The Mangala Vihara Dhamma Fellowship annual Chinese New Year get-together for the fifth consecutive year on February 10th 2019 and ushered the Lunar New Year of the Pig.
The attendee list of members who graced the occasion comprised of Alex Lim, Alice Lim, Angelin Chong, Chan May Wan, Cheng Seow Eng, Chin Kee Thou, Christine Chiam, Cynthia Tan, David Chua, Doris Sim, Ellen Song, Hing Sing Huat, Irwan Alexander, Javier Hu, Lily Chan, Linda Sim, Raymond Yow, Sandra Koh, Suriaty Simon and Yeap Cheow Soon.
The guest roll comprised of Bhante Cakkapala, Bhante Kesara, Bhante Janasara, Bhante Seelananda, Bhante Udita and his Brother Monk, Venerable Chuan Guan, Venerable Seewali, and a special guest Dr Ang Beng Choo.
The event was held at the Yes Natural Restaurant within the vicinity of the Aljunied MRT station, a regular venue, for the convenience of both the guests and hosts.
Observing strict mealtime for monks before 12 noon, the luncheon started off well before the deadline with the signature dish of the festival season – none other than the Yu Sheng, raw fish salad (albeit, with mock fish slices).
The characteristic and essence of the dish is not in the eating but rather the mixing of the fish slices with shredded vegetables and condiments and in the mist of merriment tossing the mixtures to the possible loftiest height for wealth and prosperity. It is believed the higher the toss the greater the wealth.
The eight invited brother monks were seated in three separate tables, amongst the devotee hosts, offered an opportunity to perform dana in serving food to the sangha members. “In giving food, one gives five things. What five? One gives life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence. And in giving these things, one partakes in the quality of life, beauty, strength and intelligence, both here and hereafter.” (AN III,42).
Due to time constraint a set menu was preferred with a slight variation to the dishes. When food is consumed to sustain the body, “they always take delight in food, both devas and human beings. So what sort of spirit could it be that does not take delight in food?” (SN 1:43). However, they remained mindful and consumed food in moderation reflecting carefully as “a bhikkhus consumes food neither for amusement nor for intoxication for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness, but only for the support and maintenance of the body, for avoiding harm, and for assisting the spiritual life.” (AN 4:159).
In furtherance the practice of generosity beyond offering food to the sangha, individuals were at liberty to offer ang pow to the monks in the spirit of the festive season, steeped in the tradition of giving.
The dining came to an end and the finale was blessing of the congregation by the sangha.
The event started well and ended well. While we look forward to the next get-together we are conscious of the true nature of annica, the true nature of impermanence when “whatever exists here on earth and in space, comprised by form, included in the world – everything impermanent decays. The saga fare having pierced the truth.” (AN.1,712).
We will take it in good faith as we move along while looking forward to the next gathering.
Contributor: Chin Kee Thou
Date: February 14th 2019
Text, photos and video clips by contributor who takes responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise.
You may visit The Photo Gallery to browse or download any images for personal keepsake and not for commercial use or monetary gain.