The Walks of Kulot


Celebrating Chinese New Year at the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple

I have never attended a Chinese New Year celebration before. So when my friends invited me to join them at the Fo Guang Sha Mabuhay Temple in Manila for the Chinese New Year festivities I made sure not to pass out.

The Fo Guang Shan International Buddhist Center was founded by Venerable Master Hsing Yun whose main philosophy was to promote Humanistic Buddhism which actualizes the values of altruism, joyfulness and universality. Their main headquarters is in Taiwan but they also have temples in the Philippines (Manila, Cebu, Ilo-Ilo and Bacolod).

The main shrine at the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple in Manila.

The theme of this year’s Chinese New Year Celebration is the cultivation of the mind. The FGS Mabuhay temple has prepared various activities to those who attended the special celebration. At the temple reception area, I was given a sheet of paper with four blank circles and I was told that I have to visit the booths inside to complete four stamps to get a special prize. The activities included Prostrating to the Thousand Buddha, Sutra Transcription, memorizing three statements from Ven. Master Hsing Yun’s calligraphy exhibit and taking part during the incense offering.  Being a first timer I found these activities very engaging since this is something new to me. I was very enthusiastic to complete my stamps and I got a special golden envelope with Chinese prayers inside. I have no idea what it was for but it must be a lucky charm!

Sutra Transcription. One of the activities during the Chinese New Year celebration at the FGS temple.

Wishing Lanterns. One of the activities during the event but unfortunately due to the poor weather condition this was stopped.

Hours before midnight, a cultural show was held at the main shrine. I was surprised that the performances were not limited to Chinese presentations but it was a fusion of Chinese and Filipino cultures. An Ati-Atihan group and Filipino folk dancers also performed during the cultural show.

Fan Dance performance by kids trained by temple volunteers.

Chinese actors.

Common in every Chinese New Year celebration, a lion and dragon dance was also performed during the cultural show.

Dragon Dance

Lion Dance performed by the Fil-Chinese Pink Panther Dragon Dance group

Abundance this year of the Dragon!

Minutes before 12 midnight, everyone was invited to enter  the main shrine to join in the chanting of the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra initiated by the Venerables of the FGS Mabuhay temple. Everyone took part in the incense offering which was offered to the Buddha. It was the highlight of the Chinese New Year celebration as everyone offered their prayers and wishes for an abundant year ahead.

The Venerables preparing for the procession to the main altar.

Chanting of the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra led by the Venerables.

Prostrating before the Buddha.

Incense offering before the Buddha.

At the end of the celebration, a New Year message was given by Head Abbess Venerable Miao Jing. She emphasized on the “Three Acts of Goodness” and how our thoughts, actions and words affect our daily lives. She also mentioned that we should also welcome the New Year with positive thoughts because that way we would change how we perceive things that will happen to us. In the end, the Lord of Wealth distributed a red envelope (ampao) which symbolizes wealth and the Venerables distributed small rice packets which symbolize sustenance, incense for light and water for nourishment.

Let’s all enter the year of the Dragon with abundance!  Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!

The Lord of Wealth distributing red envelopes (ampao) to those who attended the celebration.

Rice for sustenance, Incense for light and Red pocket (ampao) for wealth.

Purification of the mind through the Three Acts of Goodness: Think good thoughts, Do good things, Speak good words

with Head Abbess Venerable Miao Jing

To know more about the FGS Mabuhay Temple visit their website by clicking on this link. On regular days, the temple is open to those who want to visit. They also offer different classes and activities, so be sure to check out their website regularly.

How to get there:

FGS Mabuhay Temple is located at 656 Pablo Ocampo St. Malate Manila (in front of Century Park Hotel). Hop aboard the LRT station (yellow line) and alight at Vito Cruz station. You can opt to walk going to the temple or ride a pedicab going there.


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great article! Had I been there, I might have lined in for the ampao as well. ^_^

Comment by Glen Villar

Hi Sir Glen! I really made sure to line up for the ampao..haha..I think it won’t harm if I believe that it will really give me more wealth this year – hopefully, to finance more travels!

Thanks again for dropping by! 🙂

Comment by walksofkulot

Happy New Year! Fortune comes to those who always have spring in the heart and mind. Thank you for the beautiful shots! Dave from Mabuhay Temple 🙂

Comment by Jidao

Hi Dave! Happy New Year! Thanks for dropping by 🙂

It was my pleasure to be part of the celebration. It was my first time and I enjoyed it a lot. Till next year!

Comment by walksofkulot

Love the thought that you were able to get to feel how it is to celebrate the Chinese New Year there at the temple. Dati, meron din nag-invite sa akin to go there but that did not materialized. I hope that I will get the chance to be there too.

Ganda din ng mga photos na kuha mo. Very laudable post.

Comment by Journeys and Travels

Thanks Doc Wends!

On regular days, the FGS temple offers different classes and activities (i.e. Tai Chi classes, Calligraphy writing, Chinese culture and Language etc). You might find it interesting. Also, the temple in Manila is one of the most modern Chinese temples I’ve seen so far. Malapit lang po to sa Lasalle. By the way, do you teach at DLSU-M? 🙂

Comment by walksofkulot

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