“Maha Sanghikadana” means an act of offering food to the Maha Sangha or a group consisting of four and above Higher ordained monks; who had renounced the world to strive for peace and enlightenment through Buddhist teaching. And Maha Sanghikadana will usually include past, present and future Buddhas and Arahants. It is an important event well-known among Buddhists of both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions.
This year, the working committee of Malaysian Buddhist Sangha Association (M.B.S.A.); organized the Maha Sanghikadana on the twentieth September, and for the first time it was held at Sekolah Menengah (J.K.) Phor Tay, Sungai Dua, Penang. Monks and nuns from not only Malaysia but from other eleven countries namely; Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Korea, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam; were invited to attend this Maha Sanghikadana.
M.B.S.A. supports the education of the Sangha Members and proceeds from the Maha Sanghikadana are channeled to the education fund of M. B. S. A. For the past years, funds collected were used for sponsoring Sangha Members studying at the Malaysian Buddhist Institute and the International Buddhist College.
A section had also been set up for devotees to perform the Pindapatta, that is the symbolical offering of rice to the Triple Gem in Alms Bowls and as early as 7.00am devotees young and old were already queuing to perform the Pindapatta.
The M.B.S.A. Members held its General Meeting at 9.00am on level 2 of the school, before proceeding to the hall on level 6 for the dana at 10.00am. Sangha members; Distinguished Guests and devotees started to arrive from 9.30am and by 10.00am the place set up for devotees were filled up. Among the distinguished guests was YB Wong Hon Wai, representative of Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang and the Thai Consulate General of Penang.
The ceremony started with a speech by YB Mr. Wong Hon Wai.
After that, the Distinguished Guests, YB Mr. Wong Hon Wai; the Thai Consulate General; Chairman of the Mahasanghikadana Working Committee Bro. Lim Yee Hin and Honorary Sponsors were invited on stage to perform the Offering of Lights ceremony.
This was followed by the observance of Panca Sila(Five Precepts) led by Venerable Phra Khru Cham Riang and Paritta Chanting by Sangha Members of Theravada Tradition led by Venerable Phra Khru Kittivaraporn (Dr. Tawee).
Venerable Cheng Liang, Venerable Boon Kean and Venerable Wei Wu led in the chanting of Ullambana Sutra and Grand Offering to the Buddha in the Mahayana Tradition.
With the ending of the Ullambana Sutra and Verses of Offering; the volunteer attendants who had been standing by began serving food and drinks. It was a good practice that all of the volunteer attendants who were serving food were wearing surgical face masks.
The offering of food to the Sangha began at 11.30am and after they had finished their meals, requisites were offered to each and every Sangha member.
After the dana, Venerable Boon Kean of Ang Hock See Temple gave a short dharma talk. Venerable encouraged devotees to participate in giving dana as merits will be gained and even animals too will receive the merits transferred to them. He further said that as Sangha members from various temples and groups had come to partake in this Maha Sanghikadana event; the merits gained by the devotees is boundless and limitless.
As for Venerable Dr. Tawee, he invoked the power of the Triple Gems to bless and protect the public. Good deeds followed by abundant blessings, indeed.
Transference of Merits was performed by the Mahayana Sangha members then followed by Theravada Sangha members with Venerable Cham Riang taking the lead.
With that, the Maha Sanghikadana which was successfully organized was brought to a close by 12.30pm.
May all well-wishers and supporters of the Maha Sanghikadana rejoice and share in these merits accrued from this Dharma-dana and may these merits be a good condition for the attainment of Nibbana.
Saddhu! Saddhu! Saddhu!