“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:
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.
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.
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
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.