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Monthly Photos Aug 2022

Photos taken by ILCAA staff and associates are posted here once a month; most of them are taken during their field research in Asia and Africa.

(The copyright belongs to the photographers.)

The Multi-script Inscription in the Burmese Buddhist Temple

In Novena area of Singapore, there is a Burmese Buddhist temple. The predecessor of this temple, built in 1875, was relocated and reconstructed in 1990 to the current appearance. According to the description of this temple, it is the only Burmese Buddhist temple built in the traditional style outside of Myanmar. There are two inscribed stone tablets nailed to the wall of the temple compound. The photo shows one of the stone tablets. This tablet has text in Burmese script on the first line, in Sinhala script on the second line, in Khmer script from the middle of the fourth line, and in Latin and Burmese script below. The first text written in Burmese script is a well-known Pali chant Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā sambuddhassa. This chant is replicated in each first part written in Sinhala and Khmer scripts. The last one written in Burmese script is a Burmese text describing the facts about the predecessor temple from 1875 to the 1920s. On the basis of archival records, Anna M. Blackburn estimates that Sri Lankan Buddhists, who were powerless then, visited the temple enshrined with a Buddha image for ritual purposes. As for the Khmer script, I guess it indicates a connection with the Thai Buddhists rather than Cambodians, since the Thai Buddhists had long used the Khmer script for writing Pali.

March 18, 2017
Burmese Buddhist Temple, Novena, Singapore
Photograph by Hideo SAWADA

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