Malaysia: Devotees and visitors pack temples

On Wesak Day this year, Brian Tan rom Melaka, said it was “impressive” to see so many devotees lining up to pay their respects at the temple.


May 5, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – After three years of quiet observance, locals and visitors came out in droves to celebrate Wesak Day this year.

Many were seen offering prayers and participating in events at the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields and the Thean Hou Temple here.

Nur Ain Natasya, 20, who came with four other International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) coursemates, said they wanted to see the event as part of their university project about Malaysian society and culture.

“This is our first visit here, and we are really impressed. We want to explore other religious celebrations, and our coursework is done,” she said when met at the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple yesterday.

When asked, she said her friends recommended they visit the temple to “see and feel” for themselves.

“Everything is new to us, and it’s great to experience a different culture in Malaysia,” she added.

Dr Sean Lim, 30, attracted the attention of the crowd as he walked around the temple dressed in a Chinese costume.

He said this was his first visit to the temple and he was glad that devotees could come together to commemorate the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and nirvana.

“This year, my brother and I made it a point to get up early and come to the temple to offer our prayers,” he said.

A Buddhist thangka – a painting on cotton or silk usually depicting Buddhist deities, scenes or symbols – being unfolded in a special blessing ceremony at the Enlightened Heart Temple in Tambun, Perak.

Thurga Manimaran, 29, said she and her family would visit the temple every year for Wesak celebrations.

“It feels good that everyone worries less and celebrates Wesak Day this year. We paid our respects to the Buddha and prayed for world peace this morning,” said the human resources executive.

Brian Tan, 28, from Melaka, said it was “impressive” to see so many devotees lining up to pay their respects at the temple.

A woman praying at the Chempaka Buddhist Temple in Petaling Jaya.

“I always go to the temple with my family to celebrate Wesak Day since I was a child.

“Since it is close to my office, I’m here with my colleagues,” he said.

Long lines were visible at the temple as worshippers waited for their chance to bathe the Buddha.

Full devotion: A young devotee lighting up a candle at the Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, on Wesak Day. Buddhists throughout the country thronged temples to pay homage to the Buddha. – Photo: Azman Ghani/The Star

Visitors also had a good time at the temple’s Wesak Day carnival, where they enjoyed food and shopping.

At the Thean Hou Temple, hundreds of devotees came and many attended the Sutra chanting and prayers.

When met, Paulina Anna and Jeremy Pascal, both 30 from Poland, said they enjoyed watching the celebration.

They said it was their second day in Malaysia and they had decided to visit the temple to see the festival and the Buddhist traditions.

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