On the last Sunday of every September an auspicious event is held:
the annual festival of peace and light at the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple in Bronkhorstspruit.
After missing the 2015 ceremony because of overseas travel,
we left early to travel the 100+ kilometers to the imposing temple in Bronkhorstspruit
We lit candles for peace and light while chanting Om Mani Padme Hum
We were served tea by graceful tea practitioners, who ceremonially brewed and served each table 3 cups of tea as we listened to recorded music by YoYo Ma, Nigel Kennedy and Stepan Grytsay, as well as live chanting by the Venerable Yung Shun, with her beautiful voice.
The tea tables were decorated with beautiful table clothes ...
... as well as exquisite ikebana flower arrangements ...
... which we admired as the Abbot Master Hsing Yun, with the aid of the friendly and helpful Master of Ceremonies/Translator, explained the concept behind the tea meditation.
"One bud, two leaves" - the sweetest youngest tea leaves harvested for tea, but the tea also contains older leaves. Like life, the Chinese tea can taste bitter at times, but then the sweeteness comes through.
We made new friends - here we are with Phil from Pretoria,
in his traditional dress honouring the source of light and life, the Mother Sun ...
... and here are Preloshnie, Shereena and Nabawiya from Sasolburg.
Afterwards, we headed home to Johannesburg with our tummies filled with tea
and our hearts filled with peace and light.
We're already looking forward to next year's ceremony, but I'll leave you with the Merit Sharing prayer which concluded the 2016 Nan Hua Temple's Festival of Light and Peace ...
May palms in every world be joined in kindness, compassion, joy and generosity
May all beings find security in friendship, peace and loving care
May calm and mindful practice give rise to deep patience and equanimity
May we each give rise to spacious hearts and humble thoughts of gratitude.