Than Hsiang Sunday School Graduation, Birthday, Three refuges & Five precepts Induction, Wisdom & Ten Skilful Deeds Ceremonies

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Hong Yew Chye

The 9th of November 2008 was a day full of Dharma bliss because besides being the graduation day for the Sunday school students, it was also the birthday celebration for the old folks and the three refuges/five precepts/wisdom and ten skilful deeds induction ceremonies for the students, their parents, volunteers, and foster “ai xin” parents.

Though the proceeding was scheduled at 9.30am, students began gathering at the 5th floor multipurpose hall early in the morning. The day’s programme started with the hymn of praise followed by the great compassion mantra, the cleansing ceremony and dharma sharing by Ven. Zen Ru.

Ven. was very pleased to see the students, parents and devotees coming to seek refuges in the triple gem, to pledge to uphold the five precepts and the ten good deeds. “It is the planting of a good seed for Buddhahood”, he said. “Many sentient beings are suffering in samsara due to their ignorance, greed, anger and delusion. The triple gem is like a rescuing boat that ferries one across the sea of samsara”, he added.

Ven. also explained the meanings and significance of three refuges and the five precepts. The students also managed to learn and recite the ten rules pertaining to the ten good deeds. Ven. took the opportunity to counsel the students to practise filial piety, respect for teachers and be diligent in their study in the presence of their parents and teachers.

Next was the graduation ceremony, when Ven. Zhen Xin was invited to present the prizes to the students. Ven. Zhen Xin advised the graduates to put into practice the teachings of the Buddha: “Avoid evil, do good”. “One must cultivate good thoughts and eliminate evil thoughts. Whatever we do must be for the good of the many and practise the teachings of the Buddha in daily life”, she added.

Birthday is the day when all students were keenly looking forward. After singing the the song “thanks giving with tears in the eyes” the students learn to appreciate the sufferings and risks a mother has to undergo during childbirth. This makes it the more reason for a child to be thankful and grateful during his or her birthday.

Birthday celebration would not be much of a celebration without the birthday cake, candles and the birthday song. The little Bodhisattva (graduates), with lighted candles adorning the birthday cake, sang the Buddhist birthday song heartily to the accompaniment of sound of wooden fish (musical instrument). A group photo was taken after blessings by the venerables and distribution of gifts.

As a mark of appreciation and respect for their teachers & parents, students took turn to come on stage to sing, perform hand signs drama and what they had learnt for the past one year at the Sunday school.

The young MCs had done a very good job with their clear voice and crowd control.

A simple but delicious lunch was served to all present at the end of the celebration, amidst well wishes for the commencement of another new school term in 2009.