The Buddha day celebration which encompasses the birth, enlightenment and passing (parinirvana) of the Buddha was held on the 9th of May coinciding with the full moon day of the fourth lunar month.
The crowd began converging at the temple on the morning for the bathing of the Buddha ceremony on the 6th floor. Various counters were set up at the ground floor that included sales counters for flowers, candles and fruits; IBC counter for enquiry and recruitment of students; registration counters for evening procession and taking of refuges. The kindergarten held its open day and children drawing competition on the first floor. The 2nd and 3rd floor which house the Senior citizen home(WCY) also had its open house from 9am to 5pm. Library on the fourth floor was also opened to the public . The multipurpose hall at the 5th floor unveiled a few activities: photo exhibition by Than Hsiang photo club; exhibition on recycle and conservation by the Than Hsiang youth group; exhibition by Mitra Welfare on their services and video presentation on life of the Buddha. Visitors also took part in Buddha bathing ceremony from 10am to 2pm.
The day’s celebration began at 9am in the 6th floor main shrine hall with the sutra chanting and Buddha bathing ceremony led by Ven Zhen Ru. The ceremonial offering to the Buddha followed and the morning activity in the main shrine hall ended after the dharma lecture by Ven. Zhen Ru.
Participants were invited for vegetarian lunch at the 5th floor multipurpose hall and ground floor. For those registered for taking the three refuges and five precepts, the ceremony was held at 1.00pm in the main shrine hall. Twenty-one devotees registered themselves for the refuge taking ceremony. Ven. Zhen Ru explained the significance of the refuges before commencing the ceremony. According to the venerable, life is a continuous process and our karma would determine our next birth in any of the six realms. The realm of the gods or deity constitutes one of the six realms and as such also subject to sufferings of birth and death. We should not seek salvation from them but should seek refuge from the triple Gem.
In Buddhism there are three levels of liberation depending on the capacity of an individual. The lowest level would seek a good rebirth through merits making. The next level for those who strive to end samsara by treading the threefold stages of morality, mental disciplines and insight. The highest level is for those who aspire for Buddhahood by cultivation of Bodhicitta. The venerable further added that all should strive to avoid evil, do good deeds, purify the mind, and this sum up the teaching of the Buddha.
Prize –giving ceremony for the winners of children drawing competition was scheduled at 12.30pm in the multipurpose hall.
At about 4.30pm, one hundred seventy participants for the evening procession boarded the four buses hired by Than Hsiang temple for the highlight of the night.
The procession ended at around 10pm and a transference of merit was conducted during the homebound journey that all beings be blessed with the triple Gem.