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.
Spiritual harmony was celebrated by attendees during FGS Nan Hua Temple’s 2014 Ceremony of Light and Peace held on 28 September 2014 in Bronkhorstspruit. Ordinary daily thoughts were raised to the profound. Peace instead of war, harmony instead of hatred, admiration instead of jealousy, generosity instead of greed, tolerance instead of intolerance and wisdom instead of ignorance. It was a mindful celebration of prayer and blessing for mankind’s compassion in all things.
Program director, Anny Lee warmly welcomed attendees and explained the ceremonial procedures. “This annual ceremony has become increasingly popular as we see many familiar faces and unfamiliar faces. It is so great to have so many of you here today to share our common goal of creating more light and peace in our world” said Lee. She continued, “It is important to have light in our lives as it guides us away from darkness and also illuminates the surrounding around us. Today, we would like to share the light with everyone around us and extend the positive meanings associated with light to everyone in the world as light does not discriminate and provides everyone with equal brightness regardless of their race, religion and gender.” Each person had the opportunity of offering their light, saying a prayer to those close to them and to everyone in the world while chanting ‘Om mani pe mei hom’, which means to open the door to attain ultimate wisdom.
Each attendee received a ‘magic egg’ or ‘wishing tree’, celebrating internal growth as well as harmony with the natural world around us. These special eggs, with a little bit of water added, creates an endearing plant with a special lasered inscription message.
Music meditation followed presented by Tshegofatso Makhafola who sang Ave Maria, a prayer to praise Mother Mary who gave birth to Jesus and Hallelujah, a praise to the Lord. A very vibrant Dharma drum session followed performed by a student from the African Buddhist Seminary. The Dharma Drum is used in Dharma functions and is a symbolism to being solemn and dignified. A solo followed played on a drum commonly seen in all Buddhist Temples being played every morning and evening to signify the start and end of the day; a prayer for good weather to provide us with the environment to flourish and be sustainable.
Venerable Master Hui Fang, Abbot of Nan Hua Temple, led all into guided sitting meditation, explaining the benefits of daily meditation followed by the transference of merits. Any wholesome or spiritual practice generates merit as it produces a positive and beneficial result, so, in sharing our merit with all other sentient beings, everyone benefits.
Abbot Hui Fang thanked all attendees for participating in the annual festival of light and peace and said, “As you know, we are all human and as humans, we experience fear in our daily lives and that is part of our fate. Today, we made a wish, a prayer and meditate to focus our minds, increasing the power of our minds to overcome the obstacles in our lives. We must take what we have experienced and learned today and practice it in our daily life; meditation, compassion for others, how to transform the positive energy that we have created and spread it to everyone in the world. After today, we must practice meditation everyday especially when you are facing a difficult time in your life and try to overcome it.”
A scrumptious vegetarian lunch was served and the Buddha Light International Association’s youth league entertained the guests, collecting funds for an animal shelter; one of their charity projects.