Fo Guang Shan Nan Hua Temple situated in Bronkhorstspruit celebrated Chinese New Year on Sunday, 10 February 2019, welcoming the New Lunar Year, the Year of the Pig, in true Eastern style.
Festivities started with the traditional candle lighting ceremony at 9h30 in the morning followed by the official opening. The mentor of Nan Hua Temple, Venerable Yi Chun, provided some insight into what we can expect from the Year of the Pig. She also mentioned that us humans, use pigs for multiple reasons and that we should rather become vegetarian and live a pure life. “The founder of Nan Hua Temple and the founding Chairman of the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA), Grand Master Ysing Yun, age 94 this year, instructed me to wish you a year always well-rounded and be auspicious. May everything go well with you in the Year of the Pig. The pig represents courage, loyalty, blessing, appreciation and wealth. When we were young, we were given piggy banks where we can save our pocket money. When it filled up, we were overjoyed with the little fortune we accumulated. I sincerely hope that in this new year, we can all learn to grow and manage our wealth properly. Learn to express gratitude to others and to cherish what we already have in life. ” said Venerable Yi Chun.
Vicki Jacob visited this year and reported, “This was my fourth visit to the Nan Hua Temple to celebrate the Chinese New Year and each year it gets better and better. I loved seeing so many different cultures interacting with one another in harmony. I joined the introduction to meditation class for the first time and found it immensely relaxing. Best of all was the amazing variety of food stalls, all vegetarian, which was excellent for me.”
VIPs present included the Abbot of Nan Hua Temple, Venerable Hui Fang, who led the proceedings; the representative of the Taipei Liaison Office in South Africa, Mr Matthew W Chou and Mrs Grace Chou; Sino South Africa Chamber of Commerce president, Mr Robin Xu and Mrs Susan Sun; director of the BLIA World Headquarters, Mrs Sherry Chen; The Whole Africa Overseas Chinese Peaceful Reunification Promotion Association president, Mr Xin-Tsu Lee and Mrs Wenxin Xu; Senior Commissioner of Overseas Chinese Affair Commission, Mr Vincent Lin; First Secretary Taipei Liaison Office in South Africa, Mr Chia-Lun Wang; South Africa-China Shenzhen general chamber of commerce president, Mr Chan Wan Sang and Mrs Meilian Chan; Southern African Taiwanese Ha-Ga Association, Mr Nick Lo; Chairlady of Global Federation of Chinese Businesses Women Southern Africa Chapter, Mrs Pamela Yang; The African Federation of Chinese Women in Commerce and Industry, Mrs Char-Main Chung; Gauteng Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce Honourable Chairperson Mr John Chung; Buddhist Companion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation regional director of Johannesburg Chapter , Mr Fu-Lai Huang; Chinese Women Association in South Africa, Mrs Oscar Liao; Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation senior volunteer, Ming Hui Chang; Pretoria Culture and Education Foundation, Mr Peter Chen and Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation senior volunteer, Mr Jake Shih.
An array of cultural festivities took place during the celebrations including the traditional Dragon and Lion dances, Spanish and Scottish dancing, Nan Hua Temple Performing Arts Group Drumming, martial arts and various other musical performances to the delight of young and old.
A myriad of cultural food and craft stalls offered not only sustenance but a unique taste sensation with sumptuous vegetarian faire for sale.
There were several other inspiring events for all to enjoy including a traditional Chinese tea ceremony and meditation.
Children’s entertainment included a super slide, peddle car racing and loads of entertainment for including lantern and face painting and balloon art.
We wish you a very successful Year of the Pig and hope to see you at the 2020 Chinese New Festival!
The 27th of June marked the end of the annual winter youth talent camp of Nan Hua temple, yet the next day immediately began the “children's” talent camp.
Under the guidance of venerable Master Jie Kai, the South African Young adult division delicately planed four days and three night of fun-filled activities and class. With 70 children from differ region of South Africa, their aim was to make the children's time at the Nan Hua temple a fruitful and memorable winter experience.
