Announcement: Dhamma Talk “Happiness is Free” by Bhante Buddharakkhita

Happiness is free and does not cost you a dime. Admission is also free. The only cost is your free time. So free yourself to listen to the free talk to get free happiness on May 21st 2018.

Dhamma Talk May 21 2018

All are welcome

Submitted by Chin Kee Thou

Date: April 2nd 2018

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An audio recording “Protection in Buddhist Perspective” by Phra Ajaan Keng

Propagation of the Dhamma to all who care and wish to listen is indeed a noble deed. The Buddha travelled throughout his 45 years of ministry and preached His Dhamma wherever and whenever possible. “The Buddha, unlike most other teachers, did not use only His monastery or His auditorium for teaching. The Buddha taught His disciples mostly in the open air. The Buddha’s class-rooms were very public parks, cemeteries, rock-slabs, sandy stretches, shade of trees, fields, roads and the forest.” (“The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, The Supreme Buddha” by Venerable Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero).

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Following the footsteps of the Buddha Phra Ajhaan Keng travelled to Mangala Vihara (Buddhist Temple) and delivered his talk at Chew Quee Neo Hall.

The Mangala Vihara Dhamma Fellowship was grateful to Phra Ajaan Keng who graciously accepted an invitation and delivered a Dhamma talk on March 5th 2018 at the Chew Quee Neo Hall. This talk, an event organised by the Buddhism in Daily Life under its Dhamma Talk series, was his second appearance. As with his any other talks, it attracted the usual large turnout with a crowd that filled to the brim of the hall at the Mangala Vihara (Buddhist Temple).

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The usual full house capacity crowd.

The session kick started with a short guided meditation dawned on the issue of mindfulness, a basic theme of his talk to achieve calmness and concentration to develop wisdom for achievement for protection.

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Guided meditation in progress.

Reaching out to a larger audience and to maximise the benefits of the talk and for those who were interested but were unable to attend for whatever reasons, this audio recording is for you and also for those attendees who may wish to listen to it again.

The gift of Dhamma excels all other gifts. (Dhammapada 354).

The audio track was recorded with a garage-type setup equipment.

Question from the floor in the Q & A session.

Sister Lily Chan raised the questions sent to her smartphone.

Transferring, sharing and dedication of merits to the departed ones.

The questions and answers session was well received and the happy event ended with the transferring and sharing and dedication of merits to the departed ones.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Contributors:

Text and photos by Chin Kee Thou

Audio recording by Chin Kee Thou assisted by David Chua

Date: March 6th 2018

The Photo Gallery is opened for your viewing pleasure.

The contributors collectively take responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise.

 

 

Posted in Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life | 3 Comments

Dhamma Talk – “Protection in Buddhists Perspective” by Phra Ajaan Keng

Do you need to acquire amulets or talismans or chant parittas for protection?

Do make a date on March 5th 2018 and listen to what Pra Ajaan Keng has to say.

All are welcome.

 

Submitted by: Chin Kee Thou

Date: February 27th 2018

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma Talk, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life | Leave a comment

A new milestone for Sutta Study Class 2018 with video recording

Preamble

The Sutta Study Class made its debut on August 14th 2013 is now in its sixth consecutive year commenced class on February 24th 2018. It is one of the courses, the other being Buddhism in Daily Life, Abhidhamma in Daily Life and Nykaya Sharing, organised by the Mangala Vihara Dhamma Fellowship under the education programme for those who wish to learn and practise the Dhamma without the loathsome or fervent fear of sitting for examinations. There were 126 participants who attended the class clearly signified the popularity of the course.

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A full-house capacity signified the popularity of the course.

Practice above theory

The aim of the class is to teach the discourses or teachings of the Buddha from the Sutta Pitaka gears towards putting the Dhamma into practice in daily life rather than a par excellence academic pursuit.

Though much he recites the Sacred Texts, but acts not accordingly, that heedless man is like a cowherd who counts others’ kine. He has no share in the fruits of the Holy Life.” (Dhp. 19)

“Though little he recites the Sacred Texts, but acts in accordance with the teachings, forsaking lust, hatred and ignorance, truly knowing, with mind well freed, clinging on naught here and hereafter, he shares the fruits of the Holy Life.” (Dhp. 20)

A Competent Teacher

Under the tutelage of an able teacher in Bhante Cakkapala who is fluent in Burmese, Pali and English as well as conversant in the Suttas Pitaka is able to elucidate salient points by making references from the commentaries and sub-commentaries. These commentaries and sub-commentaries are available in Burmese, Pali, Singha and Thai language and currently no similar English translated version available in the market.  Hence, it is very difficult to understand the profound subtleties in the Buddhist scriptures without the guidance of a competent teacher.

