Buddhist Schools of Thought Converge in Penang

By Ooi Tze Xiong

October 2022 FEATURE
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WHILE GEORGE TOWN may not have the enduring history of ancient entrepôts in the Malay Archipelago, it has nevertheless grown into a cosmopolitan centre in just over two centuries.In its heyday, merchants flocking ashore to this confluence of cultures brought along various beliefs from their homelands. Buddhism is one of those beliefs. As of 2020, 45% of the city’s population are adherents of the Buddhist faith.1 Two major schools predominate – Theravada, regarded as the original branch of Buddhism practised...

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  • 1. Key Findings Population and Housing Census of Malaysia 2020 Department of Statistics Malaysia (2022).
  • 2. Salma Nasution, Khoo. Streets of George Town, Penang. Areca Books, 1993.
  • 3. Kek Lok Si: https://kekloksitemple.com/
  • 4. Elizabeth DeBernardi, Jean. Penang: Rites of Belonging in a Malaysian Chinese Community. National University of Singapore, 2009.
  • 5. Jack Meng-Tat, Chia. Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity Across the South China Sea. Oxford University Press, 2020.
Ooi Tze Xiong

currently delves into content creation and enjoys piloting drones as a hobby. After years of sojourning in cities across Malaysia and Singapore, he eventually decided to call Penang home.