About Poh Oo Toong Temple
The Poh Oo Toong Temple is a Buddhist temple along a quieter strech of Burma Road. It was originally the property of Yeoh Cheang Seng(杨章成）, one of the wealthy Penang merchant. His wife, Madam Khoo Soh Oo(邱素誉) was a Buddhist devotee. She allocated a part of their mansion for the construction of the Poh Oo Toong Buddhist Temple(宝誉堂), with the advices and help of the Upasika Ken Yong(根泳) from Pao Yue Kong Temple(宝月宫). They came up with the funds on their own. Temple contruction began in 1937 and completed around 1939. During the Second World War, the temple runs by quite a number of resident Upasikas. Poh Oo Toong was presented and opened for the public worship by Khoo Soh Oo after the war, on 2 August 1947.
A famous monk Master Ci Hang(慈航)came from China to Southeast Asia in 1941, staying in Penang for seven years. During this time, he travelled around Singapore, Melacca, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh giving lectures. He was instrumental in establishing the Phor Tay Institution in Singapore and Penang as well as the Phor Tay Schools and Buddhist Society in Singapore, Selagor, Ipoh and Penang. He also published a Buddhist magazine. The premises of the Penang Buddhist Society(槟榔屿佛学会) was at Poh Oo Toong. The Buddhist Society was initially very active in religious lectures and activities. The society was eventually dissolved later on 1960s.
A seven-tier pagoda was built in honor of Madam Khoo in the temple yard during 1940s. Master Ci Hang was present at the official opening of the pagoda. A tablet attributed by him was erected in front of it. Madam Khoo became a nun around the age of 80 and took on the title of Hooi Kong(慧光) and she passed away years later on 1952. In 1978, Master Boon Keng(文建) was invited from Kuala Lumpur to be the abbot of Poh Oo Toong Temple, taking over from Master Chuan Yen(传严). During this period, the temple is very lively with many cultivational activities such as meditation, cultivating the 8 percepts and more.
The Malaysian Buddhist Association also run Cheng Huah Kindergarten(正化幼稚园) within the premise of Poh Oo Toong Temple since 1970s until the MBA new educational building was fully completed at 182 Burma Road in 2006.