The 36th annual temple bazaar was held on Saturday Nov 19 starting at 10am. The bazaar offered a variety of mouthwatering foods such as hand rolls, noodles, vermicelli, braised delicacies, porridge, BBQ, etc. The selection was plentiful and offered the public variety of choices that suited everyone’s taste. Just like the years before, the bazaar also featured booths such as Buddhist souvenirs, handmade crafts, daily necessities, flora, seedlings, organic fruits and vegetables, Karaoke auction, etc. Not only did this event provide an opportunity for the members of Texas Buddhist Association to gather together and accomplish something meaningful, but this event also provided an opportunity for local communities to learn Buddhism.
Despite the cold weather, the anticipation and excitement in the air was palpable. Volunteers were in place and ready before the clock struck ten. The place was flooded with people who have eagerly awaited this bazaar all year. Plates of hot food were in mass production but had hard time to meet the high demands. By noon many booths were all sold out. Some foods were made by order, causing a long line to be formed. Booths that sold Buddhist souvenirs, handmade crafts, daily necessities, flora, seedlings, organic fruits and vegetables, etc. also attracted its own crowd.
Around eleven O’clock, the Deputy Director of the Taipei Economic and Culture Office in Houston, Mr. Ying Zuo Lin (Translate) made an appearance at the bazaar. He expressed that this was his first time at the temple, and he was excited to have this chance to meet everyone. He was impressed by the scale of the event and called it the “must attend” event for the overseas Chinese community. In the spirit of the event, Mr. Lin even went on stage and sang a song. In his speech, Revered Jing Hai thanked everyone for their support and attendance. The bazaar would not have been possible without everyone’s help. Everyone puts in a lot of hard work every year for the bazaar, and for that he was really grateful. Around noon, Tzu Chi’s USA in Houston, consisting of seven people, and two Deputy CEOs, Kun Xian Wang (translate) and Shi Ming Xiong, (translate) came to provide their support for Jade Buddha Temple and join the festivities. They came and sat with Reverend Jing Hai and enjoyed listening to the auction KTV together.
The corridor behind the Main Hall has always been the performance stage for the auction Karaoke. Throughout the day the music never stopped; setting a lively atmosphere and raising money for the temple all at the same time. Raffling is the highlight of the bazaar every year. This year’s prizes include the “special prize” of a thousand dollars, grand prize of an iPhone 7 (32 GB), second place prize of domestic round-trip plane tickets, third place prize of a Vitamix, fourth place prize of an iPad, fifth place prize of a FitBit, etc. Every drawing of the winning ticket brought the bazaar to a climax.
Near the end of the bazaar, Reverend Hung I came up on stage and spoke of the 36 years in which the bazaar has been held. The bazaar was first started as a way to raise funds to build the temple, and now it helps pay for the temple’s costs. He thanked everyone for their continuous love and support of the temple. He also thanked all the new visitors for their participation. The purpose for the bazaar is not simply fundraising, but also providing the public the opportunity to become more familiar with Buddhism. The money raised will go towards Dharma classes and events as well as the temple’s philanthropic efforts.
The 36th Annual Temple Bazaar wrapped up around 3pm.