The celebration began with the recitation of Shakyamuni Buddha’s name and the Heart Sutra. The Venerable Chao Ding, the abbot of Jade Buddha Temple, presented a Dharma talk for everyone. He emphasized that Shakyamuni Buddha was a human being whom through hard work and practice had attained true knowledge and enlightenment. Thus, as disciples we should emulate Shakyamuni Buddha and continue to practice the Dharma and better ourselves.
Following Venerable Chao Ding’s Dharma talk, Northwest Dharma Class’ Ms. Zhu shared her personal experience with the audience. She feels that Buddhism has helped her in managing the daily stress of her work and facing the difficulties of everyday life with a calm and positive attitude.
Next, everyone participated in the Grand Offering before the Buddha. Venerable Jan Han, Texas Buddhist Association’s President, then gave a short Dharma talk and wished for everyone’s wellbeing and happiness and that everyone will be able to benefit from Buddha’s wisdom.
The celebration concluded with the Bathing of the Buddha. Following the lead of the two Elder Venerables, everyone in attendance had a chance to bath the statue of baby Shakyamuni Buddha with fragrant water, thus symbolically cleansing the baby Buddha and one’s own heart.
After the assembly, everyone enjoyed a nutritious and delicious vegetarian meal in the courtyard.
Afternoon Tea with Venerable Chao Ding and Venerable Jan Hai
As part of the activities associated with Buddha’s Birthday Celebration, Venerable Chao Ding (Abbot of Jade Buddha Temple) and Venerable Jan Hai (Texas Buddhist Association President) hosted an Afternoon Tea and discussion session on April 28, 2012. The tea and snacks were donated by members of Texas Buddhist Association, Ms Liu and Ms Yang.
The two Venerables open the event with a few Dharma words followed by a zither performance by Ms Hu, singing by Ms Jiang, and an erhu performance by Mr Hsu. Then the floor was opened for an open discussion session.
Question: I’m always thinking about how to end suffering and attain happiness. Enjoying to the music just now I felt happy, but once I return to daily life, my worries return, how can I fill my life with happiness?
Ven Chao Ding answers: To learn Buddhism is to learn to be happy. Entertainment can provide happiness, but happiness of the five senses is impermanent and of low quality. Higher quality and more permanent happiness can be achieved through betterment of the self through practice of the Dharma.
Question: I have three boys that love to play basketball. I encouraged them to try their best, but often even after trying their best they are not able to achieve the desired results. Then I advise them not to be too insistent on the result. At this point they feel frustrated and I feel that I’m contradicting myself.
Ven Jan Hai answers: In sports, one needs to be aggressive and focused to win. But one also has to be respectful of the opponent and not put too much weight on either winning or losing. When doing something, one always need to be courageous and give it one’s best, but afterwards try not to be too attached to the results.
The Afternoon Tea discussion session concluded successfully around 3pm, participants enjoyed an afternoon filled with fragrant tea, delectable snacks, beautiful music, and open, lively discussion.