The life of...

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 9:32 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/8.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

He was fixing some electric cables and squatting right in front of the gigantic Wesak day board. I decided to capture a candid shot on 'The life of.." A spontaneous and unposed moment. LOVE IT!

For more similar photos click here the life of 2 & the life of 3

The Sanchi Main Gate

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 8:52 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/9.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

Thousands of people turned up at the National Wesak Day Open House. By mid afternoon, the temple was packed to the brim. The lion dance performance begins when the VIP alights from his car or appears at the front gate.

The main entrance to the Buddhist Vihara is guarded by the Sanchi Main Gate. The gigantic gate has three Buddhist Wheels a.k.a Dharmachakra. According to Religionfacts, the wheel (Skt. chakra; Tib. 'khor lo) is one of the most important Buddhist symbols, as it represents the teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha was the one who "turned the wheel of the dharma" and thus the wheel symbol is the Dharmachakra, or "wheel of law."

Donate to charity

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 8:26 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/6.3, ISO Equiv.: 100

Volunteers were working around the clock seeking for donation to fund charity homes. These are selfless people who donate hours of hard work and enthusiasm to help.

Nowadays, it seems less and less people are donating to charities. Many visitors avoided them. What a pity! Anyway, kudos to the volunteers. Continue to keep up the great job that you are doing.

The Golden Buddha

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 8:11 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.3, ISO Equiv.: 1600

A Buddha statue in the temple's pagoda. This International Buddhist Pagoda was declared open on 28th August 1971, by Tun Tan Siew Sin, the first Finance Minister of Malaya.

Click HERE to view food offerings to the Buddha of Compassion.

Note: This picture was adjusted with Photoshop (PS) [photo filter + shadow highlight]. By the way, I seldom use PS. This is the first picture I PS in my blog. Unless stated otherwise, all my photos are original (without PS).

The auspicious string

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 8:10 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/4.0, ISO Equiv.: 800

A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk put string bracelet as blessings onto an elderly devotee. It was an orderly affair despite the huge crowds. This is the inner view of the International Buddhist Pagoda. This building houses well-preserved Buddhist relics from around the world. A not-to-be-missed attraction in Maha Vihara!

Note: This picture was adjusted with Photoshop (PS) [levels + hue/saturation].

Raise the flags

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 9:24 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/8.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

A young student from the temple's Buddhist Institute Sunday Dhamma School (BISDS). She was waiting eagerly for the arrival of PM Najib and his wife. A high-spirited girl. But it was a long...long...wait. Check out what happened in the next picture.

She was holding a Buddhist flag and a Malaysian flag. According to Wikipedia, the Buddhist flag is a flag designed in the late 19th century to symbolise and universally represent Buddhism.

Buddhist flag

The five colors of the flag represent the six colours of the aura which Buddhists believe emanated from the body of the Buddha when he attained Enlightenment. Source: Wikipedia

The long, long wait

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 9:25 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/8.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

These two boys were also waiting for our VVIPs. Tired and 'roasted' under the hot sun. Some of them were hiding in the bushes. LOL! You can't blame them after all because it was REALLY HOT!

The lotus fountain

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 8:50 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/8.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

A large lotus flower water fountain greets the visitors as they enter the Sanchi Main gate.

Catch the paparazzi

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 8:43 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/7.1, ISO Equiv.: 100

I wonder who's the real paparazzi. Look at that fella in blue T-shirt. LOL!!!

PM Najib

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 9:49 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/3.5, ISO Equiv.: 200

Finally… He's here! Surrounded by VIPs, security personnel, dancers, monks and photographers. Najib (right next to the costume girl) is the third prime minister, after Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to visit the century-old Buddhist temple. He was invited by Chief High Priest of Malaysia, The Most Ven. K. Sri Dhammaratana Nayaka Maha Thera.

...and his admirers

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 9:49 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/3.5, ISO Equiv.: 200

Everybody wants a piece of him.

Note: This picture was adjusted with Photoshop (PS) [B&W processing].

The dancers

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 7:49 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.3, ISO Equiv.: 200

A troupe of dancers flown in from Dharmaraja Kandy College in Sri Lanka. You gotta love their outfits and performance! AWESOME!!!

