On Sunday July 18th a joint programme between the Taiping Bodhi Lankarama Dhamma School and the Than Hsiang Chan Yuen Dharma School was held at the latter’s premises in Bukit Mertajam. Originally the trip from the Taiping School was only to come up and see me at Vivekavana, but I thought it more useful to try to combine it with a joint programme with another school here, and as I had contact with the Than Hsiang branch I made the suggestion to them.
It was a great success and everybody made new friends out of the meeting, and there is now an arrangement for the visit to be reciprocated some time soon. When the Taiping group arrived they were greeted with a welcoming song, and then we first held a joint service in the Mahāyāna tradition, with gongs, blocks, bells, and a chanting of the Heart Sutra.
Afterwards I gave a short (15 minute) talk on the moral education of children which explains some of the reasoning behind holding programmes like this:
Giving the Talk
After the talk Cheng Why gave a short presentation on the history of Than Hsiang Chan Yuen, outlining it’s origin and development, particularly with reference to the Dharma School.
Then we got into the children’s programmes and I must say everybody was really impressed with the Than Hsiang children’s performances which were very professional, but the Taiping kids also sung their little hearts out too 🙂 as you will see below:
More Little Stars
Bodhi Lankarama Group…
…Singing their Heart Out
Afterwards we had puja and dana in the empty carpark at the back of the premises. The puja was with about 100 people in all, 50 from Taiping and 50 from BM, and the Taiping devotees had brought along all my favourite eateries, and we all had a great feast for lunch.
Puja in the Car Park
A Modest Dana
We just about made time for the group photo and then we had to head off for the 2nd part of the trip, which was a visit to our hill-top monastery. Now getting in here is no easy business at all as the monastery is remote from the road by about 2-3 km, and the climb is 1-in-1 in places.
We have two Burmese workers here and they normally drive us in on the back of mopeds, but of course two workers on mopeds couldn’t bring the whole group in, so most walked. I had gone ahead to prepare things. The first group to arrive were the children of course, who have so much more energy than their forebears, and amongst the first batch was little 4-year old How Xiu Ying!
The first thing everybody did was eat and drink to try and recover from the effort. Then afterwards I took them all on a tour of the temple, which everyone was impressed with, especially the fantastic views we get here.
Then there was another group photo and it was time to retire back to Taiping. Exhausted no doubt, but satisfied too.
Photos from Than Hsiang are by Bro. Cheng Why, the Vice-President of the Dharma School; those from Vivekavana are by Bro. Neal Ariyapala, the Taiping Dhamma School organiser.
Sadhu to all.