Author: Andrew Yang
On August 4, 2018, the International Buddhist Temple held a successful Seniors Day Celebration. Nearly a thousand seniors attended the event, enjoying a full day of entertainment as well as tasty vegetarian food and gift bags filled with love. They prayed for blessings from the Buddha and Guanyin Bodhisattva for all elders and their families.
It was a beautiful summer day and the crowds, full of energy, filled temple grounds and halls. The chefs had started preparing the food for the big day five days earlier. Assisted by some 40 volunteers, they cooked and brought warm, delicious vegetarian lunch to the 1,000 people in the shortest time possible.
Before lunch, Venerable Guan Cheng, abbot of the Buddhist Temple, led the seniors and volunteers in chanting the Buddha’s name and shared teachings of Guanyin Bodhisattva about compassion and mercy. He encouraged all to learn to worship the Buddha and Guanyin Bodhisattva through chanting and other ways of Buddhist practice. Later he cut a giant longevity cake and wished health and happiness for all seniors.
Sitting among the guests were 90-year-old Xikai Qiu and Mrs Qiu. They have been coming to the temple by bus regularly since 1987 and have been at every Seniors Day Celebration. Here, they were happy to find respect for elders and for worshipping the Buddha. They are looking forward to coming back next year.
Stella Leung, coordinator of the events, said that the temple had issued 900 passes including lunch and gift vouchers. As in previous years, the number of all those enjoying the vegetarian lunch exceeded one thousand. She thanked the many sponsors, volunteers and staff for their hard work, so that all events of the day went smoothly.
Among this year’s entertainment lineup was a special performance from the temple choir led by Venerable Guan Cheng, of songs that included “Purify the Mind”, “Three Jewels”, and “Longevity” sung in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
Nearly a hundred volunteers participated in the events, many of whom have been assisting for more than 20 years. Volunteers Qixia Chen and Sici Dong said that they saw many seniors come early to queue up and were happy to see them have a good time meeting the masters and friends. They said that their orderly conduct and appreciation was a big reason the events’ success. David Westdorp, also a volunteer, said that he was happy to see such big crowds of elders gathered together enjoying themselves. He was honored to have the opportunity to take the precepts and now serve the seniors.
The Seniors Day Celebration events began at 10 am and ended at around 3 pm. Entertainment as well as the draw prizes and gift bags were kindly sponsored by individuals and organizations including Mr William Tse and family, and Mr and Mrs Pak Hang Tse.
The Seniors Day Celebration is free and open to all seniors and prior registration is needed. For more information, please visit the events section on our website (buddhisttemple.ca).