Wat Palelai

This is a beautiful Thai Buddhist temple in Singapore. It has a meditation hall that is usually open to the public and I enjoy my meditation session there because of the breeze.

www.watpalelai.org

Here’s a step by step prayer stops at this temple if you wish to tour the temple in accordance to customary practice.

The 1st stop is the main shrine. Customarily, Buddhist will light 3 or 1 stick of incense and place it in the main incense holder outside the main shrine.

After that we proceed to the annexed building where the Pagoda is and climb the stairs on your left (when you are facing the building). This will lead you to the Palelai Hall

If you wish to, you can perform Circumambulation. Walk around this statue 3 times in clockwise manner to show respect. If there is anyone praying, please walk behind that person when you passes by during the circumambulation. Do not walk in front. This is out of consideration not to disturb another’s prayer.

Then head down to the Arahant Hall. This hall contains statues of some contemporary monks who have attained Enlightenment.

Then it is customary to visit the shrine dedicated to Bhrama. It is just outside the Pagoda Building. Thai Buddhist will ask this god for support since he is a disciple of Buddha and he commit to protect Buddhist. According to Buddhist scripture, he visited Buddha regularly to seek Buddha’s advice and also to attend Buddha’s sermon.

After that, we proceed to enter the main shrine hall. That’s where we first light the incense. Behind the shrine hall is the founder’s memorial hall. At certain hour of the day, a monk will be there and you may ask him for blessings.

If you wish to do meditation, it will be after we visit the main shrine hall.

Once again, go to the Pagoda building. But you’ll have to go to the 3rd level. The signage on the wall will show you where the meditation hall is.

Here’s some pointers for visitors

When visiting Buddhist temple, we should dress modestly and appropriately.

Our right side of the body is customarily considered more respectful. Thus when we wish to go around an object of veneration, we will proceed in a clockwise manner so that our right side faces the object of veneration.

When leaving the main shrine or hall, we try to leave by walking sideway so that our back will not face the object of veneration. (that’s also because walking backwards is dangerous) We keep our right side towards the object of veneration. These are all mind training for a Buddhist and of course safety and practicality comes first.

Within the main hall, it is customary to kneel down and pay respect to the Buddha image by bowing. Again practicality comes first. If the physical condition of the body or health or situation does not permit, then forget it.

In a Thai Buddhist temple, the ladies must not have body contact with the monks. Even a handshake is not okay. This restraint comes from custom and for the ladies, it is also out of consideration for the monks. The reason is not because ladies are viewed as inferior. Instead it is a practical approach that all monks  are just mere mortal before enlightenment. They are training to rid themselves of desire. So let’s not create opportunity for their mind to stray.

Thai monks are not supposed to handle money. if you wish to donate cash, just put them in the donation boxes within the temple compound.

Hope this is helpful 🙂

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