Thou­sands of devo­tees throng tem­ples in cel­e­bra­tion of the Bud­dha

New Straits Times - - News / Nation -

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).

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