Greater than 800 devotees, younger and outdated, gathered on videoconferencing platform Zoom to meditate on Vesak Day yesterday, in a “Nice Metta Sit” that despatched ideas of affection and kindness to all dwelling beings on the earth.
It’s the first time the Singapore Buddhist Mission (SBM) has held such a mass on-line meditation session to mark Vesak Day, which commemorates the Buddha’s beginning, enlightenment and passing.
The occasion was organised by youth between 15 and 35, and included a web based live performance that includes greater than 10 Buddhist musicians right here and overseas.
Its theme, “OneMettaApart”, was a wordplay on the “one metre aside” social distancing chorus and “Metta”, which is a type of meditation. It was a nod to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has pressured bodily celebrations of Vesak Day on-line for the second consecutive 12 months.
Round Singapore yesterday, Buddhist temples live-streamed their Vesak Day ceremonies to keep away from having 1000’s of individuals congregating on the similar time.
However in contrast to final 12 months, when Vesak Day came about throughout the circuit breaker, temples stayed open for folks to supply their prayers.
As an example, the Singapore Buddhist Lodge in River Valley opened to devotees solely after 12.30pm, after Vesak Day ceremonies led by monks had concluded.
Different temples opened slots for reserving by devotees to maintain to the utmost capability of fifty folks.
Historically, Buddhists go to temples on Vesak Day for rituals reminiscent of chanting, the three-step-one-bow and bathing of the Buddha statue, or to participate in retreats.
With greater than 1,000,000 followers right here, Buddhism is Singapore’s largest faith, practised by greater than 30 per cent of the inhabitants.
The Vesak Day rituals additionally embrace a lightweight transference ceremony the place devotees carry lighted candles whereas chanting the title of Buddha. At Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, the nation’s largest monastery, this has been postponed.
Nevertheless it live-streamed to devotees the opposite spotlight – the washing of Prince Siddhartha, the place perfumed water is poured over the younger Buddha to indicate his beginning.
Ms Amy Tong, 35, who participated in SBM’s celebrations from her residence, mentioned she was “touched to tears” despite the fact that she couldn’t bodily be with different devotees.
“Due to know-how, we’re nonetheless in a position to come collectively,” added Ms Tong, who works within the banking business. “I may really feel their ardour via the display.”
A Burmese devotee, who needed to be identified solely as Ms Tun, mentioned she and her household stayed residence this 12 months, “as there’s nothing vital that may be completed at a temple that may’t be completed at residence”.
The 39-year-old housewife would often go to Satipatthana Meditation Centre in Sembawang on Vesak Day.
“The scenario cannot be helped… (however) we miss seeing pals on the temple and the meals,” she mentioned.
Minister for Dwelling Affairs and Legislation Okay. Shanmugam, who participated in SBM’s “Nice Metta Sit”, mentioned in a gap speech that the web Vesak Day celebrations this 12 months don’t change the essence of the way in which of Buddha.
“Doing of fine deeds, reflecting on teachings of the venerable Buddha, spreading the message of peace, love and kindness. These stay unchanged,” he mentioned.
Wishing all devotees a blessed Vesak Day, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong famous that whereas some temples are open this 12 months, Covid-19 precautions stay in place for security.
“Even if you cannot go to a temple, I hope you proceed to practise the virtues of Buddha: kindness, endurance, generosity and compassion,” he mentioned. “That is one thing the world wants extra of, particularly throughout this pandemic.”