Yesterday late evening, I went to Yio Chu Kang Stadium. I was invited by my friend over for the 48th Tzu Chi Day during MDC. And just so happened that my Mum was attending the same thing in Batu Kawan, so since I can't skype her anyway, I decided to fill my timetable with one interesting event. I went over from school, grabbing a glut of onigiri (well, more than how much I could eat for the time being) and was surprisingly early for the event. Since I was not the participant but just random guest, I was not required to arrive early for rehearsals.
The stadium was lined with flags of Tzu Chi (the green lotus-shaped logo) and the universal Buddhist flag (the colourful one, obviously).
Well, I said I was early as guest, but I didn't say I was early overall, because look at that! The people were already lining up in their formation on the field in their uniforms!
And each of us were given this little lotus torch (which we need to return for re-use in future).
And the ceremony started with prayers and chanting, speeches from different people. It was a very short and simple ceremony. For the Vesak part, we pay homage for the teacher, for great wisdom. This is like what we should do to our teachers during Teachers' Day - we took teacher's teaching for granted nowadays...
The whole thing was rather peaceful and meaningful as to remind us of our awareness. However, I do feel that part of it was a bit too ceremonious and when this is an inter-faith thing, some of the people whom are not comfortable in praying or joining in a different religion activities might had a few awkward moments, let's say when Buddhists were praying in our own way. But of course, everyone was encouraged to pray in their preferred way, so I guess it should be fine. I was gratified by the fact that we are here not to promote each and every of our religion or faith or believes (you can not believe in anything and still be here), and mainly focus on our awareness in protecting the world, hoping for peace and a little bit of celebrating mother's day. I do feel bad for the poor fathers (well, every day is mother and father day, to be truth).
Yup, so my opinion was the intention was good, but the whole thing is a bit too ritualistic. I myself have my own lifestyle rituals - but I prefer rituals with meanings. Or perhaps, I have not understand all the meanings of the rituals yet.
Nonetheless, it was a very fine evening.