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An able and competent teacher in the Suttas and conversant in Burmese, Pali and English.

There are, however, some Suttas translated in the English language that come with commentaries, but few in between.  The only English translated commentaries that I am aware of are The Udana Commentary and The Commentary on the Itivuttaka by Peter Masefield published by The Pali Text Society. The Suttanipata together with its commentaries translated from Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi published by Wisdom Publications released in September 2017 is the latest reference manual  available.

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Suttanipata with its commentary translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

Unique Teaching Method

There are 11,813 suttas contained in the five Nikayas from the Sutta Pitaka and less than 4% or about 400 suttas are for the laypeople. (Source: The Buddha’s Teachings to Lay People. John Kelly, Equinox Publishing Ltd, UK).  However, many of the suttas relevant to the monks are also applicable to the lay people. During the forty-five years of the Buddha ministry He preached His doctrines to suit the occasions and for various people with different abilities and temperament. (The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, The Supreme Buddha by Venerable Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero). Thus a single subject or topic was expounded in many ways to suit the audience, and all these pertinent and ancillary suttas are found in the five different Nikayas.

Likewise in the Sutta Study Class a pertinent sutta on the selected subject or topic is supplemented with ancillary suttas from the other Nikayas.  The explanation and elaboration are further supplemented from commentaries and sub-commentaries to give a precise definition and meaning on any moot point to reflect the true teachings. The unique feature of the teaching method of the class is the inclusion of Abhidhamma as concomitant to the suttas.  “Abhidhamma is interpreted as an Exception and special teaching as it is more significant than Sutta Pitaka as far as the method of treatment is concerned. It shouldn’t be understood as higher than Sutta Pitaka”, in the considered opinion of Bhante Cakkapala that will further enhance the elucidations.

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“Abhidhamma should not be understood as higher than Sutta Pitaka”.

New Milestone of the Sutta Study Class – Video Recording

During the preceding years MS PowerPoint slides were used during the class and the audio tracks were recorded during the presentation. Subsequently the files were uploaded to Dropbox for the attendees to download.

The collaboration with Bhante Cakkkapla to video record his lessons for the global arena was mooted almost two years ago and was he not ready then. With experience and confidence gained over the years he is now comfortable and ready to face the camera and we were glad to capitalise on the opportunity amidst favourable conditions with the debut recording of the first lesson on February 22nd 2018.

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Video recording in progress by Brother Yeap Cheow Soon.

Thus, the year 2018 marked a significant milestone of the Sutta Study Class with a video recording of the first lesson of the year uploaded to YouTube and then embedded and linked to the MVDF webpage, thanks to the inventor of the “world wide web” (www), Tim Berners-Lee and the internet.

Reaching out to the global arena is imperative and it is indeed a noble deed to follow the footstep of the Buddha in spreading Buddhism for the benefit of mankind, albeit, in the modern era vide the digital platform.

“Bhikkhus, go out in all the eight directions for the mundane and supramundane welfare, prosperity and happiness of the many beings, such devas, humans and Brahmas.  Let not two of you travel together for each journey, ………………………..

“Bhikkhus, teach the Dhamma that is full of virtuous qualities in all its three phases, namely, the beginning, the middle and the end; and endowed with the spirit and the letter. ……………………..

“Bhikkhus, there are many beings, such as devas, humans and Brahmas, who have little dust of impurity in their eyes of wisdom.  Through not hearing the Dhamma, they will suffer a great loss of the extraordinary Dhamma which is the Path and the Fruition.” (Maha Vegga, 19-20; Dii,48).

Readers may view the first recording from the hyperlink: 01. Sutta Study Class (Batch 2)

Token of Appreciation

The video recording was made possible with the effort and contributions of the dedicated crew in Brother Chan Tuck Sing who sourced and donated the webcam, Brother Yeap Cheow Soon who downloaded the driver and tested the webcam and successfully recorded the session with his laptop on loan and Brother Chin Kee Thou who mooted the idea and orchestrated it and contributed a tripod and thumb drive.

