The Lunar New Year Blessing Ceremony
Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale held an auspicious blessing ceremony on Sunday, January 25, 2009, to celebrate the Lunar New year in dedication of harmony and peace to the world.
The Abbot, Ven. JianHu, led more than 400 people to chant the Universal Gateway of Bodhisattva Guan Yin in Mandarin, the Heart Sutra in English and the offering of flowers to the Buddha. The two-hour ceremony was concluded in the echo of the Blessing Bell that was stroked by every individual with his/her own unique wish.
Once again, the Zen Center demonstrated that We are ONE with the blessings from representatives form various cultures and religions. This included Rev. Father Jose Rubio of Catholics, Rev. Margo Tenold of Christian, Mr. Stephen Tolchin of Jewish community, and Ms. Maha Elgenaid of Muslim organization whose blessings were performed in both English and their own religions’ languages. Sunnyvale Councilman, Mr. Dean Chu also gave an inspirational talk.
The Dharma Talk by Ven. JianHu was based on The Ten Oxherding Pictures displayed on the wall of Zen Hall. From searching for the Ox, Discovering the Footprints to Returning to the Source and Entering the World, the Zen teaching was presented to all attendees with joy, tranquility and humor.
International vegetarian luncheon featured 52 dishes originating from China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Korean, Thailand, Russian, Germany, Iran, and India, which symbolized the 52 stages on the path to Buddhahood. Every dish showed the amazing talents and unique characteristic of the presenters and regions vividly.
Along with the luncheon, a two-hour performance was another highlight of the afternoon. The afternoon programs opened with Buddhist Ceremonial Drum by Jian Nian Fa Shi followed by the blessings from Mr. Thomas Chen, Director General of Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in San Francisco. Mr. Chen also surprised everyone with his powerful yet touching tenor voice singing “Self-Searching” and won great applause.
The famous calligrapher, Mr. Mei-Chu Cheng, introduced meaningful couplets to greet the year of the Ox. The Jewish organization warmly presented holy blessing songs and the Night Kats performed modern music with traditional Chinese musical instruments. The fascinating program was concluded by Zen Choir with two Songs, the Rice Sprout and the Bodhi Flower whose lyrics were edited by Ven. JianHu.
Around 1:30pm, the Santa Clara County District 3 Supervisor, Mr. David Cortese visited the Zen Center with his beautiful wife who wore an elegant Chinese style jacket. The San Jose City District 4 Council member, Mr. Kansen Chu also arrived with his wife around the same time. After the blessings were presented, both couples had a delightful tour of Zen Center accompanied with Ven. JianHu.
The year of the Ox has started with the magnificent Lunar New Year Blessing Ceremony at Zen Center. May the world be filled with peace and harmony every moment!