—By Bhiksu Heng Kuan
Ceremonies opening Buddhist Temple in Vancouver B.C. were held on May 7th, 1972. The Venerable Tripitaka Master, Abbot Hsuan Hua was the Dharma Host, and ceremonies were performed by Dharma Masters from Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery in San Francisco. A detailed account of this opening may be found in issues #26 and #27 of Vajra Bodhi Sea.
On the following day, the eighth of May, many faithful followers of the Buddha had the opportunity to take refuge with the Triple Jewel and become disciples of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. Among those taking refuge was the mother of disciple Bhiksu Heng Shou, Mrs. Ruth Kane.
It is possible that those of you who attended the ceremonies didn’t notice, but I was paying particularly close attention to what was going on, and strange as it was, in addition to the many faithful Buddhists from all over the world that day, there were many flies, always buzzing here and there, back and forth, looking for food. What is even more extraordinary, the flies participated in all the ceremonies and appeared to be vigorous and diligent adepts of Buddhism. When the assembly bowed, they bowed; when the assembly recited, they recited. The flies listened to the explanations of the Sutras, meditated, hummed mantras...but much of the time they just ricocheted off walls and collided with windows, mistaking the clear brightness of the glass for a way. In spite of all their energy, the flies never did find an open window.
In order to help the Buddhist Temple in Vancouver become firmly established, four of the American Dharma Masters, led by Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien, remained in Vancouver and conducted a week of meditation and repentance for the sake of world peace. The daily schedule consisted of morning recitation at four, meditation from five until ten-thirty, meditation from one-thirty until five in the evening. From five-fifteen until six-forty—five each day the Great Compassion Repentance was again recited so that laymen and laywomen who were busy working during the day would have the opportunity to join in.
Every evening at seven o'clock Evening Recitation was chanted and the Dharma talks were given until nine P.M. The Dharma talks were delivered by each of the American Dharma Masters in turn. Each speaker spoke first in Chinese and then in English for the benefit of all who attended.
Following the session the Dharma Masters returned to San Francisco in time for the Opening of Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery and the celebration of the Buddha's birthday on May 20th.
One of the important aspects of the opening of Buddhist Temple in Vancouver was the attendance of an equal number of Asians and Westerners, a living example of the principle of harmony so basic to Buddhism. The Sino-American Buddhist Association, Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery, and Vajra Bodhi Sea Publication Society, send their sincere congratulations to The Buddhist Association of Canada and to Buddhist Temple in Vancouver, and hope that they will flourish without end.
The Elder Upasaka C.C. Lu (standing) speaks before the large audience which gathered to celebrate the opening of Buddhist Temple in Vancouver, B.C. Seated left to right are Dharma Master Heng Kuan; Dharma Master Heng Shou, Assistant Managing Director of Gold Mountain Monastery; Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua, Resident Superintendent of Gold Mountain and the Dharma Host at the opening in Vancouver; and Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien, Supervisory Director of Gold Mountain.