The Mangala Vihara Dhamma Fellowship would like to accord a token of appreciation to the video recording crew.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: 26th February 2018.

The Photo Gallery  is opened for your viewing pleasure.

Text and photos by Chin Kee Thou

Video recording by Brother Yeap Cheow Soon

(The contributors jointly ad severally take responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise).

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Courses, Dhamma in Daily Life, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life, Sutta Study Class, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Those who know speak little” Audio recording of Dhamma Talk by Sister Sylvia Bay

The month of February is the second month of the year and this Dhamma Talk by Sister Sylvia Bay on February 12th was also the second talk of the year in the current series.

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Sister Sylvia Bay, second speaker for the year with her talk.

Like all her other talks it was full capacity with many regular and staunch attendees followed her like a shadow where ever she appears.

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Regular and staunch attendees followed her like a shadow.

Much as many of them would like to attend the talk but due work commitment or any other reasons had to give it a miss.

Thus aim of the Mangala Vihara Dhamma Fellowship in the propagation of the Dhamma is to reach out to as many audience as possible and hence this audio recording is for their benefit.

A Dhamma talk would not be complete without the usual questions and answers session.

Q n A

Question from the floor.

The gift of the Dhamma excels all other gifts. (Dph 354)

Contributors:

Text and photos: Chin Kee thou

Audio recording:  Chin Kee Thou assisted by David Chua and Chan May Wan

Date: February 13th 2018

The contributors collectively and jointly take responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise.

You may visit The Photo Gallery  for more photos.

 

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Dhamma Talk, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life, Sutta Study Class, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mangala Vihara Dhamma Fellowship’s Chinese New Year “Lo Hei” (捞起) luncheon gathering 2018 – zodiac sign for the Year of the Dog

Preamble

The Mangala Vihara Dhamma Fellowship (MVDF) held its third Chinese New Year luncheon gathering on February 10th 2018 and ushered in the zodiac sign Year of the Dog which falls on 16th February.  Abiding to the wise teachings of Lord Buddha, the MVDF also held regular scheduled meetings through the years, in addition to the yearly Chinese New Year festive luncheon gatherings for the past two years. “Ananda, as long as the Vajjians hold regular and frequent assemblies, they may be expected to prosper and not decline. Ananda, as long as the Vjjians meet in harmony, break up in harmony, and carry on their business in harmony, they may be expected to prosper and not decline.(D.ii,74). Hence, the MVDF in its ninth year of existence had sailed through stormy seas, overcame turbulent weathers and gone through trials and tribulations and yet survived against all odds though not unscathed.

Full Attendance, Esteemed Guests and Volunteer-Guests

The EXCO members in full attendance were Brothers Raymond Yow, Alex Lim, Chan Tuck Sing, Chin Kee Thou, David Chua, Hing Sing Huat and Yeap Cheow Soon; Sisters Angelin Chong, Chan May Wan, Cheng Seow Eng, Christine Chaim, Doris Sim, Ellen Song, Heng Qwee Siang, Lily Chan, Linda Sim, Suriaty Simon and Upekka Tan.

It was indeed a noble deed for the sangha as esteemed guests who gracefully accepted the invitations and graced the occasion. They were Venerable Professor Gallelle Sumanasiri – Vice-Chancellor of Buddhist and Pali College, Sri Lanka; Bhante Rathanasara – Resident monk of Dhammakami Buddhist Society; Bhante Seelananda – Vice-Principal of Buddhist and Pali College, Singapore and Bhante Cakkapala – MVDF’s Spiritual Advisor. The cohesion of the sangha would ensure continuity of the linage: “As long as the monks hold regular and frequent assemblies, they may be expected to prosper and not decline. As long as they meet in harmony, and carry on their business in harmony, they may be expected to prosper and not decline.(D.ii,77).

As with the past Chinese New Year festive luncheon gatherings where Brother Hing Sing Huat from the Mandarin class in 2016 was a guest, since inducted as an EXCO member; and Brother Jebsons Chua in 2017 from Buddhist and Pali College. For this gathering the guests’ list included: Sister Alice – a regular volunteer with the Community Outreach programme; Sister Sandra Koh who assisted in the Abhidhamma in Daily Class; Brother Jebsons Chua from Buddhist and Pali College and Brother Tham Chee Keong, a volunteer who rendered assistance in many MVDF’s activities. Last but not least the Chairman of Mangla Vihara (Buddhist Temple), Dr Lim Ah Sawn made his debut attendance

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Full attendance of EXCO members with esteemed guests.

