“I want to thank the big brothers and sister who took care of us, led us to play the games, I also want to thank the venerable master for letting us come here to join the camp, the food was delicious and I will come back again!" Were the words of gratitude 13 year old Andile gave at the closing ceremony of Nan Hua children’s camp 2017.
On June 17, nearly 60 children from nearby villages gathered in Nan Hua Temple to participate in the annual children's camp. Due to riots in the villages, the event was canceled last year. This year however, the children had stormed bright and early to register at Nan Hua Temple. Welcoming them were students from the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria and other major University and Technicon around South Africa, who came far and wide with open arms, a bright smile and a warm embrace.
A total of 30 students came from tertiary institution from across South Africa, ranging from degree prospects to doctoral candidates. These youths arrived few days prior in preparation for the upcoming camp, setting up wonderful classes of painting, arts, crafts, monastery tours, magic shows, scientific experiments and endless hour of active play.
After the opening ceremony, the wonderful schedule made every child cherish every moment. Placing a thin piece of paper on the glass cup, tilting the cup upside down, and seeing no water pouring out, was truly incredible! The children held their hands up high, taking turns to try out each of these fun experiments. They had endless fun learning principles about vacuums and velocity to outdoor chemical reactions, making mini volcanos out of bicarbonate soda and household vinegar. Experiencing the marvel of science lit many interest within the children, as they showered the volunteer with endless questions.
In addition to classes like these, playing games and the three meal a day were what the children looked forward to the most. Not every child within the group had the joy of experiencing three basic meals a day, sometimes one or even not enough food. Though vegetarian, the children cleaned their plates every meal. Burger in the morning, fried noodles for lunch and their favorite French fries at night, they happily finished all the food and wanted even more! Even at their top speed, the SA YAD still had trouble keeping up the food service to the hunger mouths, but yet they worked tediously to satisfy every mouth and every pair of eager looking eyes.
June 18 was the parting day of these all so joyous days. The volunteers led the children early in the morning with exercise, dance, and games, as time flies ever so quickly when you are having fun the time for the closing ceremony was here. During the closing ceremony Venerable Abbot Hui Feng ask whether they would come back the next year, and all the children cheerfully scream “Yes”. From the hands of the Abbot, they receive a fully packed gift backpack and a thick blanket for the upcoming winter. Although the camp only took place over two short days and one night, the children cherish every moment. Being inspired to learn and enrich with knowledge, we wish them a beautiful and wonder holiday.
On the 10th of April 2016, more than 50 people took Refuge in the Triple Gem, 40 of who took their Precepts. The ceremony took place at FGS Nan Hua Temple’s Parkmore Meditation Centre in Parkmore, Sandton and conducted by the Temple Master, Venerable Hui Xing, Venerable Master Hui Liu and Venerable Master Hui Xiang. Taking refuge in the Triple Gem ie the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, represents confirmation of one’s belief in Buddhist principles and dedication to Buddhist practice. It is therefore a formal indication of one’s faith.
Taking the five Precepts forms the basis of building faith or confidence, which is very important to take devotees into the higher teachings of the Buddha. In Buddhism, precepts or directives forms one of the three teachings (Tri-Sikkha) ie precepts or directives, concentration and wisdom.
The Precepts are the foundation of the practice of the Buddha Dharma until the attainment of enlightenment, the ultimate goal of Buddhism. Observing and upholding the five Precepts builds happiness for living beings in both the present and in the future.
The five precepts:
Taking and upholding the five precepts is a life time commitment; it is not for one day and one night.
FGS Nan Hua Temple congratulates these individuals for taking the first step to following the Buddhist path and way of life.
In welcoming the Year of the Monkey, Nan Hua Temple celebrated Chinese New Year with much flair and pizazz, yet spiritual and in true traditional fashion.
Chinese New Year is a celebration of change and the Temple was brilliantly decorated with traditional symbols, fireworks, beautifully crafted lanterns and knots emphasising the colour red for luck.
The Chinese Zodiac was depicted in beautiful satin covered caricatures, each with a personality trait description. These caricatures were lit up at night, creating a cheerful ambiance.
