Saturday May 5, 2012
Getting ready for Wesak Day
By ISABELLE LAI
KUALA LUMPUR: The Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple's usually serene and quiet atmosphere at Brickfields was broken by the hustle and bustle of monks and devotees preparing for Wesak Day.
Celebrated today in commemoration of Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death, weeks of planning have gone into the event so that everything will go perfectly.
Event organiser and devotee Rupavathy De Silva, 68, beamed as she gestured towards the beautiful procession float, which will be making its rounds on the streets with its 3,000 bulbs shining brightly.
The float's designer, Sri Lankan Leelasena Garanduma Kamburugamuwa, 68, was giving a final coat of paint to the elaborate design yesterday.
“Everyone has chipped in and contributed what he or she can. Those who can cook will cook for around 10,000 people while those who can do craftwork and design helped with the float,” Rupavathy said.
She said there would be dharma talks, meditation sessions and free food and drinks for the public today.
The Wesak Day procession will be a grand event, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak scheduled to make a stop at the temple in the morning.
Tents have been set up in and outside the temple compound, ready to offer devotees food and drinks, as well as religious merchandise and materials.
Several devotees, all clad in pure white to symbolise purity, also took the chance for personal reflection and meditation on the eve of Wesak.
Emily Pereira, 87, said she has been coming to the temple for over 50 years and regularly observed the eight Buddhist precepts.
“I made a vow to observe the eight precepts when my children fell sick,” she said after a short meditation session at the pagoda.
She said the eve was a great time to wind down and purify her thoughts in preparation for the celebration.
Long tents lined the main road outside the temple grounds as traders set up shop in anticipation of the huge crowd.
Ti-Ratana Welfare Society volunteer Wong Tee Liang, whose booth was filled with small pots of colourful chrysanthemum flowers and candles, said Wesak Day was very special for Buddhists.
“The flowers have been sponsored by florists and we will sell them at RM5 per pot for devotees to place on the altar. The money will be donated to the society,” he said.
Leaders send their greetings