The Buddhist Books Distribution Centre in Singapore was officially established and approved as a religious society on November 17, 1999. Operation of the centre and its activities actually started in November 1998 after the visit of Dharma Master Heng Sure in August 1998. At that time, someone asked whether Singapore would have a Wayplace and Dharma Master Heng Sure replied, yes, if the people were sincere. That prompted a group of the Venerable Master Hua's lay disciples, who at that time had gathered frequently to read and discuss the Sutras, to conceive the idea of forming a society. Of course, there were other reasons for the formation of the society and they included the following:
1. A strong sense of responsibility to repay the Venerable Master's kindness and compassion.
2. A need for a centre for group studies and practicing of the Orthodox Buddhadharma.
3. A need for a point of contact for new Dharma friends acquinted during the book distribution.
4. A need for a distribution centre and library for DRBA's books, especially the English editions, which are not easily obtainable.
The main objective of BBDC is to provide free distribution of DRBA's books to the various tertiary institutions, Buddhist organizations, and the general public. The Centre has, so far, donated books to the Buddhist Societies in universities and polytechnics, as well as some monasteries, temples and libraries. DRBA's books are also being distributed free at various vegetarian food stalls throughout the island and sold at some popular bookstores. Knowing well the Venerable Master's intention to bring Buddhism to every corner of the world, the members believe the propagation of the Buddhadharma and the Master's teachings is just a small part of their basic duty to repay his kindness.
BBDC is currently managed by a 13-member committee and has presently about 40 members. They follow and adhere strictly to the great principle of
the Venerable Master in not soliciting donations. All distribution funds come from voluntary donors, mostly members and closely associated Dharma friends. In carrying out their operation of the centre, all members are briefed and reminded to adhere strictly to the six guiding principles of: no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuing of personal advantages, and no lying.
The Shurangama Mantra is recited daily at the Centre except on Tuesdays. Besides reciting the Mantra, members also do the Great Compassion Repentance ceremony every Saturday, recite the "Conduct and Vows of Universal Worthy" and the Flower Adornment Repentance every Sunday. They also perform Meal Offerings every new and full moon and organize Dharma programs on auspicious days such as the birthdays of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as the Anniversary of Venerable Master Hua's entering Nirvana.
Although BBDC is a young and relatively new society, it is starting to draw attention from various Buddhist organizations and devotees through the thousands of books given out during the last two years. Besides distributing books as a form of propagating the Dharma, members of BBDC believe giving Sutra lectures and instructional Dharma talks is even more important in crossing over living beings. Hence, it is always their wish to be affiliated to DRBA and that monks or nuns can be stationed in Singapore to lead in Dharma lectures, ceremonies and activities.
The past visits to BBDC by Dharma Masters Tso, Sying, Jang, Hsiang, Yuen, Yi, Liang, Gwei, Sheng, and Hu have given the members much inspiration and hope. The consent of these Dharma Masters to visit BBDC despite their busy traveling schedules and commitments has earned the respect and boosted the morale of every member. The founding members have a resolute mission to see to the growth and expansion of the Centre despite some minor obstacles in the initial phase of their operation. They are confident they will make it. (Please see photos on back cover.)