A total of 105 persons comprising of Sunday Dharma School students, Ai Xin Ba Ma and Than Qing members joined in the second outing of the year, visit to Ang Hock See Buddhist Temple (洪福寺). After gathering at Da Bei Dian at 8am, Ven Zhen Xin gave us a Dharma talk. Shifu highlighted the objectives of the outing which incorporated 3 main themes: (1) To expose the SDS students and Aixin family to the different Buddhist practices and temples; (2) To cultivate and develop the practice of “dana” (giving) among the SDS students; and (3) To promote greater understanding and interaction between the SDS students and Aixin family.
Shifu went on to explain further the essence of dana and the 4 types of gifts, namely shelter, food, clothing and medicine which we normally offer to the Monastic Sangha. However, she stressed that the greatest form of dana is actually by practicing The Dharma. Shifu reminded the students to behave themselves, advised the elder ones to take care of the younger ones during the trip and to learn as much as possible from the outing.
We started our trip at 9am and arrived at Ang Hock See Temple at 9.30am. Ven Kai Yuan was there to welcome us. After prostrating to the Buddha in the main shrine, the Ven presented a historic perspective of the temple. Surprisingly, Ang Hock See Temple was originally a Theravada temple known as Wat Sawan Arun (Temple of Early Dawn) and was built in 1911. We were taught how to differentiate the various Buddha Images from Myanmar, Thailand and China. After that, 4 selected students offered gifts to 2 monks who represented the Monastic Sangha of the temple.
We then snapped a group photo with the monks of Ang Hock Si Temple before Ven Kai Yuan guided us on a tour of the temple. We visited the Sariras Pagoda, the Bodhi Tree and the kutis where the monks stayed. Each kuti is barely and simply equipped with only a wooden plank bed, pillow, a small table and chair.
At about 11am, Ven Kai Yuan brought us to visit Poh Oo Tong Temple (宝誉堂) which is located a few hundred metres from the Ang Hock Si Temple. When we arrived at Poh Oo Tong Temple, two of their Ai Xin Teachers welcomed us and took us around the temple.
The Principal of The Poh Oo Tong Sunday Dharma School, Ven Kai Geng, gave us an interesting Dharma Talk. Ven Kai Geng told us to always practice "See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil" which means that we should not see unbeneficial materials and things, listen to bad and negative speech or music, and bad-mouth about others. Instead, we should look out for the good and positive aspects of everything, listen to wise and useful words, and speak the truth. Upon conclusion of the Dharma talk, we pay our respects to The Venerable by bowing 3 times before we left the temple.
We continue our journey to The Youth Park for our lunch picnic. We chanted “Gong Yang Ji”, took out our food containers, queued up for our Aixin Ba Ma to serve us our food which we partake heartily. When we had finished our lunch, we sang some songs, among them is Huan Bao Ge which was composed by our Than Qing Chuang Zhuo Ge Qu Zhu. We also played some games before we chanted “Jie Zai Ji” and transfer the merits for the day to all sentient beings. At around 12.40pm, we headed back to Than Hsiang Temple and everyone was rejoicing with the fun-filled day. Everyone was blissful with the objectives achieved and lessons learned from the trip.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to Ven Zhen Xin for giving us this opportunity to organise the trip and not forgetting our Ai Xin Family and Than Qing members for their commitment, preparation and effort in making this outing a success.