Than Hsiang Temple organised a three-day Amitabha Buddha-name recitation retreat on 18 th to 21st August 2007 for the first time. This retreat was meant for those who have not attended the Seven Day Amitabha Recitation Retreat (Fo Qi) as yet and would like to have an idea of how it would be like to attend such a retreat. The three-day retreat was just long enough for “beginners”, but not too long to tire out those not used to a long retreat.
All together 131 participants registered for the Three Day Amitabha Recitation Retreat and most of them reported early on the first day. At 3.00pm , all the participants gathered at the Multi Purpose Hall of Than Hsiang Temple for a briefing by Zhen Xin Fashi. She gave detailed instructions on what to do and what not to do during the retreat. The most important of which was to maintain noble silence and be mindful at all times.
Later in the day Zhen Chan Fashi instructed on the proper way to:
• i. Put on the hai ching
• ii. Take off the hai ching
• iii. Fold the hai ching
• iv. Turn, from standing in rows facing the opposite row, to face the Buddha image
• v. And to turn back facing the opposite row
• vi. Bow
• vii. Go into the kneeling position
• Get up from the kneeling position
• ix. Prostrate, and
• x. Sit in the lotus or semi-lotus position.
Zhen Jue Fashi and Zhen Liang Fashi ably helped Zhen Chan Fashi in demonstrating all the movements and positions. Those new to wearing the hai ching found the demonstration richly rewarding and was soon moving around in their hai ching with renewed confidence.
Venerable Wei Wu in his Dharma talks to the participants of the Fo San first explained the Eight Precepts and what it meant to observe them. He then talked on the Pure Land and how with deep faith and sincere vows, one can have a propitious death and be received by compassionate Amitabha Buddha in his Pure Land where one can then continue in the path to Buddhahood.
The tireless efforts of Zhen Chan Fashi, Zhen Xin Fashi, Zhen Jue Fashi, Zhen Yuan Fashi, Zhen Liang Fashi and the other Sangha members of Than Hsiang Temple in running the Fo San were fully complemented by the sacrifice made by Sis Su Wah and her team of volunteers in ensuring the meals were well prepared and served to the participants. They were there as early as 5.00am to prepare the breakfast and did not leave until they had cleared up everything after the noon meal. Some of them were still around in the late evenings and nights to serve hot drinks.
The success of the Fo San definitely hinged on the Sangha members of Than Hsiang Temple and this group of volunteers, so the participants had great gratitude for all of them. They realised that without the Sanha members and volunteers, the Fo San would not be so successful.