Click HERE to view picture of the entire dance troupe.

The hawker streets

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 7:52 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 100

The early morning crowd was manageable.

Sea of people

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 9:51 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/7.1, ISO Equiv.: 100

Hordes of people waiting to enter the temple. It was impossible to walk around. Crowded like h*ll! This one old lady at the back was pushing me all the way. ARRGH! What a nuisance!

The memorial

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 8:24 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/7.1, ISO Equiv.: 100

A small chedi in memorial of Ven. Dr. Kirinde Sri Dhammananda (18th March 1918 - 31st August 2006). It was written 'May He Attain Nibbana'. The highest aim of Buddhists is to attain Nibbana. It is regarded as the highest stage of mental purity.

Lotus hawkers

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 9:57 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/7.1, ISO Equiv.: 100

A family of lotus hawkers.

Note: This picture was adjusted with Photoshop (PS) [black & white processing + shadow/highlight].

Faith brought us together

Location: Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 28th May 2010 (Friday), 8:43 a.m.
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/7.1, ISO Equiv.: 100

Hordes of people waiting to enter the Main Shrine Hall.

According to STSITE, the Main Shrine is the oldest building in the Buddhist Maha Vihara. A marble stone engraving on the side wall reads "Sasanabhi Wurdhi Wardhana Society, Buddhist Temple, This stone was laid by Mrs. C. E. Spooner 25th August 1894." Mr. C. E. Spooner was the state engineer and director of the works department during the colonial Malaya time responsible for the famous lankmark building -- the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in KL.

Note: This picture was adjusted with Photoshop (PS) [black & white processing].

Photobucket
-->Get your incense

This is my first national open house outing. Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were scheduled to attend the Wesak Day celebrations. Now, that's a BIG event. I don't know what to expect really! I prefer to stay at home. First, I cannot stand the festive crowd. I'm actually a little demophobic. It really depends on the crowd. Second, I hate seeing Malaysians jostling, pushing and virtually fighting for food. I've always wondered do the organizers prepared sufficient food for their guests?

I'm a secular humanist; a nonbeliever. Nevertheless, I'm always fascinated by large gathering of people and religious events. I decided to be brave and take a chance to visit 2010 National Wesak Day Open House at Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur (KL).

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-->Welcome all! 欢迎!

The night before, I've spent almost five hours exploring pre-Wesak Day parade at Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen temple (佛光山东禅). Click HERE to read. I slept late that night because I was spending some time updating my Facebook with some fresh pictures.

The next morning, I woke up feeling sleepy but excited. I took a quick morning bath (6 a.m.) and drove to Kepong KTM train station. I boarded the second earliest ride to KL. Then, I took a bus to Brickfields, KL.

Photobucket
-->Fragrant flowers

Buddhist Maha Vihara a.k.a. Sri Lankan Buddhist Temple is located at the back of Brickfields. According to Buddhist Maha Vihara official webpage, the temple was founded by the Sinhalese community based in KL and the surrounding areas in 1894 to provide a place of worship in their Sri Lankan Theravada tradition.

A difficult place to find. Halfway there, I saw hordes of visitors, devotees and police officers. So I was confident that I'm on the right direction. Sometimes you should follow the crowd when you travel :)

Photobucket
-->Giant board

I anticipated a big crowd. But I was delightfully surprised. The morning crowd (around 7:45 a.m.) was manageable and quite O.K. Not too stuffy. When I first arrived, I saw rows and rows of makeshift hawker stalls. I decided to skip them first and move hurriedly to the inner temple.

From afar, I could hear melodious Buddhist mantra chants. Several Sri Lankan monks sited together and chant simultaneously. It was so beautiful, peaceful & relaxing.

Next I saw a big group of devotees lining up to enter the main shrine hall. There were waiting to receive blessings from the monks. It was a hot day. Several devotees were complaining about the long torturous wait under the hot sun. LOL!

Photobucket
-->Colorful toy cars

As usual, I was intrigued and mesmerized by their beliefs and devotion to God. I wanted to capture those intimate moments and share with my readers. But then again, I reminded myself many times do not invade on one's privacy. So I was very careful about that. I asked for permission before snapping my shots.

