Sunday, May 29, 2011

PHBS Wesak Day brings charity and blessings

NST Streets 280511 KUALA LUMPUR:
The sound of chanting rose from a tent at the roadside in Putra Heights in the early morning of May 16. But this was not unusual for Wesak Day.

Putra Heights Buddhist Society (PBHS) celebrated Wesak Day with a programme that began with puja and blessings by the Sangha for the devotees, who later made offerings of flowers and lights. There was a dhamma talk entitled Ancient Wisdom for Modern Minds as well as performances and the singing of hymns.

PHBS president Chua Teck Seong explained the significance of the day.

"Wesak is a thrice sacred day for Buddhists as it marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of Shakyamuni Buddha. The day was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999."

The Buddhist Film Festival sheds light on Buddhism and its teachings. The documentaries screened during the festival featured big names like Jet Li and Richard Gere sharing their experiences as practicing Buddhists.

The documentaries were a hit with the visitors who sat on the floor to watch the video projections on the wall

Non-Buddhists living nearby also turn up to participate in the Wesak celebration and enjoy the assortment of delicious food sold at the large tent near the PHBS centre in Jalan Putra Mahkota 7/8C.

Chua said the society members were in the midst of raising funds to help orphans living in Loving Home in Sungai Nibong, Klang. The money would be used to buy medical equipment and medicines for the home's clinic.

The free clinic treats between 150 to 170 poor families in Klang, he explained.

"Many poor families cannot afford treatment when they fall ill and this free clinic serves them well," he said.

Chua said that was one of PHSB's many activities to give back to the community and help the needy.

The stalls on the road sold candles, vegetarian food, religious books, Nyonya dumplings, homemade wholemeal pies, pumpkin pao, yam cakes, tau foo fa, muffins, jelly, soya bean milk and other good things, all of which went down well with the hungry crowd.

Some of the food was sponsored, but some hardworking housewives turned volunteers woke up as early as 3am to prepare the food fresh.

A few women at the PHBS kitchen prepared hot rice for the free vegetarian lunch for devotees.

Others were hard at work making bouquets of carnations, chrysanthemums, daisies, lotus and jasmine to be sold to raise funds.

The money, Chua said, would be used for food donations to monks who could not afford to buy food, to educate Buddhist students at the Sunday school, and to buy religious books and other essential items for them.

Besides praying, Buddhists bowed at the feet of monks as a sign of reverence and to receive their blessings.

Others took turns to bathe a statue of the Buddha -- a Wesak Day cleansing ritual to purify the mind.

The society is open from 10am to 1pm on Sundays, 8.30pm to 10pm on Tuesdays (meditation) and 9am to 11am on new moon or full moon days.

PHBS also offers lessons on chanting, guided meditation, Sutta studies and Sunday dhamma school.

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