The Dragon's Head Blog: Celebrating the Commencement of the Year of the Fire Monkey
Following on from an FLK Day with a focus on the shrine and its symbolism and place in our training and tradition, we gathered this month on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th to participate in the commencement of the Chinese New Year celebrations offering chanting and short talks to our members interested in learning more about the altar, chanting and the Taoist Tai Chi® arts.
On the last day of the year, we chanted the Goon Yam Jue Ban Miu Ging for members and friends who had died this year and for those in suffering. For the first three days we chanted Maan Fat Ging Duk Boon and maintained the lights on with a full altar. At the close of the three days we reduced the shrine to the table which will now remain in front of the enlivened Guan Yin picture which we received from a member in Calgary at the All Souls Festival in 2009 and has been with us in the clubhouse since that time.
Kneeling or sitting in front of our small altar dedicated to Goon Yam, we received a quiet reminder that when we gather together we enhance our understanding of the tradition and become better able to help each other.
Celebrating the new year helped us integrate more of the many aspects of this part of our tradition that we started to understand during a series of FLK Days. During FLK Days we shared the profundity of the elements present and practiced caring for a shrine and learned how these elements help us deepen the experience of our journey.
The last FLK Day provided an opportunity to stimulate the interest of people who have been previously part of ceremonies in the International Centre and the Wong Dai Sin Temple for the last new year and grand opening. As this was the first time a shrine was set up in the club we learned a deeper aspect of the training of the Taoist Tai Chi® arts.
The privilege of having a small altar in our home is a beautiful reminder of the many ways we can learn how to be more prepared to take care of people while on earth or after they are gone.
This privilege is one we keep as our small altar now has a permanent place in our home. Along with the light of the lanterns it is now a great symbol of bringing hope to others with simple but conscious acts of service.
To all of you, Kung Hei Fat Choi!