MV Dhamma Fellowship (MVDF) celebrated Vesak Day 2013 with a new milestone-an expanded recruitment exercise. In addition to recruitment for Sunday Dhamma Classes (for both adults and children) and the Youth Group as was done in previous years (refer to link http://edhamma.net/?p=1541, we launched the “MV Dhamma Fellowship Recruitment ” exercise targeted at devotees who are interested in our newly initiated courses/programmes that are conducted in English by MVDF or in Mandarin under the Mandarin Buddhist Studies Fellowship (MBSF).
New Programmes and Events
MVDF kick started the year 2013 with a session on chanting of the ‘Maha Satipatthana Sutta’ led By Bhante Raja on January 20th and subsequently to be held on the 3rd Sunday of each month.
This Sutta, compiled by Bhante Raja together with dedicated student members from the Mandarin and English classes, was printed in three languages – in Pali and with English and Chinese translations. Believed to be the first of its kind, it was launched concurrently.
The book which is used for the chanting sessions was given out free to interested devotees at the booth set up for the free distribution of Dhamma books.
From March 3rd, Brother Lim Lee Hock from the Spiritual Support Group conducted practise sessions on ‘Chanting & Blessing for the Sick’. This session is held on Wednesday evenings (7.45-9.00pm) and on the 1st Sunday of the month (3.00-4.30pm) till end on June 2013.
Another new course, “Buddhism in Daily Life” (http://edhamma.net/?p=2089) made its debut on the March 18th with an enrolment of more than 50 attendees. This course, facilitated by Bhante Raja, Bhante Cakkapala and Brother Raymond Yow runs on Mondays evenings from 7.30-9.30pm.
Two more events in the pipeline and scheduled to launched in July are the ‘Sutta Reading Club’ on Saturdays with Bhante Raja as the facilitator and ‘Sutta Study Class’ on Wednesday facilitated by Bhante Cakkapala.
For publicity, two new bi-lingual banners announcing the “Buddhism in Daily Life” course and the Mandarin Buddhist Studies course were printed and strung on the perimeter fence of the temple fronting the main road.
Growth of MVDF
A significant event in the development in MVDF is the formalisation of an Associate Membership in the meeting held on May 12th to admit students and attendees of other courses or programmes and who are not students of MV Sunday Dhamma Classes. The status quo of an Ordinary Member, restricted to graduate students and current students of the YMBA class became anachronistic with the addition of new courses or programmes to the curricula.
Another chapter added to the milestone was the inaugural joint meeting of MVDF with the Mandarin Buddhist Study Fellowship (MBSF) held on April 14th to share a common platform to foster common interests and share activities. (Refer to link: http://edhamma.net/?p=2167 “Flash News! An Alliance of Two Dhamma Fellowships”).
A fruitful result of the corroboration is the printing of a bi-lingual brochure in English and Chinese, entitled “Dhamma Fellowship Activities”. This flyer which lists the classes, courses, activities and programmes conducted in English and Chinese under the auspices of the respective Dhamma Fellowship, was distributed to devotees and visitors who thronged the temple ground on Vesak Day.
Fertile Ground for Recruitment
As with any other Buddhist monasteries, temples or centres, Vesak Day celebration is the most significant event in the Buddhist calendar as it marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha. This celebration which attracted large numbers of devotes and visitors who came to Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple for puja, blessing and Dana lunch, is also a fertile ground and golden opportunity for us to recruit people for our Sunday Dhamma classes, Youth Circle, Buddhist courses and other programmes.
Registration stations were jointly set up for enrolment of English and Chinese courses / programmes offered by the respective Fellowship.
Lord Buddha after attainment of Enlightenment and having observed the first vassa-residence at Isipatana, Migadăya sent his sixty disciples to preach the Dhamma, “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).
The Dhamma Fellowships will relentlessly help to propagate the Dhamma jointly in every possible way as “the gift of the Dhamma excels all other gifts” (Dhamapada Verse 354).
However, with better support from student members, teachers, devotees and MVBT management committee we can expect the Fellowships to soar to greater height in their endeavours.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Contributor: Chin Kee Thou
English Dhamma Class &
Associate Member, MVDF
May 24th 2013