On 1/22, Lunar New Year’s Eve, members gathered in the Main Hall of Jade Buddha Temple to welcome the New Year by ringing the bell. The next day, the Lunar New Year Assembly was held in the Main Hall as well. TBA’s President, Venerable Jan Hai, gave all members his best wishes for an auspicious New Year. TBA’s Vice President, Venerable Hung I, wished for members to welcome the New Year by: cultivating blessings from the minutiae, taking a long view in approaching life, being generous when speaking, and cherishing the present when practicing Buddhism.
On the morning of 1/29, the Blessings Assembly was attended by around 1450 attendees. In the assembly, Venerable Hung I gave a Dharma talk which pointed out various ways to garner good karma for the New Year by: being charitable, upholding the precepts, persevering, practicing, and meditating. He also spoke of how to develop positive thinking: 1) Remember only meaningful things &overlook meaningless things, 2) Maintain a sense of balance & not be affected by everyday ups and downs, 3) When encountering something always consider the karmic cause and effect & be rational and compassionate about it.
Six other venerables – Venerable Katapunno, Venerable Rong Tong, Venerable Hui Du, Venerable Shu Chao, and Venerable Shiou Huey – from TBA also gave their well wishes at the assembly. Many special guests had attended the assembly, including Mr. and Mrs. Hoo-pang Ngiam, who were instrumental in the establishment of TBA. They had returned from Hong Kong to visit everyone. After everyone wished the Buddha, the venerables, and each other a Happy Lunar New Year, the assembly concluded with Venerable Jan Hai and Venerable Hung I giving out their blessings and traditional red envelopes.
In the afternoon, under the guidance of Venerable Jan Hai, attendees gathered in Kwan Yin Hall to chant the Medicine Buddha Sutra (BhaiṣajyaguruvaidūryaprabharājaSūtra) for blessings of safety, health, and peace. This concluded TBA’s series of activities to celebrate and welcome the Lunar New Year.