Memory.. Little threads that hold life's patches of meaning together. ~ Mark Twain

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Do The Buddhism Chant

My family, especially Dad are into Buddhism, whereas I, the black sheep, is into Christianity. However, this doesn't mean that I can't understand what other religions are all about. And so, when Dad invited Buddhist monks over to our place for a chanting session last morning, I respected what they did and I helped around.

Ever since Yeh Yeh passed away almost 2 years ago, Dad has been diligently involved himself in Buddhism, reading books related to it, listening to suttas, and attending classes at Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields. This is the second time we have invited monks and relatives over.

Early in the morning, we prepared food, pot luck style. There are not much of restrictions of what type of food can the monks eat, in fact, they take meat too. The only thing we have to do, is to offer food without bones or seeds. Like, chicken, oh, they've got to be boneless. Watermelons seeds got to be taken out.

My relatives came over by 10am, and we waited while Dad drove out to pick up the monks from somewhere in Puchong. Some monks are a bit strict, a cloth needs to be placed on top of the seat and they sit on the cloth. But the monks we invited yesterday were simple. So no need cloth. They arrived by 10.30am and the monks prepared themselves as all of us kneeled/sit around, facing them. They chanted and we followed suit. I 'pulak', just sat, and looked around... Or I excused myself and hid in the kitchen. Hehe..


The invited monks

After the chanting session, was the Q&A session. The monk preached a lot about karma.. How one should do a lot of good deeds so that he/she will have a good life when he/she reincarnates. How one should avoid temptation, greed and judgement. The thing I noticed is that, Buddhism is more towards teaching on how one should lead his/her life (be as simple as possible, but happily), not must do this, must do that. To have a healthy and worryless mind and soul so that one can have a healthy body too. Some Christians on the other hand, are too focused into what the Bible says, cannot do this or that coz the Bible says so. Why? Coz the Bible says so lar..

So anyway, the monks are not to eat anytime after noon arises, so we offered them their lunch. Reason being was that, according to the monk, Buddha said that monks should avoid cravings and the more they eat, they tend to get even sleepy. So it became a rule that monks can eat anytime when the sun rises until before noon starts. Anytime after that, they can only drink water, but not eat. As I've mentioned, these monks were very simple, some monks were so strict that we have to kneel to offer them dishes, and they have to touch the dishes (like some kind of a blessing). All we needed to do, were to serve them food, that's it. After they've eaten, then it was our turn to feast.


Food we prepared for them and for ourselves

Once we were done, they conducted a short chanting session and we prepared a bowl of water, together with a 'look yau' leaf for them to sprinkle onto us and around the house for blessing. And after that, we took photos. Very high tech, you know, the monk. He has his own Kodak digital camera. He said, "if you don't know how to use it, I teach you". *lol*


Bowl of water for sprinkle

After the photography session, Dad fetched them back to their temple. Then it was time to wash the dishes and clean up the place.. It's a learning experience lar, I must say.. And those people who think that Buddhist offer joss sticks to various Gods, that's Taoism, not Buddhism. Tak belajar in Sejarah ke?


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