Freemasonry and Religion in Singapore
The following is a copy of the scroll in the anteroom of Lodge Singapore No. 7178 E.C., descriptive of the Volumes of the Sacred Law reposing in the Lodge Room. Our thanks to Wor. Bro. C. D.Schultz, Past Master of Plantagenet Lodge, No. 65, Vancouver, B.C. who obtained this material as a result of a visit to Singapore.
The sacred Volumes reposing in this Lodge are at this present time
(1968) six in number and are as follows: –
(1) The Holy Book of the Sikhs, being the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. There have been relatively few Exaltations of Sikhs in this Lodge and until this volume was presented to the Lodge the Holy Bhagvada Gita had been used.
(2) The Holy Bhhagvada Gita is the Holy Book of the Hindus, and this Volume may be opened and touched by hand but not by the lips.
(3) The Khordeh Avesta of the Zoroastrian Faith being the Holy Book of the Parsees, may be treated in the same way as the Holy Bible of the Christian faith.
(4) The Holy Koran of the Muslims. With regard to touching and sealing the Holy Koran, an overall picture is somewhat difficult to convey as the customs vary in different countries. The Imam of Kedah has, however, stated that the Holy Koran should be held above the head of the person taking an oath and that such a person may neither touch nor seal it. Another accepted method of dealing with this problem is for the V.S.L. to be treated in exactly the same manner as with the Holy Bible, but with the difference that the Holy Koran should be covered. Obviously, it is the duty of the Sponsors to ascertain the method appropriate for our particular purpose.
(5) The Holy Bible of the Christians which comprises two parts, i.e. the Old Testament and the New Testament. As regards the Craft, it is the Old Testament which is acted upon. The Books of the Old Testament which are contained in the Holy Bible, are treated by those of the Jewish Faith in the same manner as by the Christians.
(6) There are two main sects of Buddhists, i.e., the Hinayana and the Mahayana. The former are from India, Ceylon, Burma, Cambodia and Thailand, and the Mahayana (Northern) generally hail from China, Korea and Japan. The Hinayana do not recognize a Supreme Being, but there may of course be exceptional cases.
The Mayday sect acknowledges a Supreme Being and their Holy Book is the Dhammapada; being the 1st Book of the original twelve containing 423 Dhamma Stanzas. On good authority, it is understood there would be no objection to using the Holy Bible for the purpose of taking oaths, should the Dhammapada not be available.
As a reader of The Educator you may have noted that there has not and will not be any focus on religion or religions in this publication. This is as a result of my memory when being accepted into Freemasonry in 1956, at which time I was asked a very simple question: “In times of difficulty or distress, in whom do you place your trust”
My answer was “IN GOD” There was no requested expansion as to HOW I did this or any indication of a CORRECT way,
I also recall having read a very interesting poem written by Rudyard Kipling recalling his visit to a Lodge in Singapore and the beauty & understanding that I felt when he described the brethren in attendance & the HOLY BOOKS on display.
What a wonderful moment that must have been with all present recognizing themselves as BROTHERS.
May I use this opportunity to give a big Thank You to my readers located in that part of our World.
Have a wonderful Day & God Bless