Volunteers of the Australian Chinese Buddhist Association Melbourne Branch had started gathering around the Preston City Hall even before 8:30 am on a beautiful Sunday morning of the 21st July 2019. These volunteers were there for a reason, that is to transform the Preston City Hall into an amazing place with a memorable experience for the guests who were attending the Free Vegetarian Carnival in commemoration of the Guan Yin Bodhisatva’s Enlightenment Day. The Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Enlightenment Day is one of the three important dates apart from the Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Birthday and Renunciation Day that Buddhists from all over the world celebrate. These days are very auspicious as there are powerful positive energy fields present during these days.
Under the leadership of Master Jun Hong Lu, who is the Chairman of the Australia Oriental Media Buddhist Charity Association (AOMB), this large scale Free Vegetarian Event at Preston City Hall was organised to honour the sacrifice and unconditional spirit of compassion of the Great and Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva for all sentient beings. Master Jun Hong Lu who is also the founder of the Buddhist practice, Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door, with 10 million followers around the world have been working tirelessly to propagate Buddhism as well as to advocate for the development of the Vegetarian lifestyle, environmental protection and world peace.
The early birds have started arriving at the venue as early as 10:15 am. The total guests coming to this Free Vegetarian Carnival event was estimated to be about 500 people, which was much higher compared to last year’s attendance.
The Master of Ceremony for the event welcomed the attendees at 11:15 am and was followed by a short speech and introduction made by Sam Ding who is the Head of the Australian Chinese Buddhist Association Melbourne Branch. He had also briefly outlined what was in store for the attendees for the rest of the day. This was followed by the video about Guan Yin Bodhisattva (The Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra).
The next program on the agenda was the testimonial sharing by Ms Yuechang Chen. Ms Chen had shared on how his son had managed to get the full scholarship from a well-sought after private high school in Melbourne after diligently practising the three Golden Practices of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door, that is, Reciting Buddhist sutras, Performing Life Liberation and Making a Vow.
The guests were then entertained by the choir performance by the ACBRC Youth Group before another testimony shared by Ms Weng. It was indeed eye-opening for the guests to learn about the miracles that are happening to the followers of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door practitioners and how through the diligent cultivation and following the three Golden Practices of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door can lead to life transforming miracles.
Next, Ms Jin had shared some brief insights about Buddhism, the law of Karma (cause and effect) and how by cultivating compassion and wisdom practitioners can overcome major challenges, recover from major illnesses that the western medical has no known cause nor cure. This was followed by the video introduction of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door and Master Jun Hong Lu before the guests break for lunch.
The main focal point for this event was the comprehensive assortment of delicious vegetarian dishes that were served on that day. These appetizing vegetarian dishes were mostly diligently prepared and contributed by the volunteers. There were more than 100 different types of vegetarian dishes offered on that auspicious day. After savoring the food, many attendees were impressed with the creativity, high nutritional value and most importantly, the great tasting and flavoursome vegetarian dishes that were served on that day.
While the vegetarian dishes were being served to the guests, videos of Master Jun Hong Lu’s totem enquiries were played at the background. The guests were fascinated by Master Jun Hong Lu’s ability to tell one’s past, present and future through Totem inquiry. After watching the videos, many people came to realise the importance of the law of Karma and how the application of this universal law can explain many events that happened in our lives.
While lunch was served, we had the chance to speak to one of the staff of the City of Darebin who was helping with the setup of the venue, Ms Shirley from Fiji. She was truly amazed at the teamwork and selfless contribution of the volunteers to make the event running smoothly. She was asking how much was the cost to attend this event but was truly surprised to find out that this vegetarian event was offered free to the public in the spirit of compassion. This event had triggered her to want to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into her daily life, and she was interested in getting hold of more recipes on how great tasting vegetarian dishes can be prepared.
During the break, we had also managed to chat with some of the guests who came from many different countries like Alonso who was from Mexico, Desiree who came from South Africa, Finn (Ireland), Kristen and Goh (Malaysia) and Lakshmi (India). All of them had given very positive feedback about the event. Many guests also took the opportunity to enquire more about Buddhism and the practices of the Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door at the information booths that were setup at the back of the hall.
The Free Vegetarian Carnival event at the Preston City Hall came to an end at around 2:30 pm. There were smiles on everyone’s faces as all of them were satisfied with the healthy and nutritious food as well as the programs that had been planned for that day. Most people who were present that day also brought home something that will stay on with them, that is, the new knowledge gained from the learning and sharing of Buddhism practices. Hopefully, many of them will continue to acquire and seek a deeper understanding of Buddhism and use this knowledge to transform their lives for the better.