Than Hsiang Temple’s Buddhist Chinese New Year Celebration

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By Hong Yew Chye

This year‘s Buddhist Chinese New Year Celebration was held on 24th of February, corresponding to the 7 th day of the 1 st Lunar month, at the 5 th floor Multi Purpose Hall.

The Than Hsiang staff and volunteers had begun the preparation work at ten in the morning. Performers were also seen making final touches to their act on stage. At 2.00pm, the lion dance troupe begun their performance with the lions distributing Mandarin oranges to the crowd waiting for the arrival of YB Datuk Teng Hock Nam.

YB Datuk Teng Hock Nam was greeted by the lion dance on his arrival and, accompanied by Venerable Wei Wu and other VIPs, proceeded to the Multi Purpose Hall for the celebration. In the hall, the lion dance troupe presented another round of performance before the Abbot, Venerable Wei Wu, went on stage to give his speech. The keynote of Venerable Wei Wu's Buddhist Chinese New Year's address was for all Buddhists to support Buddhist education at all levels.

Venerable Wei Wu thanked YB Datuk Teng Hock Nam for graciously consenting to grace the event. While wishing all a happy and fruitful New Year, Shifu reminded everyone to plant the seeds (causes) of happiness and progress (effects) in order to achieve happiness and progress in the New Year. He mentioned his recent trip to Bodhgaya for a Buddhist Conference hosted by the Indian Government to celebrate the Buddhist era 2550 and shared the inspirations and blessings from Bodhgaya.

At the Opening of the Conference in Bodhgaya, H. H. Dalai Lama stressed the importance of education in Buddhism so that we could re-express the wisdom of Buddha in the 21 st century. Shifu made an appeal to all Buddhists to support education at all levels; from the Buddhist kindergarten, primary school, high school, college right up to the university. Venerable Wei Wu said that education was often ignored because we could see the immediate results of welfare work but not education. In fact, the support for education is even more important than welfare work as it is only through the attainment of wisdom via education that one can be liberated. He further stressed the urgency for the resurgence of Buddhist education by citing the example of Thailand, being a Buddhist country, has seven Christian Universities but only two Buddhist Universities. Lastly, Shifu expressed the wish that all may continue to plant the merits and wisdom on their path to Buddhahood.

Tha Abbot's address was followed by a chanting and blessing ceremony (Sa Jing). YB Datuk Dr. Teng was then invited to present his speech. Datuk Teng also spoke about the importance of education in the cultivation of wisdom and praised Venerable Wei Wu for his tireless contribution in advancing Buddhist education.

Next was the evening's entertainment programmes which included solo performances, musical instrument recitals, drama sketches, and group dances. Presenters of this year's programmes were the Than Hsiang Kindergarten, Kulim Buddhist Association, Ex-student Association of Por Tay High School, the Seberang Jaya Buddhist Association, the Than Hsiang Choir group and singers from the Chakora group. This year's celebration involved 23 co-organizers and was attended by about 1000 devotees.
The celebration ended at about 5.00pm with the presenting of “ang pows” to the Sangha members of Than Hsiang Temple. May all be blessed by the Triple Gem.