“鱼生”  捞起   

The event was held at the Yes Natural Vegetarian Restaurant and in honouring the tradition on monks’ meal time, the hosts and guests dined before midday as monks are “not allowed to store up food and drinks(D.i,5) and “refrained from causing injury to seeds or plants and eat one meal a day, not eating at night, refraining food after hours (after midday)”. (D.i,6, M.i,180). The Viumuttimagga further elaborates on the benefits of observance of ‘no food after time’. “One abandons greed and experienced the joy of self-restraint. One protects the body, and avoids taking food in advance, does not hanker, does not ask others for things, does not follow his inclination. This is an observance of good men. This observance is doubt-free.”

For simplicity, an eight course menu with yu sheng was the choice. This traditional and the must-have dish of 生, also known as Chinese New Year Raw Fish Salad which is available during the Chinese New Year festive period, albeit a vegetarian version with mock fish slices. It is a dish made up of ten ingredients mixed together before eating.

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This traditional and the must-have dish of 鱼生.

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It is believed that the higher the toss the more abundance of good fortune.

The essence of the dish is not in the eating but rather the significance of mixing and tossing of the ingredients known as ‘捞起‘ for prosperity and good fortune.  It is believed that the higher the toss the more abundance of good fortune. Thus the thrill was in the tossing of the salad with merriments to the possible loftiest height and uttered auspicious couplets of good health, wealth and of course the fortuitous word of “發” or “HUAT AHH!”

 

Sanghika Dana

A total of 27 diners including four monks graced the event and three tables were booked to accommodate them. Two tables were assigned with one monk each while the third table with two monks to enable all the participants of each respective table a chance to perform a noble deed of dana or generosity, made offering of food to them.  “Bhikkhus, if beings knew, as I know, the results of giving and sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would they allow the stain of meanness to obsess them and take root in their minds. Even if it were their last morsel, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared it, if there were someone to share it with. But, bhikkhus, as beings do not know, as I know, the result of giving and sharing, they eat without having given, and the stain of meanness obsesses them and takes root in their minds.(It 26).

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“Bhikkhus, if beings knew, as I know, the results of giving and sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would they allow the stain of meanness to obsess them and take root in their minds.” (It 26)

When the sangha accepted invitations for the luncheon it was an honour and opportunity to perform sanghkit dana and made offering of meals to them. When food is needed to satisfy hunger and 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). 

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“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).

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“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).

The benefits of alms offering

When one offered food in such a joyful event like singhikat dana, was indeed a noble deed not only accrued merits for this life but also the next life.One who respectfully gives timely food to those self-controlled one who eats what other give, provides them with four things: life, beauty, happiness and strengthen. The man who gives life and beauty, who give happiness and strengthen, will obtain long life and fame wherever his is reborn.(AN 4:58)

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“One who respectfully gives timely food to those self-controlled one who eats what other give, provides them with four things: life, beauty, happiness and strengthen. The man who gives life and beauty, who give happiness and strengthen, will obtain long life and fame wherever his is reborn.” (AN 4:58)

General Siha asked the Lord: ”Is it possible to see the results of generosity?”  And the Lord said: “Yes it is possible to see the result of generosity.  The giver, the generous one, is liked and dear to many. … Good and wise people follow the generous person. … The generous person earns a good reputation. … This is the result of generosity. Once again, in whatever company he enters, be it nobles, brahims, householders or monks, the generous enters with confidence and without trouble.  And finally, the giver, the generous person, is reborn in heaven after death.  This is a result of generosity that can be seen hereafter.” (A.III,39).

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“And finally, the giver, the generous person, is reborn in heaven after death. This is a result of generosity that can be seen hereafter.” (A.III,39)

 “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 qualities of life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence, both here and thereafter.” (A.III,42). “When they give out of faith with a heart of confidence, food accrues to (the giver) himself both in this world and the next.” (SN 1:43).

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“When they give out of faith with a heart of confidence, food accrues to (the giver) himself both in this world and the next.” (SN 1:43).

