In the celebration of a prosperous Chinese New Year, Than Hsiang Jing Yuan in Sungai Petani organized 3 Chinese New Year activities, namely Chinese New Year Lamp-lighting, Chinese New Year Eve Chanting and Chinese New Year Day Noon Offering on the 22nd and 23rd of January 2012.
As usual, Chinese New Year Lamp-lighting commenced from Chinese New Year Eve until the 9th Day of Chinese New Year. A purification ceremony was held at 10 p.m. on Chinese New Year Eve. Then Venerable Zhen Xin delivered a discourse based on New Year greetings via email from the Abbot, Venerable Wei Wu . In the electronic greetings, Venerable Wei Wu wished the public “An Auspicious Lunar New Year through Planting Causes of Happiness”. To reap a happy result, one needs to create the “cause” of happiness rather than merely wishing for blessings.
“Cause and Effect” is the core teaching of Buddhism. Cause and effect are an action-reaction combination. The cause is the reason behind something that has happened, and the effect is that which has happened as a result. The Universal Law of Cause & Effect states that for every effect there is a definite cause, likewise for every cause there is a definite effect. Thus, it is in fact we who make “A Joyful New Year”. A mature person holds the key to his own happiness. He does not expect people to give him happiness but instead brings happiness to people around him.
During the discourse, Venerable Zhen Xin introduced a joyful thinking model, “Thinking of Others’ Merits and Be Grateful to the Good They Have Done to Us”. In daily life, we should think of the benefits we reap in our surroundings while pondering over the respective benefits brought to others as well. In a word, in practising this model, we should focus on people's merits rather than their shortcomings. There are 9 ways in which we can practise the joyful model.
Venerable Zhen Xin advised the public to practise the model as a daily good deed where we should review and record our daily deeds before sleeping. In addition, we should try to forgive others and keep continuous learning as a self growing path. The discourse which ended around midnight was followed by a morning chanting led by Sister Fong Seong. At the end of the morning service, devotees lined up at the main shrine hall to wish Sangha members a happy Chinese New Year.
On the first day of Chinese New Year, a Noon Offering chanting ceremony was held at the main shrine hall. After that, devotees and senior citizens from Wan Ching Yuan had meal together with the Sangha members. We are especially grateful to Venerable Zhen Xin and Sister Shuang Xing who had taken the trouble to prepare the gravy ingredients on Chinese New Year Eve so that we could enjoy the delicious vegetarian Loh Mee (gravied noodle) on Chinese New Year Day.