Sigh, I need to invest some serious money for lenses and body. A camera that is capable to zoom from afar and a body with higher ISO capabilities to shoot better in the dark. I HATE getting too close to my subject. It makes me looks like cheap paparazzi.

Later I visited the white pagoda a.k.a International Buddhist Pagoda in Maha Vihara. This mini pagoda is architecturally unique and stands at a scenic spot on the temple. The pagoda is home to a wealth of ancient Buddhist relics, from intricately engraved pillars to a collection of over 50 statues. A young Sri Lankan monk was tying orange colored string on devotees' wrist. Devotees would donate some money to the temple after that.

Photobucket
-->Tireless volunteers

By 8:45 a.m., I was standing right next to the main gated entrance - waiting eagerly for the arrival of our PM and his wife. Cute little kids were already lining up to greet them. It was another sweltering hot morning. All of us were sweating like pigs.

We waited and waited...10 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins. Still no VIPs in sight. Some of the kids decided to hide beneath some bushes to escape the heat. Even the handlers were having difficult times asking the kids to get ready. The long wait was driving us nuts, especially in this hot weather. LOL! Finally by 9:30 a.m. the beat of lion drums broke the silence.

Photobucket
-->Happy BISDS kids

Everyone was excited again. Kids were asked to pay attention and waved their flags. By then, they were restless and tired. The smiley faces were all gone.

The PM entourage was a huge one. Our PM and wife was surrounded by VVIPs, VIPs, cabinet ministers, bodyguards, police officers, Rela officers, temple priests and multicultural dancers. Everyone was jostling and pushing like madmen. WHOAH! That's CRAZY! I didn't expect that at all! All I wanted is to snap a decent shot of our PM. But it was mission impossible. Too many field photographers and journalists. They were all over the place.

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-->Fast & oily food

Later I spent another 30 minutes exploring the hawker stalls before going back. The crowd was getting bigger by mid afternoon. I was tired, sunburn and mentally drained. Bu then again, it was a memorable trip :)

Good news to all my readers. You may get the latest updates from my official Facebook page. Click HERE. Please join me and 'like' my page.


Last updated 18th June 2010 (3:17 a.m.)

Buddhist Maha Vihara - Contact Details:

Buddhist Maha Vihara,
123, Jalan Berhala Brickfields,
50470 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia

Tel : +603 2274 1141
Fax : +603 2273 2570

Official Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/298ypfs
Email : info@buddhistmahavihara.com

Buddhist Maha Vihara - Directions, Getting There & Maps:

Jalan Berhala is located at one end of Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad which runs parallel to Jalan Tun Sambanthan (formerly Jalan Brickfields). You may enter Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad by the YMCA traffic lights junction or at the other end, opposite the Pines Restaurants.

Walking directions from KL Sentral Monorial Station to Buddhist Maha Vihara.

This is a thumbnail screenshot. Click link (Map 1) to download the map.

Map 1 (1 page, JPG file, 300 kb)

Note: File is hosted in MediaFire

Buddhist Maha Vihara - Main Serivce:

  1. Full moon & new moon day services
  2. Sunday Dhamma Classes for children and adults
  3. K Sri Dhammananda Library
  4. Registration of Marriages
  5. Services rendered by monks
  6. Dana for monk (at Vihara or Home) and Bana (Sermons)
  7. Use of facilities for religions and functions
  8. Dhamma book for the blind
  9. Dhamma for the deaf
  10. Free publications
  11. Buddhist translations exchange
  12. K Sri Dhammananda Lecture Series
  13. Buddhist & Pali University Diploma Courses
  14. Bookshop
  15. Kindergarten – Tadika Sudharma
  16. Parama business & IT Training Centre

Buddhist Maha Vihara - FAQs:

(1) The Buddish Maha Vihara was founded by the Sinhalese community based in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding areas in 1894 to provide a place of worship in their Sri Lankan Theravada tradition.

(2) Most of Shinhalese were either traders or artisans and skilled workers brought in from Ceylon by the British Administration to develop the colonial Malayan Civil Service.

(3) The Buddhist Maha Vihara was commonly known as the Brickfields Buddhist Temple for many years.

