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Offering Ceremony Held by Lingyin Temple on Winter Solstice

 | 2021-12-24 | View: 387

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This year, the winter solstice falls on December 21 (the eighteenth day of the eleventh month in Chinese lunar calendar). On this special occasion, Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou held an offering ceremony to worship and honor past patriarchs and masters. 

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At 10:00 a.m., the Sangha of Lingyin Temple offered incense, flowers, fruits and food to pay respect to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on the order of the Abbot Venerable Master Guangquan. With the Buddhist chants and music lingering around the Mahavira Hall, the Buddhist masters sincerely prayed for world peace, national prosperity and wellbeing for the people. They also wished for a quick end to the pandemic, a vigorous development of Buddhism and the perpetual turning of the Dharma wheel. 

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After the offering ceremony at the Mahavira Hall, the Buddhist masters successively went to Yueheng Hall (Hall of Patriarchs), Master Li’s Pagoda, the Pagodas of Past Patriarchs, Putong Pagoda and other halls and pagodas of the temple where they performed the offering rituals. At the solemn offering ceremony on winter solstice, incense, flowers, lamps and fruits are offered with Buddhist chants to past patriarchs to commemorate their benevolent deeds of building temples and enlightening Buddhist disciples as well as their great contributions to the transmission and development of Buddhism. Their aspiration for the Dharma would enormously inspire the younger generation of Buddhist followers. 

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The winter solstice is one of the most important traditional festivals for the Chinese people for after this day, we’ll have a fresh start for the year ahead. The philosopher Zeng once said, “Let there be a careful attention to perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice - then the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence.” It has been a folk custom for Chinese people to make offerings to worship their ancestors on the winter solstice. According to Buddhist tradition, one can gain blessings if they keep a vegetarian diet and practice Buddhism on this day. In fact, good luck and blessings will always be bestowed upon those who practice altruistic behavior with a benevolent heart. 

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