The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas participated in the 2001 Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show for the first time, setting up a booth and entering a float in the Fair Parade. The Fair was from Friday, September 14 to Sunday, September 16.
The Parade began at noon on Sunday. The CTTB procession was led by a truck carrying a huge sign with the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (DRBA) name and logo. That was followed by two men holding a large red banner emblazoned with "City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Dharma Realm Buddhist University, and Instilling Goodness Elementary and Developing Virtue Secondary Schools".
Next came four boys holding signs that said "Great Kindness," “Great Compassion,” “Great Joy,” and “Great Giving.” They were followed by students, parents, and teachers carrying small, yellow DRBA flags. Finally, a large white pick-up (reminiscent of a great white elephant) towed an 18-foot trailer lavishly decorated with foliage and flowers. Beneath the pink canopy with pleated yellow cloth on the borders, the scene was that of the Buddha (played by a student) seated in meditation in the forest, surrounded by Sangha members (8 Bhikshunis and 2 Shramanerikas), heavenly maidens (students) making offerings of lotuses, and forest creatures (students dressed as deer, rabbits, etc.). A message running along the sides of the canopy said, “Kindness, compassion, joy, and giving sustain Earth and its living beings.”
Originally, the plan had been for students to perform the lion and dragon dances, as well as traditional Chinese folk dance. However, after the tragedy in New York the week before, the procession was converted into a more solemn one with everyone reciting “Om Mani Padme Hum” for the entire duration of the parade, to bring peace and blessings to all.
Unexpectedly, most of the people on the streets watching the parade responded to CTTB’s float with welcoming cheers, clapping, and waving. Many even put their palms together and recited joyfully along with us. Later people came up and expressed their appreciation for CTTB’s presence in the parade. At around 4:00, the awards were announced, and CTTB’s procession received the “Best of Show” trophy in its category as a “Juniors Marching Unit.”
The CTTB booth featured Chinese vegetarian food cooked on site by the staff of CTTB’s Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant, vegetarian pastries, handicrafts made by the students and residents of CTTB, a display of Buddhist Text Translation Society publications, an exhibit about the proposed International Institute of Philosophy and Ethics (to be built at CTTB), information about Instilling Goodness Elementary School, Developing Virtue Secondary School, and Dharma Realm Buddhist University. A crew of Jyun Kang workers and other volunteers staffed the booth from early morning till late at night for three days. The spring rolls, dumplings, and other entrees were so popular that people had to keep driving back to CTTB to bring more supplies and food.
Venerable Master’s Dharma Words
The world is a product of the mind. If people’s minds are fond of killing, there will be wars in the world. If people’s minds cherish life, the world will be peaceful.