Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vesak 2552: Three temples and a rewarding experience

During Vesak Day, it may just be another public holiday for some, but for many, this day is a sacred day where Buddhists all over the world commemorate the Birth, Enlightenment (Nirvana) and the passing away (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha. During Vesak 2551 last year, I visited the "Harmony In Action" event as well as the grand float parade at "Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum".
During Vesak 2552 this year, Fio and I visited 3 different Buddhist temples.

"3-Steps-1-Bow" Ritual at "Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery"
88 Bright Hill RoadSingapore 574117
Early in the morning of Vesak Day, we visited "Kong Meng San" (Bright Hill Temple, a temple of "Mahayana Buddhism") for the "3-step-1-bow" ritual.
During this ritual, devotees cirumambulate the perimeter of the temple, bowing once every three steps, while chanting mantras. The significance of this practice helps to purify the Mind, humble the ego and lessen obstacles along the spiritual Path.
The whole procession took us 2 hours of queueing up, starting from 12 a.m. of Vesak Day.
We began the the "3-step-1-bow" ritual at 2 a.m. and completed the whole tour around the BrightHill compound at 4 a.m., that is 2 hours of ritual.
By the time we were done, we were already feeling the strain in our thigh muscles.
Nevertheless, it was a fulfilling experience

Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple
366 Race Course Road Singapore 218636
释迦牟尼菩提迦耶寺 (Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple) is a popular temple featured in "Uniquely Singapore". This temple is iconic of "Theravāda Buddhism". The interior of this temple is not very big , however, it has a very tall ceiling where a huge 15m tall statue of Sakyamuni Buddha styled with an aura of 'thousand lights". Read about the story of Gautama (aka Siddharta or Sakyamuni). During this day, devotees will gather here to make prayers and offerings to Sakyamuni Buddha, and in return, receive blessings from the monks of the temple.

Thekchen Choling (Singapore)
2 Beatty Lane Singapore 209945
The Thekchen Choling (TCCL) is the first Tibetan Buddhism temple of "Vajrayāna Buddhism", founded by Singapore-born Lama Thubten Namdrol Dorje in 2001. Learn more about Thekchen Choling.
During this Vesak day, a huge beautiful "Thangka" (embroidered Buddha painting) was raised high into the sky with the help of a tall crane. At the temple, many devotees gathered here to make offerings and prayers. Interestingly, the TCCL devotees/members brought their dogs here for a gathering as well, which added more fun to this sacred event. We bathed the young Prince Siddhārtha and Yellow Dzambala (Buddha of Wealth), and turned the Mani (Prayer) Wheel of Avalokiteśvara (Chenrezig, Guan Yin or 觀音) mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum". There is also a grand stupa decorated with fresh flower offerings. Before the stupa is a golden statue of Sakyamuni Buddha in a reclining position. The backdrop is a beautiful banner depicting the Parinirvana (The Great Passing into Nirvana) of Gautama Buddha. Gautama Buddha is also known as Sakyamuni Buddha or Siddhārtha Gautama.

Photography & Editing by William Tan
©William Tan 2008
Equipment: FujiFilm FinePix F50fd



ber said...

wah!! start at 12am... then wat time you all finish visitng all 3 temples? So devoted.

any idea why some countries celebrate vesak day one week earlier on 12th May?


no lah, we went home to rest after the "3-step-1-bow" ritual before we embark on the visit of the other two temples.

12th of May of the Gregorian calender, according to the Buddhist calender, is the birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha.
However, in the 1950s, the World Fellowship of Buddhist declared the first full moon of the lunar 4th month (which is 19th of May 2008 of Gregorian calender) to be the day to commemorate the Brith, Nirvana and Painirvana of Sakyamuni Buddha.

ber said...

icic... u r the buddhist guru!!!