PJ temple marks birth of Buddha


Devotees bathing baby Buddha statues at the Fo Guang Shan temple in Petaling Jaya.

WESAK Day was celebrated through a series of events organised by the Fo Guang Shan (FGS) temple in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

After a two-year hiatus, the celebration of Buddha’s birth was commemorated with a ceremony to bathe the baby Buddha statue, an exhibition, charity sales and talks on Buddhist relics and the history of Buddhism in Pakistan.

Present at the opening ceremony of the exhibition titled “A Millennium Covenant – Walking through Gandhara” were Silk Road Centre director Ijlal Hussain, Silk Road Centre president Fasih Un Nisa, Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei, Petaling Jaya MCA chairman Tan Gim Tuan, FGS vice-abbess Ruxing Shih and former Kampung Tunku assemblyman Datuk Wong Sai Hou.

Speaking at the event, Shih said: “For this year’s Wesak Day celebration, I would like to deliver the message of seizing all the opportunities to do good work, to all the people who have joined us on this occasion.

“On this day, devotees bathe the statue of baby Buddha and also offer him flowers and candles.

“Some followers of Mahayana Buddhism prefer to only eat vegetarian meals at this time,” she added.

(From left) Wong and his spouse, Shih, Lim, Ijlal and Fasih looking at Buddhist relics from Pakistan on display at the ‘A Millennium Covenant – Walking through Gandhara’ exhibition. — Photos: SS KANESAN/The Star(From left) Wong and his spouse, Shih, Lim, Ijlal and Fasih looking at Buddhist relics from Pakistan on display at the ‘A Millennium Covenant – Walking through Gandhara’ exhibition. — Photos: SS KANESAN/The Star

Meanwhile, Ijlal said: “We take pride in being from the birthplace of Buddhism, which is Pakistan’s Gandhara region.

“Tantric, Mahayana as well as Hinayana Buddhism also originated from my homeland.

“Although we are lacking in proper funding to preserve the Buddhist relics and history, we are still doing our best to protect them by promoting awareness all around the world about their significance,” he concluded.

“This exhibition will break so many stereotypes as I saw how much effort Pakistani people are putting in to preserve and rehabilitate the ancient Buddhist heritage in their country, even though the majority of them are Muslims,” said Lim.

Devotees were clearly excited about being able to celebrate Wesak Day at the temple after two years.

Many were seen buying items at the charity fair outside the temple.

Devotee M. Kunarasan, 73, said, “I was really looking forward to attending this event as it is the first to be held by the temple as we transition to the endemic phase.

Sathya, from Iraq, performing the baby Buddha bathing ritual inside the main shrine of Fo Guang Shan temple in Petaling Jaya on Wesak Day.Sathya, from Iraq, performing the baby Buddha bathing ritual inside the main shrine of Fo Guang Shan temple in Petaling Jaya on Wesak Day.

“I prayed to Lord Buddha for the well-being of my family and also asked him to remove the Covid-19 virus forever from our world.

“Before leaving, I bought some vegetarian meals from the charity fair because they were selling the food for a good cause,” he added.

SS3 resident Sathya Jalileh Vand, 26, who is from Iraq, said “I felt very blessed to be able to celebrate Wesak Day physically.

“I bathed the baby Buddha statue inside the main shrine of the temple and prayed to him for my longevity and prosperity.

“I attended the English public forum where a panel of Malaysian venerables and Pakistani scholars discussed the history and significance of Buddhism in Pakistan.”

Crystal Lau Yong Ying, 45, said: “l joined the celebration to pay respect to Lord Buddha.

“I donated some money to the temple by purchasing two pink napkins at the charity fair.”

“This year, around 5,000 devotees and visitors celebrated Wesak Day with us,” said Shih.

“We would have liked to have the flower procession but did not do so to avoid large crowds.”

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