Lion Dance

Chinese New Year Celebration
at Hsi Fang Temple
Year of the Snake

B.L.I.A. : San Diego Chapter
* * *
Photo Journal by Don Ross

Year of the Snake [2001-4699]

The altar in the Buddha Hall at Hsi-fang

My first visit to my neighborhood Ch'an temple was on 01/24/01 for their Chinese New Year Thousand Buddha Chanting Service. It was ninety minutes of chanting and praising the Three Jewels in Chinese, including the Heart Sutra, chanting the many names of [what seemed like a thousand] buddhas and bodhisattvas, coupled with prostrations and a walking meditation. This was all led by two Abbesses. It was an extremely physical-spiritual experience, which I would not hesitate to repeat.

The statues on the altar are Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva [Ch: Kuan-shih-yin; Jap: Kannon] stands on the left, Amida Buddha stands in the middle, Shakyamuni Buddha is meditating at Amida's feet in the center, and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva [Ch: Tai-shih-chih; Jap: Sei-shi] is on the right. The back wall has at least a thousand Buddhas in niches [notice the lights]. This school of Buddhism advocates the fundamental compatibility of the eight Mahayana Schools [Esoteric, Ch'an, Pure Land, Yogacara, San-lun, Hua-Yen, Vinaya and Tien-tai].

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