Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Great Assembly of Lotus Flowers

It was really by chance that we got to know of this Buddhist event being organized by a group called Voices of Wisdom. Learned about the event by way of a bookmark that my Mom picked up. We're not really sure what it's about, but since it's free and my parents has never been inside the Opera House we decided to go.

The event was held at the Utzon Room from 11am till 4pm. We got there around noon, and there's already a long queue snaking around the box office. Nothing like a free gift to bring out the crowds. After half an hour, one of the organizers came out of the room and announced the unfortunately, they ran out of free gifts. In time, we reached the room.

In the center of the room, there's a small table with three Buddhist statues. Underneath the table is portable CD/cassette player repeating a Buddhist chant. There are markings on the floor forming a big circle around the table. People are supposed to enter the circle at one point, go around the statues three times while chanting, and come out at another part of the circle. At the exit, you'll be given a gift voucher, which you can exchange for a free gift.

At least that's how it's supposed to work. What saddens me is that I've seen people walk around the circle just once - without even chanting, come out of the circle, and immediately ask for their free gift. Some even bring along their kids, and insist that they, too, be given the gift vouchers. Worse, I believe some parties even did the routine twice to get more free gifts. You can argue that, hey, the organizers are giving away the gifts - you'd be foolish not to take it. Still, there's something to be said about taking only what you need.

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