On December 24th 2012 Guang Huan Mi Zong and Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi held a fabulous Christmas celebration in the majestic Goddess of Mercy Temple located in the city of Amsterdam, New York.
The main event of the evening was a fantastic stage show featuring cultural and artistic performances blending Eastern and Western culture.
Days of preparation went into decorating the venue, rehearsing the performances, and preparing the food that was served after the show. Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi, and the students, preachers, and volunteers of Guang Huan Mi Zong worked tirelessly to renovate and redecorate the Goddess of Mercy Temple. Bright new lights illuminated the main hall of the temple and the magnificent Goddess of Mercy statue that looks over it. Chinese and Buddhist statues and artwork were mingled with Christmas lights, strands of tinsel shaped like Santa Claus, and other cheerful Christmas decorations.
On the day of the celebration dozens of guests crowded into the hall. There were attendees from around the world, Chinese and Americans, Buddhists, Christians, and agnostics, whites, Asians, African and Native Americans, young children and the elderly.
The crowd was a truly diverse group, representing Guang Huan Mi Zongˇ¦s mission of peace and harmony among all nations and religions in the world.
The evening opened with a short speech from Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi expressing friendship and welcoming to the guests and commemorating the meaning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ.
Following the speech was the first performance: an enormous Chinese lion stalked through main hall of the temple giving a ferocious display to the sound of gongs and drums. Fortunately, the powerful lion was tamed by the serene blessings of the Holy Master and the lion offered its prostrations before the Holy Master and the statue of the Goddess of Mercy.
Next came an assortment of joyful singing, dancing, and musical performances, celebrating peace, life, and the harmony of all beings.
Chinese carolers sang American Christmas songs and an American Marine performed a song in Chinese he wrote himself to dedicate his gratitude for the blessing of the Holy Master.
Chinese opera, Buddhist holy music, and Christmas carols echoed through the temple to the delight of the audience. Chinese drums mingled with an African djembe played by an American guest.
The glittering Guan Yin Bodhisattva blessed the attendees with her dance of one thousand hands and Santa Claus arrived with his elves and reindeer to give gifts of candies to the guests.
An energetic display of Chinese Kung Fu blending graceful punches and kicks with whirling swords and spears was concluded with the demonstration of Tiger Claw style by a Chinese Kung Fu Master and his American student.
The final act of the night was the performance of the dancing team to the music of ˇ§Gungnam styleˇ¨ The dance team invited the attendees up to the stage, and all the whole audience rushed to the stage to in a climax of peace, joy, and friendship expressed through music and dancing.
After the last performance the Holy Master gathered the audience and performers together and gave his blessing and gifts of chocolates and flowers.
Finally everyone headed to the refreshment table to enjoy delicious desserts and snacks and each otherˇ¦s company. Many of the guests wrote letters to share their gratitude for a wonderful evening.
Edward a Native American Faithkeeper wrote: ˇ§very beautiful performance, with beautiful spirituality. I came close twice to tears of joy, everyone was wonderful and the Spirits were very high, I felt very welcomed.ˇ¨
Nick, a local student who gave a drum solo during the performances wrote: ˇ§Thank you very much for letting me be a part of your celebrations. You are all doing such a wonderful thing for this community and it fills me with joy being a part of it. Thank you for always greeting me with open arms and much Love!ˇ¨
Nickˇ¦s friend Cory wrote: ˇ§This was my first time here and it was great. I am planning on coming back to learn more about the culture and practices. I meditate and I would love to learn how to better myself as a human. I feel it is a Great Thing that the Master is doing by spreading this way of thinking. Thank you for being open to share your way of life.ˇ¨