On June 13, over forty seniors attended a very special event: Buddha Gate Monastery’s first ever day-long Infinite Life Retreat. Participants began the day in silent meditation, toured the monastery grounds, and enjoyed a special vegetarian lunch prepared in their honor. The afternoon was spent enjoying a variety of activities: flower arranging, calligraphy, tai chi, and a traditional tea service. The retreat was an opportunity for the participants to further their Buddhist practice and a wonderful way for us to honor our elders and express our respect and gratitude.
From August 4 to 7, 80 students ranging in age from 5 to 13 attended Buddha Gate Monastery’s second annual Bodhi Seed Summer Camp. Campers began each morning with sitting meditation and a story illustrating the theme for the day: Bodhi, Respect, Kindness, Harmony, Truthfulness and Gratitude. The activities that followed reflected the theme for that day. Campers had fun exploring nature and the arts, with scouting activities, Bodhi seeds planting, environmentally-friendly crafts, calligraphy, Mandarin lessons, singing, learning Dharma instruments, and baking cookies. Tai Chi and martial arts were popular activities as well. The camp was staffed by many diligent volunteers. Children built lasting friendships, developed a better sense of their moral compass, and had lots of fun!
On May 22, Buddha Gate Monastery celebrated Buddha’s birthday with the traditional Buddha Bathing Ceremony. Members of the Buddha Gate community, family, friends, and guests participated in this annual cleansing ceremony. By bathing a statue of the baby Buddha, we had an opportunity to inwardly cleanse away our anger, greed and ignorance, and focus on our pure (Buddha) nature.
On February 14, a record number of participants came to Buddha Gate Monastery to partake in the special Chinese New Year Blessing Ceremony. The meditation hall and back room were packed; latecomers spilled into the parking area to listen to the special Dharma Talk from the Abbess, Master Jian Sheng. The ceremony concluded with everyone taking turns striking the giant bell, symbolizing the awakening from our delusions and liberation for all sentient beings. Then all participants were invited to stay for a vegetarian meal.
On February 13,Chinese New Year’s eve,family and friends gathered at the Monastery lecture hall for a reunion lunch. During and after the hot pot lunch, members came up to the stage and shared heart-warming tales and reflections of their experience at the Monastery and how their life has been transformed by Buddhism.
On January 1, 2010 the Monastery was festive and lively as hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the New Year. The Blessing Ceremony included Grand Offerings to the Buddha and Sangha, chanting the Diamond Sutra, and a special Dharma Talk from the Abbess, Master Jian Sheng. The ceremony concluded with everyone taking turns striking the giant bell, symbolizing the awakening from our delusions and liberation for all sentient beings.