Sunday, 5 February 2006 marked an important date in the calendar of Than Hsiang Temple. This was the day when two laymen took the big step of renunciation from worldly life to follow the spiritual path towards Buddhahood. The two men were Ooi Han Chun and Teoh Chew Hooi. Bro. Ooi graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia with a B.A. Hons. in Humanities and had been working in Than Hsiang since then. Bro. Teoh was born in Sungai Petani but went to a secondary school in Kuala Lumpur and graduated from a Canadian university. He is currently taking the B.A. in Buddhist Studies at the International Buddhist College in Thailand.
When asked the reason for their renunciations, Bro. Teoh said that it would enable him to be more serious in his Dharma practice in terms of how Buddhism could be applied daily and also to enable him to seek spiritual guidance from Venerable Wei Wu. Bro. Ooi said renunciation would give him space for self-cultivation and go deeper into the Buddha Dharma towards his aim of attaining liberation from samsara. He said he was young and thus would be energetic in striving towards Buddhahood.
In the Main Shrine Hall, at 10.00am, both Bro. Teoh and Bro. Ooi invited Venerable Kai Cheng, Venerable Tian Wen, Venerable Kai Ping, and Venerable Zhen Xin to lead in the ordination ceremony. Then Bro. Ooi prostrated before his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Ooi Liang Song, to express his gratitude to them. This was a touching and emotional moment for Bro. Ooi. He found it difficult to say anything to his parents, so overcome with emotion was he, especially when he touched his father's hands for the first time and found them to be so rough. Only then did he realised how much his father had toiled to bring him up. It was a few minutes before Bro. Ooi found his composure to continue with the ordination ceremony.
Bro. Teoh and Bro. Ooi then invited Venerable Wei Wu to the Main Shrine Hall and transmit to them the samanera's ten precepts. Venerable Wei Wu first explained the significance of renunciation to them and then led them in their confessions. After their repentance, Venerable Wei Wu performed the ceremony of shaving their heads to mark their ordination as novice monks of the Mahayana Tradition. They then put on the Man Yi (Precept Robe) and Venerable Wei Wu transmitted the Ten Precepts to them, after which they paid their respects to Venerable Wei Wu. From then on, they would be known as Venerable Zhen Zhi and Venerable Zhen Chan respectively.
The ordination ceremony ended with a puja service followed by the taking of group photographs. Every one then adjourned to the restaurant for lunch.