With the countdown to the May 13, 2012 Buddha Bathing Ceremony fast approaching, preparation work has intensified. All work groups have been closely working together to ensure the final grand event would be a great success.
"Good news! As of April 25, the figure for participation in the totem formations for Buddha Bathing Ceremony stands at 4,642. The target is 7,360. We are only short of 2,718 people! If each "Xie-Li" Group can get another 29 members of the public to participate, we are there..."
For the past month, staff of KL Tzu Chi Office have been sending emails every 2 or 3 days to all concerned about the increase in the number of participants.
Co-organized by KL & Selangor and Klang Chapters, the Grand Buddha Bathing Ceremony held in conjunction with Buddha's Day, Mother's Day and Tzu Chi's Day on May 13, 2012, is scheduled to be held at Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium (Stadium Bola Sepak Kuala Lumpur), Cheras.
This year, there will be totem formations of 4 "bodhi" leaves, 2 lotus flowers and "TC46".
Eight thousand participants to form the totems
Six hundred volunteers have formed the organizing team.
"We hope to present a dignified and majestic Buddha Bathing Ceremony with the 2,000 Tzu Chi volunteers and 6,000 members of the public. The grand rehearsal will take place on May 12. Interested members of the public are still welcome to take part on stage at the last minute," said Lin Chia Hua, Head of the Planning Unit, in great confidence.
"We request everyone, who comes on that day, to bring along a plastic bag, as the Ceremony is due to take place in the early morning, which means the ground may be a little dewy. The plastic bag could serve as a sitting mat while they wait. We expect that all will bring home a full bag of Dharma-joy with their own bags," Chia Hua explained.
"Since the first outdoor Buddha Bathing Ceremony held in 2008, we have observed an all round expansion in this event, be it in the totem formation, the number of people who come to pray, and the number of Liuli Crystal Buddha Statue. This year, a total of 312 statues will be lent out by volunteers to be set up at the altar for prayers."
Jee Say Loo, person in charge of transport and logistics, made an earnest call to the estimated 1,600 vehicle owners expected at this year's ceremony, to carpool (5-in-a-car). This is because the stadium's car park can only cater for a maximum of 150 buses and 1000 cars.
Tan Seng Chong, the Chief Activity Coordinator since 2009, said: "We are used to organizing such events, whatever the scale and venue, the significance remains the same. The challenging part is in getting the number of participants to come forward." He is working closely with his 3 assistants to ensure no details are left out. Each working committee is required to be working closely with another in great details. The main aim is to ensure that the Grand Ceremony is ritually majestic to inspire a sense of Dharma joy for all who attend.
Observation of 108 vegetarian meals as requirement
The 2011 Buddha Bathing Ceremony was a great success. To carry on the tradition of touching more hearts this year, volunteers from Klang and Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chapters started preparing for this Ceremony as early as March 2012.
This year, besides hoping to invite 10,000 people to the ceremony, the organizing committee will also be promoting vegetarianism and the Spirit of Bamboo Bank (to save some money everyday for charity) to the participants. The volunteers prepared 10,000 pieces of Bamboo Bank with a "108 vegetarian meals" record card on it for distribution to all participants.
Chief Coordinator, Tan Seng Chong further explained that "The Bamboo Bank serves a triple function, that is, as an invitation to the Ceremony; as a reminder to observe vegetarian diet before taking part in the Buddha Bathing Ceremony; and to promote the 'Eat 80% full and save 20% for the needy' Campaign."
A determined participant
Each mark on the vegetarian meal record card on the Bamboo Bank is a mark of respect towards all beings in the universe. Zheng An Ping from Klang, felt real joy looking at the marks. Her decision to go on 108 vegetarian meals was made because she decided to attend the function.
"I told myself upon adopting a Bamboo Bank that I would sincerely keep my promise to be on a vegetarian diet for a start," she reafirmed her thought.
At the office, she openly declared that she would only eat vegetarian food in preparation for the Buddha Bathing Ceremony. But it is not always convenient to have vegetarian food as desired. Under such circumstances, she would adjust by eating only the vegetables served at lunch. If ever she should accidentally eat any meat, she would re-start the count of vegetarian meals.
Her decision to go vegetarian has brought an unexpected effect, as her mother has also decided to have 2 vegetarian meals a day. "This is a great encouragement for me," said An Ping. The mind is the fore runner, and ultimately the desire for meat is subdued. As such, the mind will, in turn, be purified. She hopes to continue for many more 108 vegetarian meals in days to come.
At this year's Buddha Bathing Ceremony, may all of us do good deeds, purify our minds and go vegetarian, so that with our collective positive thoughts, there will be a pure and peaceful tomorrow awaiting us all.
At a working committee meeting, the committee members listen intensely as the Planning Unit–in-Charge, Lin Chia Hua explains the flow of the ceremony.【Photograph by Sam Pin Fook】
A group of volunteers rehearsing for the Ceremony at Sri Damansara Community Centre.【Photograph by Tan Ken Teik】
Members of the public enthusiastically take part in the rehearsals at Pudu Community Centre.【Photograph by Yong Mun Fei】
Volunteers hanging up banners at roadsides, overhead bridges and so on to attract the attention of passersby to the event.【Photograph by Ho Wen Yee】
Volunteers bringing along posters to invite diners to the Buddha Bathing Ceremony.【Photograph by Ng Bee Kheng】
Zheng An Ping is determined to control her desire for meat and complete 108 vegetarian meals because she wants to attend the Buddha Bathing Ceremony with a clean body and mind.【Photograph by Lim Su San】
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