The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission was founded on 15 July 1971, by Venerable Ju De. Venerable was a sincere and warm-hearted businessman, a vegetarian who devoting himself to Buddhism, and putting a lot of effort into Dana. In 1960, Ven Ju De leased a location in Sam Sing Kung Chinese Temple, formed a Buddhist Chanting Society and engaged in Buddhist activities. The good cause of the spread of Buddhism by Ven Ju De has enabled the people of Sandakan to exposure to the Dharma and take refuge in the Three Jewels.
With the aim to spread Dharma, Ven Ju De and Zhang Guang Fu proposed to form The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission. A working committee led by Ven Ju De was established. With the help from Dato Yu Zhi Rui in drafting the constitution and effort from a group of Buddhists, the association was finally approved by the government on 15 July 1971.
19 September 1971, The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission’s first owned venue was a 700 square feet 3 storey building at the Church Road, officiated by Ven Da Guang. The association with its own venue progressed under the leadership of Ven Ju De. A significant increase in number of devotees had resulted a much bigger venue was needed.
In 1974, The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission was moved to 3 units on the 4th floor of an old dock. Wong Wen Hui started and led the Sunday Children Dharma Class to breed the next generation of Buddhist. At the same time, The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission actively participated YBAM activities and organised trainings and camps at the state level. Liew Zhuo Ming was named 2nd Chairperson of YBAM Sabah SLC in 1986.
In early 1977, The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission 3rd Chairperson, Zhang Guang Fu spotted the land where the current main shrine is. With the team’s assistance, the land was approved by the state government. In November the same year, Zhang resigned from the position due to health problem.
In 1978, Dato Gao Jian Shi became the 4th Chairperson. He formed the fund raising committee to build Puu Jih Shi Temple; he was the chairperson and Liew Zhuo Ming was the vice chairperson. On 5 September 1978, the Religious Patron of the society Ven Da Guang officiated the blessing ceremony; while the Lay Patron, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Lau Gek Poh performed the earth breaking ceremony
for the construction of Puu Jih Shi Temple. But the project tender was advertised and awarded only in mid-1984 due to the economy recession. The construction started on 20 November 1984. At the same time, the fund raising campaign was actively carried out, Dato Gao even pledged to go bald to raise money and it drew warm response.
Puu Jih Shi Temple was inaugurated on 26 September 1987, Sandakan officially has its first traditional Chinese Buddhist Temple.
In 1985, Buddhist in Sandakan gathered in The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission, to discuss matter of applying for Wesak Day as a public holiday. The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission was chosen to lead the matter. It received good support from 24 Buddhist societies, more than 2000 people signed the petition. After several attempts, the petition was finally filed on 22 January 1987 and on 29 January the same year, the Sabah State Government announced Wesak Day a public holiday.
Therefore, on 12 May 1987, The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission had a grand celebration on the first Wesak Day holiday. Ven Da Guang led the Buddha bathing ceremony in the morning, while in the afternoon, there was a parade with participants from more than 30 societies and schools. The parade included floats, bands, dances, dragon and lion dances and others, unprecedentedly attracted a crowd of more than thousands of people.
In order to expend Puu Jih Shi Temple, The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission had decided in committee meeting on 28 December 1988 and 30 July 1989 to buy two pieces of land cost RM70, 000 and RM60, 000 respectively to build Ksitigarbha Shrine and car park. The lands were connected together, located in the lower part behind the Main Shrine.
9 May 1990, Ven Xing Ding officiated the blessing ceremony, Lay Advisor Dato Lai Fu Jin performed the earth breaking ceremony and the Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan laid the foundation for the construction. 16 July 2000, the building was completed. The opening ceremony was officiated by the Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Industrial Development Sabah Dato Tam Yue Cheng, with Ven Guang Di performed the eye opening ceremony for the statue of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.
The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission founded Ven Da Guang Education Fund in 2000, and started distributing monetary gifts and stationary for needy students of ten primary schools and Yu Yuan Secondary School in 2001. And beginning in 2007, the association provides a pair of free glasses to needy students every year, each from ten primary schools.
In 2006, the sixth chairperson Lee Shao Xia was actively promoting the Dharma education, helped a lot of needy students through the Ven Da Guang Education Fund. She has setup the performance incentive rewards to encourage the children of members to acquire better educational results. Under her leadership, a lot of activities were conducted; she also emphasised on the cultivation of Dharma study among the youths.
Thanks for the YBAM Sabah SLC arrangements, The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission manages to hold Dharma talks and send the members to trainings and camps as self-development and to enhance their understanding of the Dharma. Besides, The Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission Youth Group holds camp every year end for youths in the state.
Address：WDT 427,Sandakan, 90009 Sabah.
Official FB Page：Sandakan (Sabah) Buddhist Mission
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