Thousands of devotees throng temples in celebration of the Buddha
KUALA LUMPUR: Wesak is a time for Malaysians to appreciate the nation’s religious and cultural diversity.
MCA president and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said moderation was a guiding principle in Buddhism.
“Acceptance is another core value at the heart of Buddhism.
“There is a lot we can achieve if we work towards building a respectful society,” he said when launching the Wesak procession from the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields yesterday.
The procession, which involved thousands of devotees and about a dozen floats, made its way along Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Jalan Petaling, Jalan Yap Ah Loy, Jalan Hang Lekiu, Jalan Gereja, Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Pudu and Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock before returning to the temple.
In Kuching, more than 1,000 Buddhist devotees converged at the Malaysia Buddhist Association’s temple.
A devotee, Chung, who is in his 20s, said the annual celebration was important to his family and other Buddhists.
“It is one of the most important days for us (Buddhists).
“We came here about 8am with fresh flowers and fruits.
“After burning joss sticks, we light the oil lamp, which symbolises lighting up one’s life, and to seek blessings.
“Then there will be a prayer session before the ritual where we bathe the Buddha statue.”
In Kuala Terengganu, more than 2,000 devotees braved the rain to queue up and bathe a Buddha image at the Terengganu Buddhist Association.
Its spokesman, Fong Jia Bao, said devotees were not only from the district, but also from as far as Dungun, as well as students from the Buddhist Society at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu.
In Kuantan, a caretaker of a 13year-old temple was glad to see many worshippers at the Wat Dhamma Pattanaram temple at Sungai Soi here.
Heng Cheng Woei, who volunteers at the temple, said about 500 people visited the temple.
He said more visitors meant a merrier celebration.
In Ipoh, more than 1,000 worshippers, visitors and tourists visited the Enlightened Heart Buddhist Temple in Tambun.
For Yong Choon Mei, 40, this was her second time celebrating Wesak at the temple.
“I came here with my family. This year, my mother and uncle carried the Lord Sakyamuni Buddha on their back,” she said, adding that the act was done to ask for good health, prosperity and to get rid of bad karma.
In George Town, Wesak brought people together in prayer and appreciation.
French tourist and sociology researcher Emanuella Chaput, 30, said she adored multi-racial Malaysia.
“We see Indians, Chinese and people from other races participating in the celebration. This is uniquely Malaysian.”
Chaput’s colleague, Tanya Beuchame, 34, said this was her first visit to Malaysia and that it was wonderful to see people of different races praying together.
Wesak celebrations kicked off as early as Tuesday night with devotees thronging the Penang Buddhist Association temple in Jalan Anson here.
Thousands of devotees gathered before dawn for the ceremonial hoisting of the Buddhist flag and singing of hymns in praise of the triple gem — the Buddha, the Dharma (his teachings) and the Sangha (his disciples).