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.