PETALING JAYA: After two years of observing Buddha Day online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Kuala Limpur and Selangor held its first physical ceremony since the easing of restrictions on Saturday at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall.

On the second Sunday of May every year, Tzu Chi chapters worldwide organise a Buddha Day ceremony in conjunction with the three-in-one occasion of Buddha Day, Mother’s Day and Global Tzu Chi Day.

Through a solemn ceremony, participants express gratitude to Buddha, parents and all sentient beings, as well as purify their hearts and minds.

During the movement control order (MCO), Tzu Chi launched the Online Buddha Bathing website, allowing volunteers and the public to commemorate Buddha as the Great Awakened One of the Universe, and reflect on his teachings while staying at home.

Although without the mass ceremony where participants formed a totem design like in previous years, where 10,000 attendees would be present, the open day saw more than 3,000 attendees bowing and paying homage to Buddha.

There was also a charity bazaar with more than 30 stalls selling plant-based food to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees.

Besides encouraging attendees to respect and protect all living beings by adopting vegetarianism, it also aims to gather kindness and love for displaced Ukrainians.

One attendee, who wished to be known only as Danny, 43, was present with his wife and two daughters. He said he was thrilled that his family could physically pay respects to Buddha after two years of doing it online.

Aside from the physical ceremony, Tzu Chi KL and Selangor also observed Buddha Day with people from over 60 countries and regions online via a live broadcast from the Jing Si Abode in Hualien, Taiwan, from 7am to 8am yesterday.

In the virtual ceremony, everyone, regardless of race or religion, prayed together for the pandemic to end, for everyone to be safe and healthy and for the world to be free from disasters.

$!Devotees offer prayer during Buddha Day Ceremony at Tzu Chi Jing Si Hall, Kuala Lumpur on 7 May 2022. HAFIZ SOHAIMI/THE SUN