Note: FAQs about Buddhist Maha Vihara are taken from Buddhist Maha Vihara Facebook page. Get the latest updates from there.

Buddhist Maha Vihara - Google Maps:


View Larger Map

Buddhist Maha Vihara - Things To Do/See:

  1. Annual Wesak day celebration
  2. Annual Wesak day parade
  3. Pagoda with relics
  4. Lotus fountain
  5. Main hrine hall
  6. International Buddhist Pagoda
  7. The Sanchi Main Gates
  8. Bell tower
Buddhist Maha Vihara 2010 Wesak Day - YouTube Videos:

Part 2, Part 3 (Note: All videos captured with my hand phone camera)

Buddhist Maha Vihara - Read More & Useful Links:

  1. http://www.buddhistmahavihara.com/ (Buddhist Maha Vihara Official Webpage)
  2. http://www.bisds.org/site/ (Buddhist Dhamma Institute Sunday Dhamma School)
  3. http://tinyurl.com/298ypfs (Buddhist Maha Vihara Official Facebook Page)
  4. http://www.stsite.com/vihara/ (Photo Essay & Panorama on Buddhist Maha Vihara)
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_flag (Wikipedia Article on Buddhist Flag)
  6. http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/symbols/wheel.htm (About Buddhist Wheel)
  7. http://tinyurl.com/2w9nwbn (Visitors delighted by PM’s presence at temple, TheStar)

7 comments

  1. fufu Says:
  2. argh... i wonder how the multicultural dances look like...and the buddhist flag is so colourful =p the donation box, i used to put 50cent coins into such tin box :) the indian kids in the lotus hawkers picture are cute!!

    ops park and ride!!!good!!! wish more people would do so...

     
  3. Even the banner (Photos 13 & 14) have changed slightly to suit Wesak Day's mood?!

    I remember the banner used to have Bunga Raya!
    Gone Bunga Raya, came ship steering wheels and lotuses? Really interesting! Who designed it?

    Did you get PM's autograph? Ha ha...

     
  4. xplorer Says:
  5. nice coverage , you manage to capture the essence of the festival

     
  6. lechua Says:
  7. hey i was initially planning to photograph wesak day at Brickfields temple but something came up... i previously helped to cover few events before at the temple and met the raise the flags girl before... she and her friends were very excited to pose for the camera :)

     
  8. micki Says:
  9. I always learn something from your post! I did not know the existing of the Buddhist Flag until now. What a colorful bright flag! Love it! I also love Sri lanka's outfits. Your B/W photo of the dancers offers a very special look! I just wished that you could have recorded their performance on your cell phone again! :)

     
  10. shloke Says:
  11. fufu,

    The dances...it happened so fast! Impossible to capture them with my camera or hand phone. It started when PM Najib arrived. So, it was really difficult to record them in action. Kind of overhelming that time :)

    Yeah! The kids were AWESOME!

    londoncaller,

    The wheel a.k.a Dharmachakra represents the teachings of the Buddha. One of the most common symbols of Theravada Buddhism. It's a predominant religion in Sri Lanka. The symbol has an ancient history. Not sure who's the designer.

    PM's autograph??? LOL! The security personnel will restrained me before I can do that.

    xplorer,

    WOW! Thanks :)

    lechua,

    This is my first trip to Buddhist Maha Vihara. LOVE the festive-livew atmosphere :)

    Whoa! You've covered some events over there. Pro bono work?

    Micki,

    Buddhist flag is very common in South East Asia, Japan and even Sri Lanka. I've seen it many times, especially during Buddha's Day. Glad you learned something new from here :)

    The Sri Lankan traditional dance started when PM Najib arrived. So, it was really packed. I could only catch a glimpse of their performance. But the music was great!

    Cheers to all!
    mylo

     
  12. rebana Says:
  13. i am impressing! ton of thanks!

     
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shloke
Traveling & photography are the most rewarding & enriching experiences in my life. Photography is all about discovery, enjoying myself, having adventure, learning people & nature. The greatest experience for me is the connection I felt with NATURE. If you haven’t seen Malaysia, you haven’t seen the world! My photography works are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.
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