New Norm Filial Piety Dharma Assembly 2020

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Report and Photos: Sunny Lawrence Seow

The Covid-19 Corona Virus pandemic is not over yet; public places including places of worship where crowd gathering is involved are still subject to strict regulations of the Movement Control Order imposed by the authority to curb the spread of the pandemic. All group activities must comply with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) stipulated by the government. It was under such circumstances that Than Hsiang Temple held its Filial Piety Dharma Assembly 2020 as scheduled. Group cultivation sessions were held nightly at the Great Compassion Shrine on the ground floor from September 7 to 12. The schedule included chanting of Amitabha Sutra from September 7 to 9, and Water Repentance from September 10 to 12.

September 13 was the culminating point of the Filial Piety Dharma Assembly. The activity was held in the Multi-purpose Hall on the fifth floor. Due to the limitation of SOP, the venue was not open for public participation as in previous years. Instead, the event was live-broadcasted on Facebook so that everyone could tune in and follow the procedure with the aid of the broadcasted audio and subtitles without being present at the venue. At 10:30 a.m. the event started with the recitation of the Great Repentance to 88 Buddhas, followed by the Grand Offering to the Buddha. Three-Session-Pureland-Chanting, the key component of the Filial Piety Dharma Assembly was held in the afternoon.

The first session began at 1pm. At the end of the first session Venerabe Zhen Ru, the head of the Assembly gave a brief talk on the origin of Ulambana, the Buddhist festival which falls on the 7th Full Moon of the lunar calendar, and introduced the contents and purposes of the Three-Session-Pureland-Chanting. After a short break the Assembly continued with the second Session followed by the third. This annual grand cultivation activity brought the culminating curtain down around 6.30pm.

Than Hsiang Temple successfully organized the Filial Piety Dharma Assembly, its annual grand cultivation event under the new normal situation of the Covid-19 Pandemic MCO in 2020. The guidance of Venerable Wei Wu, founder of Than Hsiang Temple, Venerable Zhen Dian, abbot of Than Hsiang Temple, Venerable Zhen Ru, head of the Dharma Assembly; and the hardwork of Sangha and lay Sangha members leading the cultivation, assistance from staff and volunteers to ensure that everything is running smoothly in accordance with the schedule and guidelines, and the enthusiastic participation by devotees in lamp lighting and/or penitence services, and most importantly the blessings from Buddhas, Bodhisatvas, and Devas are conducive factors vital to the success of Than Hsiang’s Filial Piety Dharma Assembly 2020.

Three Sadhus! Namo Amitabha Buddha!