It is the annual Vesak Day today.
Also known as the Buddha's birthday, it encompasses the birth, enlightenment Nirvana, and passing (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha.
Buddhists all over the world celebrated this holy day by paying homage to the Buddha.
We do this by not taking lives (eating meat of any kind is prohibited), participated in the ritual of bathing the Buddha, singing hymns in praise of the holy triple gem followed by the candlelit procession.
I visited the Singapore Buddhist Youth Mission at Clementi with my parents just like previous years.
We first went to bathe the Buddha as usual.
Devotees kneeling to 'bathe' the Buddha
This was followed by having a vegetarian meal.
Sidetrack a bit, please do not pay someone to release caged animals like birds, insects, tortoises and fishes for the sake of being compassionate. In fact, other than disrupting the eco-system, you are indirectly creating a vicious cycle of demand and supply instead.
Think about it: where did all these creatures that are due for 'release' came from? Someone has to go capture them, yes?
These animals might be mishandled and got injured during capture. By releasing them into a unfamiliar environment, they might not survive and could even end up eaten by larger animals.
Instead of giving them life like you intended, you are pushing them towards death instead. You would not want that to happen, don't you?
If you want to be kind, go vegetarian for a day.
Volunteers distributing free vegetarian food to the masses
The menu remains the same year after year - Fried Beehoon with Curry Vegetables.
Volunteers packing "flower water" for
devotees to bath with for good luck
The Goddess of Mercy (aka Kwan Yin)
Chrysanthemum and Gerbaras floating
in a current around Kwan Yin's feet
Isn't it a pretty sight?
Lighting of teacup candles
There are also foodstalls set up outside the temple.
Tauhu Goreng (L) and Vegetarian Satay (R)
More vegetarian food like desserts,
Mock Chicken Rice, Tapioca Pancakes, etc
Tauhu being fried at the kitchen
Merchandise for distribution for a free-will donation
I loved this cone!
It is so different from the usual red, cylindrical ones. The details like the shape, color, knob and ring looks like it's part of the temple's architecture!
Let me wish all Buddhists a very Happy Vesak Day!