Hai Inn Temple is standing unassumingly on top of a hill; amidst the serenity of the greenery. It is located in the outskirts of Choa Chu Kang, near the exit of Kranji Expressway (KJE).
Hai Inn Temple had a humble beginning; from mud huts to the majestic building. This was only made possible by a well-known pioneer businessman, Mr Tan Fang Swee who generously donated the piece of land and Mrs Tan, Madam Yeo Tong Ho, who enduringly raised funds to commence the construction of the Hai Inn building.
Mdm Yeo, a conscientious and generous Buddhist devotee, frequently provide the necessity to the old, the sick and the needy. She was greatly respected and received overwhelming support in her fund raising project from people of all walks of life.
Hai Inn Temple was built around 1928, during that time, Hai Inn Temple was comprised of numerous mud huts. It served its purpose of providing shelter against inclement weather. It was a place solely for the female laities and devotees to learn and practice dharma. Under the leadership of Madam Yeo and the devotees’ unyielding efforts, Hai Inn Temple’s reputation has proliferated far and wide.
As the number of devotees and lodging practitioners multiplied, the initial few huts were insufficient to meet the growing demands. In between 1937 and 1938, with the unwavering support and financial aid from Abbot Venerable Swee Teng of Long San See Temple, the construction of the Ample Hall was made possible in 1939.
The great calligrapher Xu Bei Hong (徐悲鸿) personally penned “海印寺” (Hai Inn Temple) which was then engraved onto the signboard. Thus, Hai Inn Temple became officially known as the place of practice for the female devotees; it could only accommodate more than 60 lodging preceptors. Aside from to morning and night prayers and the daily chores, the lodgers also conducted children nursery and elementary classes. In addition, home economics and dressmaking skills were offered to the public and exceptionally good response was received.
In 1941, when Japan invaded Singapore, more than a hundred of locals flocked to Hai Inn Temple to seek refuge. Under the protection of the British army, life was manageable and hunger was kept at bay.
During early 1942, when the Japanese occupied Singapore, the people lived in constant fear. The Japanese army officers scouted around places, inquired and even delved into Hai Inn Temple's grounds. The Japanese soldiers deployed the necessities of protection and basic needs to support the religious worship and cultivation of the female devotees and the young. As thus, Hai Inn Temple became a safe haven till 1945; this is greatly attributed to the mighty works of the Triple Gems.
As the number of Upasikas (ie. female devotees who have taken refuge and the five precepts) dwindled and with the growing numbers of aged lodgers, the then acting temple superintendent Upasika, Chia Bok Lee invited the current abbot, Venerable Shi Chuan Yi, to reign over the helm. In order to further propagate the dharma, measures were taken to progressively develop Hai Inn Temple into a monastery for the sangha community.
With the passage of time, the condition of the building slowly deteriorated, Venerable Chuan Yi, thus strategised the reconstruction of Hai Inn Temple. By the end of 1997, reconstruction of Incense Hall and Abstinence Hall were completed.
In 1998, Venerable Liao Zhong was invited to grace the ground breaking ceremony for the rebuilding of the Ample Hall. The original Ancestor Hall was demolished and by the end of 1999, a 3-storey building was erected with a multi-purpose. The first storey being the Ancestor Hall, the second storey is Universal Hall and the third storey being Enlightenment Hall. The named “Hai Inn Temple” was then became known as “Hai Yin Gu Si”, in Chinese.
With Venerable Chuan Yi at the helm of leadership, he plans and manages to propagate Dharma to attain a new heights.
At the beginning of the new millennium, Venerable Zhen Mu was appointed to be the principal for Hai Inn Temple Buddhism College. The college provided dharma classes for Adult, Youth and Children, bringing the total to more than five hundred. Every Sunday from 9am to 5pm, courses are conducted complementing with meditation and Buddhist etiquette.
Since 2004, as part of the academy’s expansion plan, a new four storey building was erected on a piece of vacant land and is named “Yin Xiu Lou” in memory of its founder Mdm Yeo. Night classes were also conducted to provide the residents living nearby with a place of worship and cultivation.