JENJAROM, Jan 9 (Sin Chew Daily) — Dong Zen Temple’s Chinese New Year mass blessing will start on January 28 to mark the beginning of the Year of the Tiger.
The two-week sessions will offer devotees a blessed and peaceful year through prayers.
Famous for its annual lantern festivals during Chinese New Year, Dong Zen Temple converts this year’s lantern festival to mass blessing sessions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and floods.
Lanterns inside the temple will not be lit throughout the Chinese New Year period but only for nine days.
A 12-foot-high tiger is the theme for this year, reminding one to be as brave as a tiger in taking on the challenges while living peacefully with others.
A boat with bodhisattvas is decorated with lanterns to signify seeking refuge in Buddha for one to ride out the storms.
One of the highlights is the story of 18th arhats containing a fierce tiger by sharing his food and playing with it.
Taking cue from the tiger, Master Hsing Yun, founder of the Taiwan-based Fo Guang Shan to which Dong Zen Temple is attached, delivered his message in a calligraphy for the upcoming Chinese New Year: “May all beings live without fear and coexist in peace”, encouraging all to take on their challenges without fear.
Fo Guang Shan Malaysia Chief Abbess Ven Jue Cheng said visitors to Dong Zen Temple must comply with the strict standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The temple has made some adjustments in order to hold the blessing sessions throughout the Chinese New Year period for all to have a peaceful and blessed year.
“The lantern festival used to be the reason for devotees and members of the public to visit Dong Zen Temple during Chinese New Year. This year, one should be in the temple for the blessings while enjoying the lanterns becomes secondary.
“We should be as brave as the tigers in our battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and coexist with the virus in a peaceful manner,” said Ven Jue Cheng.
To comply with the SOPs, the temple limits the number of visitors by requiring visitors to make an online appointment through its website. A visitor is only allowed entry after completing screening.
Lanterns at the temple will be lit on the following dates: January 28 and 31, February 1, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13 and 15.
Those unable to visit the temple will get to have a virtual tour of the temple through virtual reality with a variety of online events such as art exhibition, musical show and blessing sessions.
“We will still have prayer sessions to bless those who are unable to visit the temple for the lanterns,’’ she said.
The temple will also make arrangements for senior citizens to have dinner at the temple.
Unlike the young ones who are internet savvy, many old people look forward to have prayers in the temple, she said.
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