I had my first San Bu Yi Bai (三步一拜) seven years ago together with my ex-colleague. She was the one who introduced me this. San Bu Yi Bai meaning - "Devotees usually line up to meditatively circumambulate the perimeter of the temple, bowing once every three steps, while chanting mantras or the name of the Buddha in praise of Him. This practice helps to purify the Mind, humble the ego and lessen obstacles along the spiritual Path." Some said that this practice would help to lessen our bad karma from previous life.
That time both of us did not have ticket at all but tried our luck by going there and see if there was anyone who could not make it at the last minute and gave their spare tickets to us, A year later, I went together with my son (second attempt). It was when my son was still a Saturday/Sunday school's student and we were having privileged to have this procession - not on actual day - in a quieter environment and held early in the morning, instead of evening time.
Year after year I attended it again together with my bestie and dear son at the same temple, except last year, when we could not get our tickets and we ended up having the San Bu Yi Bai at Fo Guang Shan Temple at Punggol.
|Dragon-long-like-queue for San Bu Yi Bai tickets at Kwang Meng San Temple|
Due to our last year's experience - we reached KMSPKS before 8 am and found the dragon-long-like-queue and no chance in getting the ticket - so this year, we were determined to reach the temple, as early as 4 am!!! It was my first time queuing this early. In fact, other than getting into the airport for early flight departure, I would never go out so early like this.
|Sat down, slept, brought your own chair, whatever....|
However, we were not the only one who came that early. When we reached, there had already been more than 200 people queuing there, in front of us. And it was only around 4.15 am! OMG!!! Heard that those queued in front line were there since last night, after the lighting the Lantern activities held. And some came as early as 2 or 3 am. Hahaha.... Well, it was not a big surprise for Singaporeans to queue this way. Just like Hello Kitty craze or queuing for the new iPhone, or even queuing for their superstar, and so on. But for religious event, this was one of the most wanted tickets that worth queuing.
|Queued on wee hours - San Bu Yi Bai - Kwang Meng San|
I thought it was going to be boring to wait until the ticket collection time arrived. I brought coffee and book. My bestie brought newspaper and books to read. However, we were totally wrong!!! The people who queued in front of us, and at the back of us, we ended up making a lengthy conversation throughout the waiting time.
|Time flew so fast and new friendship was made. Gan en :)|
The shimmering face Aunty who was sitting in front of us was an old timer who usually queued at the first batch - that started at 5pm. She came with her husband and son, and a group of old timers. She was 62 years old this year and had been doing the San Bu Yi Bai for the past 20 years. She didn't look that old though and had a beautiful skin on her face that many people asked her for the secret cream that she applied. She too, did the voluntary work at the Kwan Im Temple in Bugis, the temple that I usually went to pray. No wonder I found her face so familiar, like I'd seen her before.
She told us many stories relating to her belief and devotion to the Goddess of Mercy or Avalokiteshvara. She kept saying '感 恩' read - gan en' - which means grateful, almost in every of her sentence, which made me believe the power of gratitude from whatever religion that you hold. She also told us the benefit of chanting any Buddhist mantra - in any language that you are familiar with. The easiest one that she recommended was 'Om mani padme hum'.
|Om Mani Padme Hum (Soure: Google.com)|
This six syllables invoked a very powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara - as the embodiment of compassion. She truly believed with the compassion given by the Goddess of Mercy into her life, which reminded me a lot of my own mother. The love given by her to her children, her spouse, it was so much as great as my mom. I could imagine well how worried my mom when I studied overseas for few years, in a place so faraway. How she worried towards my other siblings who also went overseas to study for years. Her faith towards the God's above, towards the Goddess of Mercy was there and running down to us now.
I felt deeply grateful for everything that happened into my life, that shaped me into who I am now. I believed so much with the karma and past life. I believed with the connection, fate, for whoever I met in this life and for every situation that we lived in. I thanked my parents who had brought me up so well, infused us with a taste of education, into our well-being, ensured us to have enough food, clothing, and happiness in life. And above all, I conveyed my heartfelt gratitude to Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, who had always been with me, guiding me through in this current life's journey. I was lost before but I knew my fate would always be with you. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
|Thank you for the vegetarian meal you prepared and offered to us :)|
The time passed so fast. The sky turned brighter unknowingly. The sun rose without we realized it. Then, it was time that we finally collected our tickets, and had a blessed simple vegetarian meal from the temple. Thank you for all the staffs who prepared it for us.
|The queue still went on from inside the eating place|
We went to pray before going back home, to express our gratitude once again. We finally had been given a chance to do this again, on the Vesak day, that would fall next week. I planned to bring my son with me. I hope his fate with Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, would continuously be there all through his life. I might not be able to be a good mom, nor a good teacher to him. But I hope I could lead and connect him into the Buddhahood. Let him find his way later on in his life.
|Mission accomplished!!! :)|
Thank you SB for the good karma, for the privilege and opportunity we would have. May all sentient beings benefit from it. Sabbe Satta Bhavantu Sukhitatta. May all sentient beings be happy. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu. Svathi Hothu. Nammo Buddhaya. Amituofo.