The Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the
Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometers (85 miles). This island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the south. The country is highly urbanized with very little primary rainforest remaining, although more land is being created for development through land reclamation. The earliest known settlement on Singapore was in the second century AD. The economy heavily depends on the industry and service sectors. Singapore is a world leader in several areas, it is the world's fourth leading financial centre, the world's second biggest casino gambling market, the world's top three oil refining centre.
Buddhism is the most widely religion in Singapore, with 33% of the resident population. The next largest religions, in order of size, are Christianity, Islam, Taoism and Hinduism. There are monasteries and Dharma centres from all three major traditions of Buddhism in Singapore: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Most Buddhists in Singapore are Chinese and are of the Mahayana tradition. Chinese Mahayana is the most predominant form of Buddhism in Singapore, with missionaries from Taiwan and China for several decades. However, Thailand's Theravada Buddhism has seen growing popularity amongst the people (not only the Chinese) in the past decade. Soka Gakkai International, a Japanese Buddhist organization, is practiced by many people in Singapore, but by mostly those of Chinese descent. Tibetan Buddhism has also made slow inroads into the country in recent years.