Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Modern Buddhist Wedding

A unique "Buddha-fied" bridal show held on June 26 at Fo Guang Shan's Lan Yang Temple in Yilan County featured bride Chen Meng-jou wearing the newest style of bridal gown for a traditional Buddhist wedding with a modern flair. Master Yung Kuang of the temple says that promoting Buddhist wedding ceremonies is done in the hopes of making newlyweds better understand the process of marriage, so as to experience more blessings and contentment in their marriages.
Master Yung Kuang adds that the Taiwan's Buddhist wedding ceremony has its roots in Yilan from when the wedding between famous painter Li Chi-mao and an Yilan girl, Chang Kuang-cheng, was officiated over by Venerable Master Hsing Yun at the temple in 1960. Today, young people are getting married faster and divorce is rampant; the temple hopes to promote Buddhist wedding ceremonies as a means to bring Buddhist teachings to help people with their marriages.

The "Buddha-fied Bridal Show" featured two Fo Guang Shan followers, Chen Meng-jou and Chen Yu-chun, playing the parts of the bride and groom. The wedding dress was provided by Chinghua Bridal, and was of the latest style. Chairman of the Board Tsai Ching-hua says that she felt the Buddhist ceremony was very meaningful, and the company's provision of the latest styles in fashion for the bridal party showed that a Buddhist ceremony could be beautiful and harmonious.

Master Yung Kuang says that most people mistakenly believe that Buddhist wedding ceremonies are only suitable for the children of believers, but Venerable Master Hsing Yun believes that such ceremonies should be promoted to the general public as an option. If people wonder why a Buddhist monk or nun care about secular weddings, the Venerable Master said once that "one doesn't necessarily have to enter a religious community to study Buddhism; the religion should be available to any layman at home.”

The "Buddha-fied Bridal Show" was held on the 11th floor of the Lan Yang Temple, and guests paid their respects to the Buddha on the way in. The bridal couple were led into the room by Yung Kuang, accompanied by the gentle sounds of chimes that helped attendees to center their thoughts and be quiet. Hoping to maintain an atmosphere of seriousness and joy at the same time, Master Yung Kuang performed the wedding ceremony and the blessing of the couple, and also arranged for students from Fo Guang University to give a performance. Finally, a traditional song of good luck for weddings was sung in Chinese, to cap a simple yet elegant experience