated the search for a new premises to cater for the expansion of the Centre's activities. With the encouragement from His Eminence Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche and strong support from the members and devotees, the present Centre was acquired.
On 29th December, 1991, the Centre was relocated to its present premises. In celebrating the opening ceremony cum 12th Anniversary of the Centre on 14th November, 1993, a commemorative magazine was published and a thousand people vegetarian dinner, attended by guests of honour, Venerable Shi Ming Yi, Venerable B. Dhammaratana and Mr. Peh Chin Hwa, MP for Jalan Besar GRC, was held at the Mandarin Hotel.
In 1997, Ven. Shangpa Rinpoche was appointed by the members in the general meeting to be the abbot of the Centre.On 4th September 1998, he was enthroned as the abbot according to the traditional Tibetan Buddhist procedures in the morning and in the evening at the Singapore Futsing Association Hall, he will be officially appointed as the abbot in a ceremony held in conjunction with his 39th birthday celebration. Mr. Chan Soo Sen, Parliamentary Secretary, Prime Minister's office & Ministry of Community Development was the Guest-of-Honour for that evening.
PROPOSED NEW CENTRE
Since its inception in 1981, our abbot and invited Rinpoches have been actively propagating the Buddhist teachings, conducting pujas and prayers during Buddhist festivals and auspicious days. They also provide Buddhist counseling services to all members and devotees. In order to accommodate new expansions such as a comprehensive resource library, more activites and pujas, the building of a new centre is paramount to the development of buddhist teachings in Singapore.
In order to make the new Karma Kagyud Buddhist Centre a reality, we aim to raise S$3.5 million by the year 2007.This will take the heart and soul of every individual to put together their time, effort and resources, and we appreciate every contribution that goes toward this project.