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Saturday, 12 May 2018 00:00

Lighting the Inner Lamp

Written by  Gan Chian Nee, KL & Selangor / Translated by Goh Hwe Yong

At the Buddha Bathing Ceremony, candle lights held in hands highlighted the themes of the formations. [Photograph by Ngeu Keng Boon]

An evening shower washed away the intense heat that persisted in the day. It brought a sense of rejuvenating freshness. Volunteers gathered at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall at 7 pm on May 12, 2018, to celebrate the 3-in-1 occasion of Buddha Day, Mother’s Day and Global Tzu Chi Day.


Each year, Tzu Chi Foundation globally cerebrates the 3-in-1 occasion of Buddha Day, Mother’s Day and Global Tzu Chi Day on the second Sunday of May, as a mark of gratitude towards the Buddha, our parents, and all sentient beings. This year, on Saturday, May 12, a pre-eve celebration was held specially for all Tzu Chi volunteers at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, prior to them conducting the same in their respective community centres the following day for the convenience of the public in each community.

The evening breeze gently bathed 144 lucite Buddha statues arranged elegantly on the Buddha bathing platforms. Vases of pastel colour flowers and green leaves in sparkling water surrounded the platforms. The statue of the Great Enlightened One of the Universe stood tall at a revolving centre stage. It was a graciously beautiful evening of bliss, and joy was in the air.

Vesak Day is a big day for Malaysian Buddhists, and is celebrated with much joy. It is a day when Buddhist followers reflect on the teachings of the Buddha. For the celebration this year, 50 Sangha members from the Theravada, Mahayana and the Tibetan traditions were present to grace the ceremony.

Accompanied by Buddhist hymns, the participating volunteers bowed to the Sangha members to invite them to lead the 2,880 volunteers in formations of “One Heart for Malaysia”, “TC52” and “KL25” to pray sincerely. The formations of “TC52” and “KL25” represented respectively the 52nd and 25th anniversary of the founding of Tzu Chi Foundation, and that of Tzu Chi in Malaysia. Master Cheng Yen of Taiwan became a disciple of Venerable Master Yin Shun, and has since been upholding the Venerable Master’s teaching of “working for Buddhism, and for all sentient beings”, and has been leading Tzu Chi volunteers in carrying out charitable missions aimed at benefitting all sentient beings in suffering, materially and spiritually.

Most sincere prayer to reach the heavenly beings

In utmost reverence, each participant lightly touched the water with their fingers, picked a petal from the bowl, held it between his/her raised palms, and bowed to the Buddha statue. This bathing of the Buddha’s feet is symbolic of the cleansing of worldly worries and defilements of the self, so as to be as pure as the Buddha.

As the prayer song was sung, all participants mindfully held a lotus light each in between their palms and prayed that their compassionate wish would resonate far into the great Universe to bring peace to Earth.

Chief Venerable Saranakara Nayaka Maha Thera attended the event with four of his attendants. He expressed his pride about Tzu Chi volunteers’ prominent role in disaster relief work. He said that Tzu Chi volunteers have done so much to relieve human sufferings in the name of Buddhism, and they made the Buddhist community proud as they have truly adhered to the core value of Buddhist teaching. He was happy that Tzu Chi volunteers not only touched others by their exemplary actions, but also influenced many to join them to do good deeds.

Volunteer Law Ryoko Yen carried her 4-year-old child on her back throughout the ceremony. Her child has been attending Buddhist classes because she wanted him to learn the wise teachings of Buddhism. As she went through the ceremony, she reminded herself to be mindful at all times. This was the first time she participated in Tzu Chi’s Buddha Bathing Ceremony, and she really felt the joy of gaining spiritual purity. She repented and asked for guidance in ridding her ignorance. She also prayed for the end of suffering for all sentient beings.

Never be far from the Dharma

Volunteer Liu Soon Keong, who has been attending such ceremony annually in the past 20 years, was very happy to attend to a Dharma Master. He felt especially touched to go through the ceremony with the Dharma Masters, their attendants and the rest of the volunteers. He recalled that 20 years ago, such celebration was solemn although space was limited. However, also due to space constraints, it did not happen regularly. Then, when the KL Office came into being, it became the venue.

He related, “The number of participants has been growing over the years, from over a hundred to a few hundreds to over ten thousand; and from indoor venue to outdoor open space.” To him, Buddha Bathing Ceremony held at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall has been especially moving, for he felt he was together with Master Cheng Yen and Tzu Chi volunteers from all over the world in paying homage to the Buddha.

With disasters occurring so frequently in recent years, Soon Keong felt that people need spiritual guidance to find peace within. He was of the view that Dharma teachings could play an important role in this. People need compassionate love to mend their broken hearts. The increase in the number of participants in the Buddha Bathing Ceremony was a welcome sign of increasing resonance of love. He wished that love in everyone would be awakened so that the world would be peaceful.

With great respect and an untainted heart, everyone paid homage to all Buddhas and the Great Enlightened One. When the waves of kindness ripple in the universe, negative energy and disasters will be mitigated. On this gracious occasion, let us all reflect gratefully towards the Triple Jewels, our parents and all sentient beings, and pray for harmony, purity and peace.

 

Volunteers made offering of lights, flowers and fragrant water with a pure heart. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]   Fifty Sangha members of the Theravada, Mahayana and the Tibetan traditions graced the ceremony with their presence. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]

Volunteers made offering of lights, flowers and fragrant water with a pure heart. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
 
Fifty Sangha members of the Theravada, Mahayana and the Tibetan traditions graced the ceremony with their presence. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]
 
Everyone bowed in respect, paid homage to the Buddha, and through the ceremony, purified their minds. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]   Pureness and elegance surrounded the centre stage on which stood the statue of the Great Enlightened One of the Universe. [Photograph by Boon Wui Kong]

Everyone bowed in respect, paid homage to the Buddha, and through the ceremony, purified their minds. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]
 
 
Pureness and elegance surrounded the centre stage on which stood the statue of the Great Enlightened One of the Universe. [Photograph by Boon Wui Kong]
 
With utmost sincerity, everyone prayed that their compassionate wish for a peaceful world would reach the heavenly beings. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]   Chief Venerable Saranakara Nayaka Maha Thera took pride in the exemplary actions of Tzu Chi volunteers in charitable deeds and their influence on so many others to join their queue. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]

With utmost sincerity, everyone prayed that their compassionate wish for a peaceful world would reach the heavenly beings. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]
 
 
Chief Venerable Saranakara Nayaka Maha Thera took pride in the exemplary actions of Tzu Chi volunteers in charitable deeds and their influence on so many others to join their queue. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]
 
Volunteer Law Ryoko Yen reminded herself to be mindful at all times so as to attain spiritual purity. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]   Volunteer Liu Soon Keong promised himself to follow the footsteps of Master Cheng Yen and to never lag behind. [Photograph by Boon Wui Kong]

Volunteer Law Ryoko Yen reminded herself to be mindful at all times so as to attain spiritual purity. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]
 
Volunteer Liu Soon Keong promised himself to follow the footsteps of Master Cheng Yen and to never lag behind. [Photograph by Boon Wui Kong]