By Chris Pugh, Ukiah Daily Journal
On Saturday morning, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas invited local elders to a heartwarming celebration of the 25th Annual Honoring Elders Day. Held in the city’s Five Contemplations Dining Hall, students from the city’s Instilling Goodness Elementary School and Developing Virtue Secondary School offer a special day filled with music, food, and celebration to honor and welcome their special guests.
The late Venerable Master Hua, who founded the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in 1974, created the celebration to promote respect for one’s elders. The event started at 9 a.m. and featured numerous performances by the students who, as part of their school curriculum, learn traditional Asian arts including traditional Chinese orchestra, Lion and Dragon Dancing and Taiko drumming. The students take care of most of the details: deciding the theme, acting as MC’s and ushers and performing.
Honored guests included Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer Carmel J. Angelo, and Mendocino County 1st District Supervisor Carre Brown who said that she always feels very welcomed at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and that honoring our elders is something that we should do every day.
“Today we celebrate Honoring Elders Day. It’s heartwarming to me to know that all of the elders in our community are invited to a celebration first established in 1992.”
“I extend a special thank you to the students and teachers who worked hard to make this occasion a very special learning experience for all.”
Supervisor Brown ended her speech by saying that her children and grandchildren have learned a lot from this celebration and thanked the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for inviting her to be their honored guest.
Musical performances included traditional Chinese orchestral arrangements performed by both the girls and boys schools as well as renditions of more modern songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World,” sung by the third-grade class, and Bob Dylan’s “Young at Heart,” sung by Jonathan Davis.
Ms. Clark’s fourth-grade class wrote poems to honor the elders in their lives. One student named Evan dedicated his poem to his grandpa.
“Loving Grandpa gives warm happiness
to my sad face on pouring rainy days.”
Another student named Liam dedicated a poem to his mom and dad.
“Providers. Hard working and wise. Teaching me as I grow up.
Strong hearts. My mom and dad.”
The City’s kitchen staff worked hard to provide the honored guests and event attendees a traditional multi-course, Chinese vegetarian lunch served by the students. Courses included white rice, spring rolls, mixed vegetables, spicy tofu, fruit salad, and radish cake.