Months before the 16th Than Hsiang Fund Anniversary Exhibition started on 11 November 2006, planning and preparations had been under way under the able leadership of Sis. Lim Cheng See. The theme chosen for the exhibition was “ Bodhicitta, Bodhisattva Practice ” indicating the ultimate aim of the exhibition was to promote the activities of Than Hsiang Fund and to encourage the Buddhist community to come forward and participate in these compassionate and selfless activities for the common good of all sentient beings.
The promotion of Than Hsiang Fund activities were largely portrayed in posters, thanks to the creative genius of Bro. Neoh Chee Jin. These posters lined the walls of the Main Shrine Hall in Level 6 of Than Hsiang Temple with staff and volunteers stationed at every section to explain in detail to the public what the activities of Than Hsiang Fund were about.
Finally, the preparations were done and the day of the Opening Ceremony dawned with a clear blue sky. (Well, not that clear as the tail end of the haze was still around.) On his arrival at 3.00pm, Y.B. Dr. Teng Hock Nam was led to the Main Shrine Hall, where he went round with Venerable Wei Wu, the Abbot of Than Hsiang Temple, to view the exhibition.
In his speech, Venerable Wei Wu said the Conviction of Than Hsiang Fund:
The Young to Learn
The Strong and Healthy to Serve
The Aged and Sick to be Cared for
The Departed to Find Spiritual Destination
was to specifically express the conviction of building a Pure Land here in this world. The thinking of Confucianism was to emphasize on life only and ignore death. Buddhism on the other hand has a more complete view towards life and death. We need to know life as well as death as our final destination is Buddhahood.
Venerable Wei Wu informed that the activities of Than Hsiang Fund were under four major areas of Cultivation, Education, Welfare, and Culture. Under Cultivation, there were various Dharma assemblies, such as the Eight Precepts Cultivation, Chinese New Year Lamp Lighting, Taking Refuge and Five Precepts Ceremony, Ching Ming Dharma Assembly, Buddha Day Celebration, Ullambana Festival, and the Seven Day Amitabha Recitation Retreat, which were all held at various times throughout the year.
Under Education, the Than Hsiang Fund has a Kindergarten, Sunday Dharma School and Kalyana Mitra Centres. For Welfare, there are the Mitra Welfare Centre, the Wan Ching Yuen Centre and the Metta Mobile Free Clinic. Under Culture, Than Hsiang has a website, namely http://www.thanhsiang.org , sends out fortnightly issues of Chinese and English E-zines by email, publishes quarterly issues of the Chinese and English E-zines, and produces audio and video CDs to promulgate the Dharma.
Than Hsiang Fund have branches in Southern Thailand, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan. In future, Than Hsiang Fund would promote activities geared towards the communities. Venerable Wei Wu thanked all the staff, volunteers and committees for their dedication and efforts in carrying out the various activities of Than Hsiang Fund.
Y.B. Dr. Teng Hock Nam, the State Local Government Traffic Management, Information and Community Relations Committee Chairman, urged the public to fully support the activities of Than Hsiang Fund as such religious and social activities benefited people of all ages. Y.B. Dr. Teng postulated that other societies could learn from what Than Hsiang Temple was accomplishing and encouraged the Buddhist community to become a force in helping to spread Buddhism by donating to Than Hsiang Fund.
The children of Than Hsiang Kindergarten performed a “Welcome Dance” followed by two songs performed by the Sunday Dharma School group. Then a resident of Wan Ching Yuen Centre, Mr. Yeoh Oon Chye, presented a musical number with his harmonica. The children of Than Hsiang Kindergarten came on again for the final number of entertainment. They did a lavish dance with their colourful and varied costumes called “Mutiara Pusaka”.
After the short but interesting entertainment, everyone proceeded to the Canteen and tucked into the vegetarian refreshments. Some of the crowd stayed back to view the exhibition posters and asked about the various activities of Than Hsiang Fund. All the visitors who came for the exhibition were each given a pen souvenir. They were also given other souvenirs from the various “booths” at the exhibition.
In the evening, the Wan Ching Yuen Centre held a Parents' Day programme filled with many songs sung by the residents of Wan Ching Yuen Centre, games that brought cheer to everyone and line dancing that livened up the occasion.
The next day, Sunday, 12 November 2006, was filled with a whole day programme, which started with the Graduation Ceremony of Than Hsiang Sunday Dharma School at 9.00am in the morning. The Graduation Ceremony incorporated the Taking Refuge and Precept Ceremony, which was conducted by Venerable Wei Wu. Later in the afternoon, the Than Hsiang Kindergarten held their Parents' Day, when the children's parents and the teachers got together to discuss about the progress of the children. There was also a children singing competition, where 35 children participated in singing children's songs and children's Dharma songs. The Than Hsiang Youth Group came on at 5.00pm with their “Environmental Protection” contest. The Group's objective was to instill love for the environment and this they did well in the activities of how to recycle “junk” as well as a drawing competition.
Part of the Anniversary activities included two Dharma talks. One was given by Venerable Pannyavaro on “Meditating for Insight” on Monday, 13 November 2006 and the other by Chai Ming Siar on “Spiritual Enrichment for a Blissful Life” on Friday, 17 November 2006. Venerable Pannyavaro also conducted a series of meditation sessions from Tuesday, 14 November 2006 to Thursday, 16 November 2006. The Dharma talk and meditation sessions given by Venerable Pannyavaro were organised by Than Hsiang ICT and Education Section, while the talk by Chai Ming Siar was organised by Than Hsiang Mitra and Welfare Centre.
An estimated total of about 1,200 people attended the “ Bodhicitta, Bodhisattva Practice ” exhibition, far exceeding the expectations of the organisers, thus proving that the exhibition was a step in the right direction to promulgate the various activities of Than Hsiang Fund.