Give or donate according to your means

In almsgiving it is the thought that matters and according to one’s ability and the suitability of the gifts to the receivers not the quantity. “Does almsgiving become especially productive of great fruit only when it is liberality of such magnificent sort as this, or is it rather when it is a liberality in accordance with one’s means?” The Blessed One said, “Not merely by efficiency of the gift does giving become especially productive of great fruit, but rather through efficiency of the thought and efficiency of the field of those to whom the alms are given. Therefore even so little as a handful of rice-bean or a piece of rag or a spread of grass or leaves or a gall-nuts in decomposing (cattle-)urine bestowed with devout  heart upon a person who is worthy of receiving a gift of devotion will be the great fruit, of great splendour and of great pervasiveness.” (Vv. I,1).

Epilogue

It was indeed a desirable and noble cause to maintain the tradition so as to establish and strengthen the bonds with the members of the sangha and among the committee members as well as the management committee member not only for the sake of propagating the Dhamma but also to enhance the practice in their daily lives.

While looking forward to the next occasion that will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Mangala Vihara Dhamma Fellowship, we need to bear in mind 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 stride as we move along while looking forward to the next gathering.

Sadhu!

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: February 12th 2018

Texts, photos and video clips by contributor who takes responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise.

All citations from the Sutta pitaka are available at the MV Library . You may also follow the link MV eLibrary Books to read or download.

You may visit ThePhoto Gallery for more photos and video clips.  You are at liberty to download any image as you wish for keepsake.

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Events, Sutta in Daily Life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Community Outreach celebrates Chinese New Year festival with senior citizens of Eunos Crescent

The Community Outreach programme of the Mangala Vihara Dhamma Fellowship reached out to the senior citizens of Eunos Crescent and brought Chinese New Year cheers and joy and shared with them. The year of dog zodiac sign falls on February 16th and 17th and we visited them on February 4th 2018.

The fifteen volunteers who participated in visits comprised of: Brothers Alex Lim, Chin Kee Thou, David Chua, Hing Sing Huat, Seah Kok Hong, Raymond Yow and Yeap Cheow Soon. Sisters Alice Lim, Chan Wan May, Cheng Seow Eng, Cynthia Tan, Lee Mee Yin, Ong Gek Chew, Roslyn Lee and Suriaty “Sue” Simon.

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Volunteer members of the entourage posed with MVDF religious advisor Bhante cakkapala.

We visited four families with two living at apartment Block 12 and one family residing at Block 2. An ex-resident of Block 2 is now residing at a nursing home and we did not forget him.

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Group picture with one of the families whom we brought and shared the joy and cheers of the festive with her.

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A resident shared a joyous moment with volunteer-visitors.

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A family like gathering with another couple-family.

We presented them the usual necessity and food stuff comprised of toiletries like tooth brush, tooth paste, face and bath towels. Dairy products, beverages and cereals like milk powder for the elderly, milo, coffee, kaya spread, instant oats, mixed cereals, and instant noodles. Traditional Chinese New Year goodies like pineapple tarts, peanut cookies love letters, chocolate, candy and the-must-have mandarin oranges. Sundry items like medicated plaster, muscle rub ointment were also included.

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Assortment of items in a typical goodie bag.

In addition each family member received the traditional “ang pow” or red packet with a token cash amount of $50 inside.

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Each family member received an “ang pow” or the traditional red packet …

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… with cash of $50

Celebrating the New Year sometimes also mean wearing new clothing and having a new haircut.  Sister Suriyami and Sister Rosminawen gladly rendered their service and trimmed the hair for the Low family.  

Hairdresser Suriyami and Rosminawen at work.

 

We have not forgotten Mr Gan and Brother Yeap Soon Cheow and Sister Chen Seow Eng made a detour after the visits to the three families and visited a him who now resides in a nursing home to present his share of the goodie bag.

It has been an annual event of the Community Outlook programme and we do hope to keep the tradition going for as long as possible but keeping in mind the true nature impermanence or annica 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 have to take it in good faith as we move along while looking forward to the next Chinese New Year visit.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: February 5th 2018

You are cordially invited to visit The Photo Gallery for more pictures and you may download any photos for keepsake with compliment of the contributor.

Text and photos by contributor who takes responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise.

 

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