The camp was filled with wondrous activities: games, sports, story telling and many more. The children are divided into two groups according to their ages. One group is 7-9 years old and the other is 10-14 years old. On the first day the children held hands in ice-breaking, warm hugs melted always the cold unknown barrier and each made many new friends. At night, was a welcoming party from the youth to the children. Dances, acts, song and games using all measures possible to welcomed the children and made them felt right at home. Under the folk art teacher Pan Hui Ling's teaching, through colorful paintbrushes and different quality materials in mere hours pushed everyone's creativity to the maximum level! Making a rich variety of works such as lanterns, gyros, paper cutting, windmills, etc. Folk sports teacher, Rong Pei Chen, took the children through basic rope skipping exercises, gyros and diabolo. The children were small, but they worked hard to complete each movement. The Edge of Temple was a time for the children to challenge themselves though games. Observation, agility, quickness, cleverest, each game was created to test and teach the children while they were having fun. During film time, YAD member Yuki Huang led the children to watch "I love happiness", an animation created by Grandmaster Hsing Yun to teach children different morals and how to face everyday problems. All of child watched with bated breath hoping to answer the question correctly. During a pray for the parents, every little one earnestly praised the “Nanwu Guanyin Bodhisattva” and offered a lamp to the parents in front of the Buddha to wish them good health and peace. On the final day of the camp, the children spent 100% of their efforts to show what they had learned in four days. Each team sent representatives to express the thoughts of their team. Besides thanking the big brother and sister for their meticulous care, the children thanked the mothers in the kitchen for preparing the rich food, making them happy to eat, and there was a large pot of warm food.
As the sound of the car boomed. Volunteers who stood in front of the door on the first day are here again, but this time they did not welcome the children but bid farewell to those who had lived together for the pass few days. Everyone was red-eyed and reluctantly bid farewell and looked forward to December, to meet again.
On June 24th, began the annual Youth Talented Camp of Nan Hua Temple. A near total of 70 young adults attended with youthful vitality and spirit to learn. The activities of four days and three nights melted away the winter chills as their voices and warmth filled the temple halls. Though lessons, games, and other daily activities, they successfully broke ice, made new friends, and left precious friendship with each other.
Arts and sports were taught by two Taiwanese teacher selected by the Taiwan Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee, Ms. Pan Huiling of traditional arts and Mr Rong Peichen who took the reins in the sport field The camp team courses are divided into two groups: boys and girls. Under the leadership of Mr. Pan Huiling, the young people realized the profoundness of Chinese traditional paintings. A few simple strokes painted the breeze of bamboo, and a few more painted the emptiness of mountains and clouds, all defined by simple shades of black and white. Out of the artistic conception of Chinese painting, the art of making a shadow play is time-consuming and mentally beautiful. From the selection of characters to the use of a few chopsticks, a lively performance can be a created effortlessly, yet beautiful. Mr Rong Peichen once won the Asian Cup International Diabolo Tournament Championship. His jaw-dropping techniques kept the youth determined and inspired their enthusiasm for learning. Everyone dared to try various moves, whether success or failure, they all worked extremely hard and gave 110% to mimicking the teacher's designated actions.
In addition to the two main courses of folk art and folk sports, the camp also arranged classes for the study of Buddhist rules, discussions of the spirit of youthful bodhisattva, inspiring words from grand master Hsing Yun, and a magnitude of mentally challenging games. On the last night, everyone offered a pray for their family and friends in the shrine of Samantabhadra. A pray written by grand master Hsing Yun wishing for their family’s happiness, safety and health.
On the last day of the camp on the 27th, during the camping ceremony, young people displayed the Chinese paintings and weaving techniques that they had learned over the past two days. The results of the Diabolo that they had practiced in the few days also won many applause. Mr Pei-Chen Chen also performed a world class act, juggling four Diabolo at same time! His exquisite skills were truly amazing and world class. After announcing the rankings of the groups, the young people reluctantly bid farewell and look forward to the next gathering.
Sunday, 3 June 2018, saw nearly 500 people visit Fo Guang Shan (FGS) Nan Hua Temple’s Parkmore Meditation Centre situated in Sandton, enjoying vegetarian faire abounds.
The Vegetarian Festival, now in its fourth year, celebrated vegetarianism by not only providing visitors with a fantastic taste sensation but also a chance to learn how to prepare the delicious food through a number of cooking demonstrations and recipes shared.
Family and friends gathered to learn more about vegetarianism, cooking vegetarian food and, of course, to taste the delicious dishes prepared by the volunteers.
Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) volunteers assisted alongside the BLIA Young Adults (BLIA YAD) and scouts not only promoting the benefits of vegetarianism but also recycling for a cleaner environment.
A quiet moment was spent by visitors enjoying an introduction to meditation and a reading from FGS’ Grand Master, Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s book, 365 Days for Travelers, where after each participant received their own copy of this thought-provoking book with inspiring quotes from great Chan (Zen) Masters through 1 000s of years, neatly and compact for everyday use.
A vegetarian diet has many benefits that include being kinder to the environment, increasing quality nutritional intake and reducing diseases such as heart disease. In addition, a vegetarian diet allows for compassion, mindfulness and healthier choices that benefit the environment.
You can also join the change to a healthier and compassionate lifestyle by pledging your support for vegetarianism, even if it’s for just one day of the week. Visit www.vegdays.org.
“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.