KEK Lok Si Temple has submitted plans to build a five-storey charity medical centre in Air Itam opposite the footpath leading to the 123-year-old Buddhist monastery in Penang.
Outgoing abbot Datuk Seri Venerable Seck Jit Heng said the one-acre medical centre was the first phase in a plan to construct a charity hospital that would have facilities built on the 10 acres of land owned by the temple there.
The abbot, who announced on Monday that he would be stepping down on Dec 27, said the medical centre’s layout plan had been submitted to the Penang Municipal Council and they were now waiting for approval to begin construction.
“I have been at Kek Lok Si for 35 years and served as abbot for 12 years. It is time for me to give a chance to the next generation of monks. However, I will remain in Kek Lok Si and focus on charity work such as constructing this medical centre,” said the 59-year-old monastic.
Ven Xian Guan, who is currently the temple secretary, will replace him.
The centre, Seck said, would provide free or subsidised medical services to the needy.
“We received RM2mil from 1Malaysia Development Bhd and RM10mil from a private donor to launch the medical centre,” he said, adding that the long-term hospital plan would cost over RM50mil.
Seck added that the monastery also planned to build an old folks’ home and orphanage on two pieces of land in Lebuh Lintang and Batu Lanchang that it owns.
“There is still a lot of charity work that our monastery must do and I will focus on them.
I hope the new abbot will actively advance Buddha’s teachings, benefit society, and improve harmony between the races in Malaysia. This is an important mission for Kek Lok Si Temple.”
Xian will be installed as the seventh abbot at an induction ceremony presided over by Mahayana Buddhist monks from China, Taiwan and Malaysia. The 47-year-old monk is from Sibu, Sarawak, and has served in Kek Lok Si since 1988.
The ceremony will be the finale of a series of events held in conjunction with Kek Lok Si’s 123rd anniversary.
The 10th Threefold Ordination of monks will take place from Oct 23 to Nov 20.
The taking of the Five Precepts and Bodhisattva Vows by lay Buddhists will be held from Nov 13 to Nov 20.
A short-term retreat from Dec 12 to Dec 23 is also available to lay Buddhists, while year-end prayer ceremonies will be from Dec 26 to Jan 2.
The public is invited to attend the induction ceremony of the new abbot and any of the events outlined.
For details, call the monastery at 04-828 3317.