Combining the Celebrations, Multiplying the Blessings & Happiness
How should our monastery celebrate National Day and commemorate its anniversary? With a 3-day birthday bash, filled with family-friendly festivities, of course!
To kick-start National Day with a bang, hundreds of devotees gathered at Woodlands to join in the 1000 Buddhas Repentance at 9 am. At the beginning of the ritual, Venerable RuQuan explained the significance of chanting the names of Buddhas in the story of the past life of Shakyamuni Buddha, when he was a monk. Once, upon hearing the chanting of the names of fifty three Buddhas, immediately sensed an indescribable joy, which he shared with three thousand people, who followed his example and chanted the names of these fifty three Buddhas’ with deep respect and remembered each of the Buddha’s name by heart. These three thousand people were the 1,000 Buddhas in the past Worthy Eon, the 1,000 Buddhas in the present Worthy Eon, and the 1,000 Buddhas in the future Worthy Eon. With this, the Venerable encouraged the devotees to undergo the ritual with one-pointedness, so that they can also reap the full benefits and plant the seeds of Enlightenment. Following that, to commemorate our nation’s birthday and express our appreciation for such a peaceful and prosperous country, the Sangha led the devotees in a cake-cutting ceremony and prayed for better days to come. Then, with joyous perseverance, they participated in the full-day ritual that only ended at 4+ in the evening.
Another heart-warming ritual that took place the next morning was the Children’s Refuge-taking Ritual. The Main Shrine Hall was filled with more than 80 bright-eyed and giggly children and their parents by 9.45 a.m. They patiently sat through the ritual, listened attentively to every word the venerables shared and recited their refuge-taking pledge with great pride. It was indeed a great vote of confidence that there is immense hope for our monastery and religion with these doe-eyed devotees as our future.
Yet another highlight of this celebration was the much-anticipated Double Happiness banquet. Held across 2 days (10-11 August), the committee hosted both lunch and dinner on both days for devotees and their families to share their love for both their country and one another. Each meal began with Venerable Bensi’s blessing and sharing of Abbot’s directive of creating the opportunity to celebrate Singapore’s success and peace, thereby creating an ideal environment to learn the Dharma, as well as to thank our family members for supporting us in our learning. The 26 tables for each meal were snapped up in a matter of days once registration began and the Hall of Jewels was filled with jubilant devotees who fostered bonds with one another over delectable vegetarian food, laughter-generating table-games and even a karaoke session! Everyone exhibited their pearly whites from the beginning to the end of the meal.
Just as engaging were the fringe activities that were held across all three days of the celebration. These included the wishing well, the well-wishes message strips and cards, as well as the making of DIY floating candle holders at the entrance of the monastery and playing of retro games and the inking of Singapore National Day tattoos on the third floor. To beat the sweltering heat, many also licked appreciatively the 1500 cups of free ice-cream distributed on the first two days.
Everyone who attended any one activity during these three days definitely felt the hard work and heart work the committee has put in to ensure that we receive the zenith of blessings and joy from it. So, on this blissful and joyful occasion, let us be thankful and rejoice to our harmonious and prosperous country, our loving family members and virtuous friends!