MIRI: Hundreds of devotees gathered at Miri Buddhist Society to witness the historic opening of its newly completed multipurpose building yesterday.
Right before the ceremony, the devotees comprising the young and old put their palms together and sang the Sam Bo in praise of Gautama Buddha for His Blessings on the smooth construction work, followed by a welcoming dance performed by the societys youth members.
Circa 1984, when Miri Buddhist Society began its journey here, the very handful of us only managed to temporarily settle at a shophouse, chairman of Miri Buddhist Society Yong Vui Seng told the audience.
Words cannot describe our gratitude to the support from the people who believed in us, and the government who granted the land where we now settle in and organise activities, he said.
Costing almost RM3 million, the four-storey building was completed within two years.
Its construction and completion would not be possible without the generous donations from various parties and government grants, Yong added.
The ground floor houses an office, meeting room, lounge and a library, while the first floor has six rooms that serve as accommodation for Buddhist visitors.
On the other hand, the second floor, which has six rooms, are for childrens Sunday Class, while the top floor with its spacious hall is allocated for events.
Former deputy chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam, who was among the distinguished guests, took the opportunity to share some insights on Buddhism and his experience with the faith.
The committee of Miri Buddhist Society has done well not only in preserving and teaching Buddhism to the young and guided the old, but they have also in one way or another done their best to educate with love, Dr Chan said.
Sharing his travel experience to Bhutan, Dr Chan said even though it was one of the poorest countries in the world, he personally experienced love during his time there.
I strongly believe that it could be due to the way they are taught, with love, that even though there are many inadequacies in their lives, they still have plenty to smile for.
Dr Chan likened extremism in Malaysia to the Peshawar massacre, saying there should be no place for such thing.
To be able to live in a country with people of all faiths, mutual respect for each other is, above all, vital to maintain peace, he said.
Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin, who officiated at the opening, called for efforts to improve the childrens Sunday class, as a way to educate the young ones.
He pledged a grant of RM20,000 to the society next year as part of his support.
Accompanying Lee were Mayor Lawrence Lai, Association of Upasaka Buddhist Malaysia president Chua Beng Thian and Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia president Goh Qing Song.