A Sima House, translated as Chapter House or Ordination Hall, is an important place for Acts of the Sangha. A Theravada Buddhist temple is only complete with such a facility to cater to monastic functions. The Upasampada “Higher Ordination for Bhikkhus” ceremony is valid when it is performed inside the Sima House.
Another ceremony regularly held in the Sima is the annual Kathina Celebration at the end of the Vassana season when Kathina robes were offered to the Sangha.
First Sima House at MV
In 1960, the completed Mangala Vihara did not have a Sima House, and important functions of the Sangha were carried out in other temples, notably at the Wat Ananda Metyarama Temple. The first Sima House at Mangala Vihara was built in 1966 when the foundation stone was laid in a Consecration Ceremony headed by Ven. K Sri Dhammananda Maha Nayaka Thero, Chief Monk of the Federation of Malaysia on 31 March 1966. The building was erected behind the temple and was opened on 6 November 1966, coinciding with the temple’s Kathina Day celebration.
Being the sanctuary where monks chant, discuss the Patrimokkha (Bhikkhus’ Code of Discipline), share views and meditate, lay people are not permitted to enter or approach the area. A marked boundary demarcated by stones erected around it identifies the approachable limits.
Although there is no fixed rule as to where the Sima House should be located, it has to be away from the main shrine hall where most activities are conducted, and within the vicinity of the temple grounds.
Demolition of the First Sima House
In 1982, the three-storey Building Plan was approved and on 15 May 1982, the Sima House was prepared for demolition in a Stone-Removing ceremony.
The second Sima House at MV
On 23 September 1983, upon completion of the Extension Building, the Sima House was located on the third floor of the new building. An Inauguration service as conducted by 22 monks headed by Ven. Chao Kun Pannadhamvides, This Sima House is the existing one.
by Chaturi Chong Mak Choo