Golden dragon shines bright

Majestic: Visitors taking pictures during the lantern lighting up ceremony. — CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

BANTING: A massive display of the golden dragon lantern at the Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple is expected to draw visitors to this Buddhist temple during the Chinese New Year period.The “Auspicious Golden Dragon” joins a spinning dragon that will greet visitors to the lantern festival from Feb 7 to Feb 25, and for two weekends next month: March 2-3, and March 9-10.

“Measuring an impressive 288ft (88m), these dragons will usher in and showcase the Year of the Dragon,” said Buddha’s Light International Association Central Malaysia president Datin Seri Yong Chou Lian.

“While their size may evoke power, their essence manifests the tranquil and peaceful nature of dragons, as skillfully depicted by the artisans at Dong Zen Temple,” she said in her speech during the ceremony to light up the lanterns on Wednesday night.

A big crowd gathered to witness the event were mesmerised as the night exploded in colourful lanterns that bathed flowers in captivating lights to usher in the Year of the Dragon.

The central theme of this year’s festival is “May you be free as cloud and water, auspicious and joyful,” while the lantern pillars surrounding the golden dragon feature teachings from Venerable Master Hsing Yun.

The festival also features cultural performances, another dragon sculpture on the thirty-three Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva pathways, a dragon boat showcasing Chinese traditional culture, and a 3D diorama of the Dragon Maiden Attaining Buddhahood story.

Visitors can walk through the serene Lumbini Garden, which symbolises the benevolence of mountains and the wisdom of waters, as well as explore the art gallery and indulge in vegetarian cuisine at the food street and Waterdrop Teahouse vegetarian food court.

Jue Cheng, Chief Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and India, expressed gratitude for the diverse attendance at the lighting ceremony, which included Catholic priests, Malay Muslim friends, diplomatic envoys, Taoist friends, and business leaders.

She said the temple was a shared space for everyone, with guests from Taiwan, China, Singapore and India also joining in the Lunar New Year celebrations here.

“This area of durian and rubber plantations has undergone a remarkable transformation,” said Jue Cheng of the lands surrounding the temple, which was founded 35 years ago by Venerable Master Hsing Yun.

“The Master envisioned Selangor as a precious land, imbued with auspiciousness, and containing a sacred Buddhist ground.

“A future of prosperity is now certain,” she said during the lighting ceremony.

Also present were Transport Minister Anthony Loke and Deputy Finance Minister Lim Hui Ying.

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