BW Monastery first ever Children's Refuge-Taking ceremony
On 10/8/19, over 80 children across all ages (from 23 months to 13 years old), participated in the BW Monastery first ever Children's Refuge-Taking ceremony. The initiation conducted in English symbolised the official rite of a person becoming a disciple of Buddha.
As the main audience was the children, Venerable Bensi thoughtfully explained the meaning of refuge-taking to the children. Using animated videos, he showed the wisdom and compassion of Buddha and explained that, if ever we encounter difficulties or fear in life, we can go to the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) for refuge and guidance.
Venerable Jonathan further reinforced with the story of Buddha and how he perfected his wisdom and compassion through his practice of generosity and patience, having meditated on it for many lives. In taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma (Buddha’s teaching) and Sangha (the community upholding the Buddha's teaching), all of us can follow Buddha's path to attain enlightenment.
After setting the motivation, the children excitedly made offerings to the Triple Gem before Venerable Bensi conducted the refuge taking ceremony.
Besides an official certificate, each child was also given an ice cream, a balloon and a box of cutlery after the ceremony.
"I felt very excited in the morning. When we sang the 'Om Ah Hum' song, I sang it loudly. I feel really proud that from today onwards, I am officially the child of the Buddha!" said Wong Guan Kai, a 10 year old boy who participated in the refuge-taking ceremony for the first time.
When posed with the question of why did parents bring their children for this refuge taking ceremony, a mother of a 11 year old son replied, "Because we want to give the best to our children! By bringing my son to take the refuge, he is able to gain great merits and eventually, I hope he can follow the path of Buddha to achieve the state of perfection."
The event ended on a high note with everyone coming together for a group photo, rallying to a loud cheer of "I am the child of the Buddha, Hooray!"
Indeed, looking at the joyous faces of the boys and girls, being blessed with the environment and guidance to be in touch with Buddhism at this age, the future definitely looks bright for the next generation.