A day of prayer, unity and devotion


KUALA LUMPUR: Devotees converged at the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple here for Wesak Day celebrations, bringing flowers and candles, and offering prayers.

Among those in the diverse crowd yesterday was human resources executive Deepika Donald, who said she had been coming to the temple every year for Wesak.

“It is heartwarming to see so many people present here to offer prayers,” said the 32-year-old.

She was accompanied by her former classmate from secondary school, Joycelyn Teo, also 32.

“This year is special because it’s the first time she came to this temple with me for Wesak celebrations,” said Deepika.

A tapestry of faith: Buddhist devotees unfolding the giant canvas thangka during Wesak day at the Enlightened Heart Buddhist Temple in Tambun, Perak. A thangka is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton or paper, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala. The sunning of the painting symbolises the ‘drawing of power’ from the sun.— RONNIE CHIN/The StarA tapestry of faith: Buddhist devotees unfolding the giant canvas thangka during Wesak day at the Enlightened Heart Buddhist Temple in Tambun, Perak. A thangka is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton or paper, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala. The sunning of the painting symbolises the ‘drawing of power’ from the sun.— RONNIE CHIN/The Star

The women have been close friends for more than a decade but only recently found out that they share the same faith.

Teo, who works with a pharmaceutical company, said she would usually return to Johor on Wesak Day as her aunt is a nun at a temple there.

A domestic helper from Sri Lanka, Nila Samarawera, 53, came with her two friends, Eyishani Charuni, 36, and Mary Jacintha, 54, to offer prayers.

They were all dressed in white, which they said, was a tradition for them as it signifies purity.

“I have worked in Malaysia for 15 years. Each year, I come here for Wesak,” she said, adding that her compatriots from Sri Lanka would gather later to have a meal together.

A day of reverence: (Top) Devotees arriving at Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple in Sentul in Kuala Lumpur for prayers during the Wesak Day celebration. — AZMAN GHANI/The StarA day of reverence: (Top) Devotees arriving at Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple in Sentul in Kuala Lumpur for prayers during the Wesak Day celebration. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

Like she does every year, she said she prayed for health and happiness and her family back home.

University professor Agileswari K. Ramasamy, 49, said Wesak was an occasion that reminded her of the need to be humble and lead a simple life.

“It symbolises that we must always be humble and be prepared to give gifts,” she said.

For her daughter Waaswini Thiagi’s 19th birthday on Sunday, she said the family would mark the day by distributing food to the homeless.

“I will cook. Then we will distribute the food, perhaps around the Pudu and Chow Kit area,” she added.

Kyaw Myat Soe from Myanmar came to pray with his sister, brother and six-year-old daughter.

Four-year-old Linisha bathing a statue of Buddha at the temple. Known as Buddha bathing, the ritual is the act of pouring blessed, scented water on a Buddha statue as a reminder of the need to purify the heart and mind. — AZMAN GHANI/The StarFour-year-old Linisha bathing a statue of Buddha at the temple. Known as Buddha bathing, the ritual is the act of pouring blessed, scented water on a Buddha statue as a reminder of the need to purify the heart and mind. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

Having stayed in Malaysia for over 20 years, the 47-year-old said he comes to this temple for the Wesak celebration every year.

“For other occasions, I would go to the temple closer to where I live. But for Wesak, it is always here,” said Khaw, who works in digital printing.

After yesterday’s prayers, he said the family would go for lunch together before heading home.

Yesterday evening, about 20 floats were paraded in a 12km procession through Little India, Pasar Seni, Jalan Raja Chulan, and Bukit Bintang.

Wesak Day is observed by Buddhists to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.

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Wesak Day , Buddhist , Maha Vihara Temple

   

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