20,000 devotees take part in Vesak Day ceremony

20,000 devotees take part in Vesak Day ceremony

In her daily life, Madam Ang Poh Ting struggles with even simple things like walking.

But yesterday evening, Madam Ang, who has suffered several strokes, did not just walk but bowed as well.

The 49-year-old did not allow her condition to stop her from taking part in the "three-step, one-bow" ceremony at the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery to mark Vesak Day.

The ceremony began at around 5pm and was led by a group of monks from the temple in Bright Hill Road.

A total of 20,000 devotees walked around the temple, taking a bow with every three steps as a sign of reverance for Buddha and repentance for one's past misdeeds.

Each devotee took about 2½ hours to complete the entire ritual, which lasted till early this morning.

For Madam Ang, who used a walking stick throughout, every step was a struggle.

But the strong-willed woman, who was also helped by a temple volunteer and her friend, persevered.

DETERMINED

The friend, who wanted to be known only as Madam Tan, 64, told The New Paper: "Madam Ang is a really devoted Buddhist and a very determined woman. She insisted on coming despite her condition because she said this is something she has to practise as part of her religion every year. I accompanied her because I was worried about her doing this alone."

The ceremony had participants both old and young.

Clive Loo, five, was taking part in his second ceremony.

"I enjoyed performing the ritual when I did it the first time last year. So I wanted to come again this year," said Clive, who was accompanied by his father, Mr Charlie Loo.

Mr Loo, 37, a sales consultant, said: "Clive was the one who said he wanted to join me. Even though he is young, he already knows how to say the chants while performing the ceremony."

A temple spokesman said: "It was crowded, like past years, but the temple staff were all ready and on standby to ensure the smooth running of the ceremony and to administer first aid, if necessary."

This year, devotees could also pay respects to Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March.

The temple dedicated a Gratitude Corner to him to commemorate Singapore's 50 years of independence and to remember the hard work of the country's pioneers and founding fathers.


This article was first published on June 1, 2015.
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