l Chinese l English l

Red Lotuses Abound
in the Valley of a Thousand Mountains

-- A report on Gold Buddha Monastery’s 20th Anniversary

Originally published in Vajra Bodhi Sea, issue 413, October, 2004
By Kai Xi / English translation by Le Dau

Gold Buddha Monastery’s 20th Anniversary: Lion Dance


Gold Buddha Monastery’s 20th Anniversary

Gold Buddha Monastery’s 20th Anniversary: Earth Store Bodhisattva Repentance

Click to see more pictures


“Wow! I’ve never been to such interesting festival. Could we do this again next year?” Several youths shared their thoughts and apparently were still savoring the joy. On September 11th and 12th, Gold Buddha Monastery (GBM) in Vancouver held a two-day celebration of its 20th Anniversary, which concluded with a festival.

A Planning Committee was formed to organize this grand celebration, and several major objectives were set:

  1.  To publish a book commemorating the 20th Anniversary and a small book of the Venerable Master's words to be distributed to all the guests.

  2. On September 11th, to hold an “opening the light” ceremony for the Buddha images in the morning and a precept transmission for the deceased in the afternoon.

  3. On September 12th, to conduct a whole-day festival that offers vegetarian delicacies has various stalls for Buddhist friends to celebrate, and to transmit the Three Refuges and Five Precepts in the afternoon.

After hearing about the activities for the 20th Anniversary, all the laypeople looked forward to it with great excitement. However, due to their lack of experience, they also felt a bit worried, because it would be challenging to organize an activity of such profound significance. During the half-year preparation, the tasks were given out one after another. The Planning Committee met and put their heads together to plan the activities. Outdoor activities in Canada require a permit. Undaunted, the Planning Committee went through each step of the process and successfully obtained the necessary permits.

A wind brought Developing Virtue Secondary School (DVS) at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas from afar to perform lion and dragon dances. There are two purposes: one is to commemorate the Venerable Master, who emphasized education and cared about youth; the other is to give DVS students an opportunity to display their talents for our Buddhist friends in Vancouver so people will get to know about the school. The students arrived in Vancouver on September 9th. With their vitality and spirit, they were the highlight of the celebration. They performed happily to the audiences great delight.

Councillor Anne Roberts of the City of Vancouver congratulated Gold Buddha Sagely Monastery on their 20-year anniversary on behalf of the city council and the people of Vancouver. During the celebration, she expressed her great respect and admiration for GBM's commitment to educating people of all ages about good living, right thinking, and other Buddhist principles. Some of her colleagues and students at Langara College, where she teaches, have also benefited from GBM's guidance. To be able to recognize GBM's contribution to the City of Vancouver on the monastery anniversary gave her much happiness.

Dharma Masters Heng Sure, Heng Lai and Heng Tso conducted the Opening Light ceremony for the images of Medicine Master Buddha, Earth Store Bodhisattva, Maitreya Buddha and the Venerable Master Hua. D.M. Sure reviewed the procedure and explained that opening the light of the Buddha image also means opening the inner light of each participant. Therefore the assembly recited the verse and the mantra with single-minded sincerity. Auspicious sounds filled the Buddha Hall, and everyone was filled with joy as they shouted, “Open!” in unison.

At lunch, the assembly watched a slide show. The series of images brought back memories of past ceremonies and activities and showed Gold Buddha Monastery development through history. Seeing the Venerable Master dignified appearance and awesome deportment, and reflecting on his teachings, also brought numerous memories. We are blessed to be able to see those photos and feel grateful for the Venerable Master’s toils and his blessings for the people of Vancouver.

In the afternoon, the Buddha Hall was so packed for the Earth Store Bodhisattva Repentance that people had to circumambulate both inside and outside of the hall. The ceremony for transmitting precepts for the deceased was conducted for the first time at GBM, and lots of people signed up. After the limit was reached, there were still people who wished to participate. When Dharma Master Sure learned of this, he announced that the basement would be opened to accommodate all those who wished to attend. Everyone was happy. Due to the sincerity of the participants, these two important ceremonies went smoothly.

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. on September 12th, GBM’s past managers shared their remembrances. Laypeople started with the song “White Universe.” The heroic melody was performed by strong male voices, ending with, “With two clenched fists shatter the covering of space. In one mouthful swallow the source of seas of Buddhalands.” It conveyed everyone's profound nostalgia for the Master. The sounds lingered and did not disperse. The song ended, yet people’s feelings endure.

The festival was conducted in the parking lot behind the temple. During the peak time, there were about six hundred people. The crowd reminded one of the holiday season. Children had the most fun, enjoying the food and games. Members of DRBY surrounded the Chinese chess tent. They were playing so intently that it was hard to separate them!

The “As You Wish Festival” was the highlight of the celebration. It involved many people and great energy. Because of their dedication, everything went well. The festival lived up to its name “As You Wish”. There were dozens of stalls selling Taiwanese products, Vietnamese snacks, and Malaysian food. Everything was sold out in a few hours. No wonder the almost exhausted volunteers were beaming--forgetting all their fatigue!

During the two days of activities, the most incredible thing was the weather. According to the forecast, there was a 90% chance of rain on the 11th and a 40% chance on the 12th. Until the late evening on the 10th, it was still pouring. Some worried that the activities would be affected, while most people thought that as long as we were sincere, there would surely be a good response. Bodhisattvas always grant people’s wishes, and sure enough both days were sunny, with warm sunshine and a light breeze.

In 1918, a sage was born at the base of the Eternally White Mountains in Manchuria. In 1976, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas welled forth from Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain. In 1984, Gold Buddha Monastery came into being because conditions were ripe. A series of footsteps connect past and present, East and West. Twenty years have passed, yet there is an even longer journey ahead.