More than 600 people attend Monk’s third annual open house in Montague

The Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS) held an open house Sunday in Montague as a way to give back to the Island communities for being so inviting and welcoming in the past years. GEBIS is a Canadian registered charitable organization incorporated in British Columbia in 2006 and registered in PEI in 2008.

Geoffrey Yang, executive secretary of GEBIS said the purpose of the society is to promote and give Buddhist teachings, improve their way of life and reveal the ultimate truth of life and universe; to organize workshops, classes, meditations, retreats and to undertake community and charitable services, to enhance peace and harmony in the community; and to foster excellence in Buddhist education by nurturing top-rated Buddhist practitioners around the world.

“To realize these purposes, the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Academy (GEBA) was founded under GEBIS in 2009 as an education institute,” Mr Yang said. About 100 volunteers travelled from New York, California, Vancouver, Toronto and Taiwan to PEI to set up booths for the public at the open house.

Mr Yang said this is the third open house, and the society is hoping to make it an annual event. He estimated more than 600 people attended it.

The monastery was closed and vacated for the day.

The family oriented event had 10 booths, including free lunch provided by Splendid Essence, a new Asian restaurant in Charlottetown.

Among the displays were a Protecting the Environment section mainly focussing on planting trees and a Benefits of Organic booth dedicated to buying and growing organic foods. The Save Our Planet by Going Green tent had similar ideas, promoting vegetables over meat for health and environmental benefits.

One tent was dedicated to describing the daily life of a Monk. Their day begins at 3:50am to fight laziness, with morning prayers and rituals beginning at 4:20am. At 6am, breakfast is served and by 7, morning classes begin. There are debating class, a reciting class and a discussion class. By 10:30am the Monks begin cooking, cleaning, so general maintenance and store management. Lunch is served at 11:30am and classes are in by 2:15pm. At 7pm they so evening prayers and rituals, and at 8pm and they rest for the night at 9:30pm.

Courtesy of Eastern Graphic. Shannon Mooney. Published on July 13, 2011