The event started off with the customary Light Offering ceremony in the main shrine during which the VIPs and dignitaries were welcomed. These included, amongst others, Venerable Yi Chun, mentor of Nan Hua Temple; Venerable Hui Fang, Abbott of Nan Hua Temple; Ambassador John C Chen, representative of Taipei Liaison Office in South Africa; King Thokoana Mopeli of Bakwena in QwaQwa; Queen mother Mmathokoane Mopeli and Susana Caputi, consul to Bolivia.
In celebration of longevity, a 103-year old lady, Mrs Pan, was also in attendance, lending a positive energy of long life to the festivities.
In his speech, Abbott Hui Fang said, “During this year, we have tasted the bitter as well as the sweet in life and experienced the warmth as well as the coldness of human emotion. Through the Buddha’s teaching, we have learned not to be discouraged and to reach the end of the year safely. Through His blessing, we have developed the courage to face reality and to overcome dangers and difficulties.” The Abbot added that from this day on we shall extinguish the fires of anger with tenderness and still the winds of ignorance with Truth.
Abbott Hui Fang sounded the gong after which the Nan Hua Performing Arts Group presented an exceptional drumming performance followed by a traditional dragon and lion dance. A myriad of Eastern cultural stalls provided the hundreds of visitors with a selection of vegetarian food, drinks, holistic medicine with many trinkets, ornaments, clothing, art and faire on offer.
Three traditional Chinese Celestial Characters representing fortune, prosperity and longevity handed out lucky packets containing a special message for the year ahead. In true Chinese tradition, the golden wishing tree provided visitors a chance of writing their wishes on a ribbon with a coin attached to it and throwing it into the tree without falling so that their wish could come true.
The Temple, in association with the local Chinese community arranged a number of traditional Chinese demonstrations including Chinese medicine, acupuncture, paper folding, traditional calligraphy and a beautiful wishing bell. Visitors also had the opportunity to attend a traditional Tea ceremony and various cultural performance including Chinese and African drum majorettes, traditional Indian dancing, Chinese martial arts, Spanish dances and Korean Taekwondo performances.
Queen mother Mmathokoane Mopeli said, “I had a lovely day with so many new experiences! I learned a lot about the Chinese culture and hope to have a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Chinese. The people were very friendly and welcoming.”
The Chinese New Year celebrations provided a vibrant platform for people of all walks of life, age groups, cultures, religions and backgrounds to engage with each other and share a memorable day.
FGS Nan Hua Temple entered the New Year with heartfelt devotion, praise, gratitude and offerings on 31 January 2014. Temple staff, devotees, volunteers and the community joined the Abbott, monks and nuns in celebrating the arrival of the New Year in true Buddhist fashion.
The auspicious event was led by Abbot Hui Fang and started off with a purification chanting service followed by chants to invite all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and deities to join the ceremony.
This year saw the offering of delicious food to the Universal Buddhas, the 24 Heavenly Kings and their defenders in the Heavenly Feast Ceremony, which formed part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
In Buddhism, the Heavenly Kings are known as the protectors of Buddhism, serving the Buddha by protecting sentient beings from disasters and allowing them to learn and practice the Dharma in order to eliminate defilements, accumulate merit and achieve perfect enlightenment. According to the Sutra, we can show our appreciation to the Heavenly Kings for tirelessly protecting the Dharma by making offerings of exquisite food, wholeheartedly prepared by disciples who pay every attention to taste, aroma, temperature and decoration.
Members of The Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) participated in the food offering ceremony, assisting the community and disciples who made offerings in the contemplative procedure paying respect and seeking protection, eliminating their bad Karma and accumulating merit.
The Great Compassionate Sutra, 10 mantras and The Heart Sutra chants followed after which the event ended at midnight with a huge fireworks display. We thank everybody who attended and assisted with this wonderful ceremony.
Happy New Year! May all enjoy a long and auspicious life.
Nan Hua Temple Announcement
The Guest House (building with the green roof) will be open on 25 and 26 December 2014 to the public. The Main Shrine will only be open on 31 December and 1 January 2014.
Nan Hua Temple temporarily closed
Please note that Nan Hua Temple is temporarily closed due to unforeseen circumstances.
Will be opened on 31 December and 1st January.