THE Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya marked a key milestone in its history when its newly completed chedi (stupa) was officially opened by a senior monk from Bangkok Somdej PhramaharatchAmangkalajarn from Bangkok recently.
Construction of the RM1.9mil stupa started in September 2009 and was scheduled for completion this year to coincide with the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha’s Enlightenment or Buddha Jayati.
Some 500 devotees from as far as Kedah and Perlis witnessed the launching ceremony.
The stupa is the most venerated religious structure for Buddhists where traditionally religious relics are enshrined to serve as reminders to the people to follow Buddha’s teachings.
The highlight of the event was the enshrinement of Buddha’s relics.
According to the chief abbot of Wat Chetawan, Phra Khru Sophitchariyaphorn, Buddha’s relics enshrined in the stupa is of great historical and religious significance as it was part of relics discovered in Piphrawa, a village in Uttar Pradesh near the Nepal border in 1898. The relics were presented to King Chulalongkorn of Thailand by the then British Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon.
King Chulalongkorn distributed part of the relics to Japan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Siberia and the rest were ceremoniously enshrined in the Golden Mount Chedi in Bangkok in 1899.
To commemorate the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha’s Enlighten-ment and to mark King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit’s 85th and 80th birthday anniversaries respectively, a portion of those sacred relics of Buddha were presented to Wat Chetawan in Malaysia on June 27 by Somdej as a token of goodwill from Thai Buddhists to Malaysian Buddhists.
By this noble gesture, Wat Chetawan in Petaling Jaya has been chosen as the custodian of the sacred relics for all Malaysian Buddhists.
Wat Chetawan was founded in 1957 on a 0.8ha piece of land donated by the then Selangor Government.
Construction of the temple buildings was funded by donations from devotees in Malaysia and Thailand, as well as contributions from the governments of then Malaya and Thailand.
Subsequently, an adjacent piece of land was acquired.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej accompanied by Queen Sirikit, officiated at the opening of its main shrine hall on June 26, 1962.
Several members of the Thai royal family then made subsequent visits to the temple for specific religious ceremonies. They included Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and the King’s elder sister Princess Galyani Vadhana.