On June 7, 2014, Stratford and Kitchener-Waterloo jointly celebrated their 30th anniversary. The sunny, warm day began at 8 am with chanting led by Marsha Eberhardt, President of Fung Loy Kok. A workshop followed led by Andrew Hung, International instructor.
Celebration ceremonies began at 12 noon with a lively, athletic Chinese Lion Dance provided by our own talented team (Blaise and Tristan, with Fiona, Isobel and Camilla on music). Guest celebrities, MP Gary Schellenberger, Stratford mayor, Dan Mathieson and Kincardine mayor, Larry Kraemer performed the traditional act of painting the lion’s eyes to awaken him.
The audience, with FLK umbrellas protecting them from the sun, heard greetings from politicians and members of our organization, after which they enjoyed a buffet lunch. Many enjoyed their delicious food outside in the shade in our lovely back yard.
The workshop resumed at 2 pm with 96 participants who represented many locations in Central Region.
The weekend continued Sunday with Stratford Branch’s annual Theatre and Tai Chi event. The day started with a regular class. The class was followed by a buffet lunch, after which we went to the Stratford Festival to see a very enthusiastic version of Crazy for You.
It was a wonderful weekend of celebration with guests and friends working, eating and practicing Taoist Tai Chi™ arts together. Planning an event like this is great training in learning to consult and work together. We always learn much from the challenges that arise.
While All Souls Festival at D’Arcy street has come to an end, the Centre is welcoming participants from all over the world.
People are meeting up with old friends and getting acquainted with new ones while folding paper money, handling registration, cutting grass, weeding the gardens and setting up the tables for meals outside.
Earlier this month Taoist Tai Chi™ arts came to Ireland in a big way . The small town of Foxford, on the banks of the River Moy, suddenly had an influx of 176 people coming to a 3-day International program. The whole town must have been aware that something was going on and it wasn’t to do with fishing. “What were all these people doing?” must have been asked around town. The workshop participants didn’t really need to ask because we all felt it. Led wonderfully by Tony Kwong and translated by Susan Tam , we all came to feel changes for the better and for some profound healing experiences happened and were shared .
Our task for this year is to keep working on those changes and share them around the 12 locations in Ireland. Then maybe next year we will return to Foxford and this time it will not only be famous for its fishing but for its Tai Chi also…
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The All Souls Festival Chanting has started. Chanters and participants of Fung Loy Kok from Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Costa Rica, 40 all together, gathered at D’Arcy Street today for the first of three days of All Souls Festival. The Festival ends on Sunday afternoon.
About the All Souls Festival
Buddhists and Taoists around the world hold ceremonies on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month so that outcast and famished souls may repent and cross over to salvation. This is known as the All Souls Festival.
Legend states that during the seventh lunar month the souls of the dead are released from hell and allowed to walk among the living. For this reason, Buddhist and Taoist temples around the world hold the All Souls Festival during the seventh lunar month every year. The purpose is twofold: first, it gives the living an opportunity to express filial piety by honouring their deceased ancestors; second, the temple will feed the hungry ghosts (souls who have no living relatives to offer them food or pray on their behalf) and give the lost souls a chance to hear the sutras during the days of the festival.
The souls of the deceased are comforted by the burning of incense sticks, paper money and paper clothes, and by the food offerings at the altar. When a living descendent puts up a temporary memorial plaque, the soul of the deceased is invited to come and listen to the sutras, to receive the food and other offerings. But the temple is opened even to the souls who do not have temporary memorial plaques installed. These souls can still receive the food for the hungry ghosts and the paper money burnt in charity. Most importantly, the festival gives all the souls a chance to listen to the chanting. We hope that they will heed the advice of the Buddha and Immortals in the words of the sutras, repent their wrongdoings, and receive deliverance from their sufferings in hell.
The 20th anniversary of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Hungary was celebrated with a 3-day International Program, a public demonstration and a banquet. 244 members of the international community gathered from 11 countries, which is a new record in the history of programs held in Hungary. The program was led by Tony Kwong, for whom it was not the first visit to the country. The demo on Friday took place at a central location in the Hungarian capital city. Dark clouds did not discourage us although a quick and heavy shower of rain chased the group under the Elizabeth Bridge, where we continued with foundation exercises. When the foundations were done, the rain was over too, and the square could be filled up again with lines standing up for the set. Eventually three Tai Chi Sets were performed and neither rain nor blazing sunshine troubled the assembly of over 200, who waved their hands like clouds in harmony beside the Danube river.
After the public demo a banquet celebration followed, a dinner of almost 10 courses – not counting the fruits and the birthday cake with fireworks! We had decorated the restaurant hall with old Tai Chi T-shirts and posters with photos of events from the past 20 years. To add a more personal touch to these pictures, accounts from society participants were featured in the posters as well. A good number of volunteers worked during the workshop; many participants were busy with lots and lots of small tasks.
Practice was done in small groups in order to help everyone fully utilize the potential of the time spent together. Although only the first 24 steps were studied intensively during the program, the sets we performed every morning definitely changed in these three days. Thank you, Tony, for the excellent instruction and to all who joined our celebration!