We reached the temple at 6.30 pm and with us were my 2 sisters-in-law, 2 nephews and a niece. As we were there doing the Special Count-Down before, we have no problem locating the venue.
The count-down with the Monks was, as usual, at midnight but there was a great event at Kong Meng San (光明山) whereby the Venerable Monk from Tibet was leading people to chant "Om Mani Padme Hung" for a hundred million times known as "The 100 Million MANI Recitation Retreat : 一亿观音心咒襌修"
There were many people who took part in the Retreat and many were there for a full cycle of 7-days chanting "Om Mani Padme Hung" from morning to night. As both my wife and I are working, we were only able to join in the Retreat during the last night.
We sat in the big hall with many other people and later all of us were blessed by the Verenable Tibet Monk at the end of the Retreat when all of us line-up in a single row and were led to him.
The session ended at around 10 pm and we had some refreshment before the commencement of the Special Count-Down. The Special Count-Down event of the Temple every year is the traditional sounding of the Big Bell - A total of 108 strokes (鸣钟一百零八次). In fact, the 108 sounding of bells are practiced in temples all over the world.
As time tickled nearer and nearer to 12 mid-night, more and more people gathered around the Temple's Big Bell waiting patiently for the main event of the year.
At 12 o'clock sharp, the Monk sound the Bell for 108 times and we made our wishes during the event. After the completion of the 108 strokes, we wished the people around us a Happy New Year.
2005 is over and 2006 unfolds itself ahead of us.
With full contentment, peaceful mind and warmth in our hearts, we headed home with smiles on our faces.