In the morning of 20 March 2006, Venerable Heng Sure, a bhikshu and core faculty member of the Institute for World Religions (IWR), paid Than Hsiang Temple a visit. He was accompanied by Upasaka Chung Gwo Ji from IWR, and Bro. Guan Kim Heng, who brought them to Than Hsiang Temple, is a member of the Penang Branch of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association.
Venerable Heng Sure had met Venerable Tian Wen, Venerable Zhen Chan and Venerable Zhen Man during the International Conference on Buddhism in Asia held in India on 10 to12 February 2006 and had learnt about Than Hsiang Temple, thereby instilling a wish to visit Than Hsiang Temple following his Dharma lecture tour in Asia.
Venerable Wei Wu, the abbot of Than Hsiang Temple was happy to take Venerable Heng Sure round the Temple. He started the tour by showing Venerable Heng Sure the Main Shrine Hall in the 6 th Level of Than Hsiang Temple. Venerable Heng Sure was impressed by the quiet expanse of the Main Shrine Hall. In the Wan Ching Yuen Centre, Sis. Kang Sok Meng informed Venerable Heng Sure of the Penang Bukit Mertajam Berapit Retirement Home project of a 17-acre retirement home village for senior citizens. Venerable Heng Sure then visited Venerable Kong Nien, who was bed-ridden after suffering a stroke and had a bad fall as a result. She was brought to Wan Ching Yuen three months ago (after her stroke) and had been nursed back to health, although she was still bed-ridden.
Mdm. Lim Guay Choo, a senior resident of Wan Ching Yuen greeted Venerable Heng Sure, while on his round of Wan Ching Yuen Centre, and praised Sis. Kang for taking good care of them (senior residents). She sang a Hokkien song about Wan Ching Yuen and later sang ‘You are my sunshine' together with Venerable Heng Sure, who was captivated by her sincere joy in staying at Wan Ching Yuen. Venerable Heng Sure said that it was obvious from the smiling and happy faces that the senior residents were cared for with love and compassion.
When touring the canteen, Venerable Heng Sure remarked that the canteen concept of providing vegetarian food for free or for any amount of donation was worth espousing back where he came from in U.S.A. Venerable Heng Sure ended his tour of Than Hsiang Temple at the Hall of Great Compassion (Da Bei Dian).
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Venerable Heng Sure (Bhikshu) holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley and has a Masters from the University of California at Berkeley in Oriental Languages. He currently lectures on the Buddhist Sutras as a core faculty member of the Institute for World Religions and holds regular meditation classes.
The Institute for World Religions in Berkeley is affiliated with and supported by the Dharma Realm Buddhist University, a non-profit organization. It shares the religious purposes of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association and furthers its educational goals.