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Ullumbana Festival at Nhat Phap Pagoda - Dong Nai province.

Update: 21/08/2014
Every year, when a slight gust of cold Autumn wind comes and Autumn leaves spatter down on streets together with drizzling rain, everybody knows that it is the signal of a coming Ullumbana season on Vietnam territory again. This makes Buddhists be affected by some melancholy feeling which leads to their parents’ merit of birth and bringing up. Also, when pagoda rounds of bell slowly resound melodiously into nothingness, they seem to pour into human heart an innermost feeling in a voice choked with sobs to signal the gratitude to their parents, also known as Ullumbana Great Festival in the Four Grace spirit.
 

Ullumbana Festival at Nhat Phap Pagoda  -  Dong Nai province.

 
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In the cozy atmosphere on the occasion of Ullumbana\r\nday, Nhat Phap Pagoda, situated in Hung Loc commune, of Thong Nhat rural\r\ndistrict, Dong Nai province solemnly celebrated Ullumbana Festival, filling\r\none’s filial duty of 2558 Buddist calendar, in 2014 A.D. The ceremony was\r\nwitnessed by Junior Venerable Thich Tam Danh, abbot of Nhat Phap pagoda, and\r\nHoang Phap Pagoda monks. As for local representatives, the authoritives of Hung\r\nLoc Commune and the prayer-saying board were also present with more than 300\r\nBuddhists.

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 Nhat Phap Pagoda has been known as one of the branches\r\nof Hoang Phap Pagoda and is under construction. But with Junior Ven. Thich Tam\r\nDanh’s inner wishes, the Ullumbana Great Festival was organised aiming at\r\nmaking the local people understand clearly and deeply feel more about this spiritual\r\nceremony.

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 At 7:00 p.m. o’clock sharp, the ceremony started with\r\nthe meaning of this holiday read by two Budhists named Lien Khanh and Duc Nhi.\r\nRight after that was the ceremony of offerings made by the members of Nhat Phap\r\nPagoda group aiming at showing their sincerity and deepest gratefulness to all\r\nBuddhas and also creating good conditions for all Buddhists on this holy day.\r\nThe following poem clearly expresses such a sentiment from a pitiful child:

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 â€œA rose is raised by both of my hands
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To respectfully offer it to my parents,
showing my deep\r\ngratitude to them both
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I’d like to ask them that how I can repay them such lofty\r\ngratitude.”
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 Besides a rose symbolises happiness of a wedded pair,\r\nit also represents a lofty love to parents. Accordingly, following was the\r\npinning of roses to the parents’ chest in order to express the gratitude of a\r\ndutiful child to his/her parents. This part of the program was performed by\r\nBuddhist Xuan May who read the touching meaning of such a ceremony.

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 During such a sacred moment, the masses’ innermost\r\nfeelings  seemed to be accumulated to save a minute of silence paying\r\nhomage to all Budhhas, to their ancesters and especially to their seasoned\r\nleaders who deserve credit for the founding of the beloved pagodas, or who have\r\noffered their whole lives to the existence as well as the loss and the\r\ndevelopment of Buddhist Dharma without forgetting the merit of their parents’\r\ngiving birth and bringing-up. Beside such merits, Buddhists always think of\r\ntheir countrymen, of all species and soldiers  -  all that have\r\nsacrificed themselves for the peace and happiness of their whole countrymen.

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 Next were sweet songs, especially the one entitled ‘A\r\nrose pinned at the chest’ did help everybody once again look back the\r\nimmeasureable merits of their parents. At the same time, the Buddhist group\r\nmembers respectfully offered spiritual roses to all monks and Buddhists present at\r\nthe ceremony.

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 The play entitled ‘The one-eyed mother’ performed by\r\nsuch members of the ‘Fragrance of Lotus Club’ as Van Lenh, Kim Tien, Tran Phuc\r\nand Nguyen Nhung, really transmitted all the above-mentioned meanings. It made\r\nthe attendees feel impressive and moved to tears about an endless love and\r\nsacrifice that a mother has reserved for her son because such a case happens\r\nboth in the play and in real life as well.

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 Following the program was the respectful offering of\r\ncassocks to all the present monks by members of Nhat Phap Buddhist Family so as\r\nto express the latter’s gratitude to the former for having helped them in their\r\nstudies and self-improvement  -  such a help was boundless and\r\nendless.

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 Next was the melodious tone of the guitar played by\r\nCat Tuong to accompany singer Van Tin’s deep voice in the song entitled ‘The\r\nfulcrum of my life’ and composed by Nguyen Phi Hung did make the atmosphere\r\ncozier because it praises a father’s love, who normally and silently sacrifices\r\nthe peace of his life for his chidren.

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 Before the end of the ceremony and in the really clear\r\nand bright moonlight of the 15th day of lunar calendar, all the monks and Nhat\r\nPhap Buddhists together offered incence to Buddhas. They also chanted the sutra\r\nnamed Vu Lan, meaning the Buddhist holiday held annually on the 15th of the 7th\r\nmonth of the lunar calendar. The melodious tone of the chant, which praises the\r\nenless merit of all parents reserved for each of their children, really sounds\r\nfond and cozy to all of us.

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 Attached are some recorded photos:

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Translated into English by Mr. Hoang Huan, layman.

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