- Title: TAIWAN: Tens of thousdands celebrate Buddha's birthday
- Date: 14th May 2012
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (MANDARIN) 37-YEAR-OLD MOTHER, TSAI JIA-CHI, SAYING: "I have been coming to this ceremony for years, and my son also attends. I think this is a very good feeling , it makes me feel calm, and it's also good for my son to get close to Buddha"
- Embargoed: 29th May 2012 13:00
- Location: Taiwan, Province of China
- Country: Taiwan
- Topics: Religion,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA3AD4UNRE54HARJYERSLEQX5W1
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: With their hands clasped, tens of thousands of Taiwanese celebrated the Buddha's birthday on Taipei's Liberty Square on Sunday (May 13) afternoon.
Standing in a circle around a huge crystal-clear statue of the Buddha, people from Buddhist charity group the Tzu Chi Foundation, joined President Ma Ying-jeou and other government officials to bow in respect to Buddha.
"The main reason for Master Zheng-yan holding this event is that she hopes to encourage people to be grateful. On Buddha's birthday, Tzu Chi day, and also Mother's day, let every one of us -- whether government officials, policemen, businessmen, or volunteers -- pray sincerely and give our best regards to the Buddha," explained Ho Ri-sheng, spokesperson for the Tzu Chi Foundation, Members of the 30,000-strong crowd formed lines and sang to show their gratitude to the Buddha, and also, as Sunday was also Mother's Day in Taiwan, to remember a mother's love for her children.
"I have been coming to this ceremony for years, and my son also attends. I think this is a very good feeling , it makes me feel calm, and it's also good for my son to get close to Buddha," said 37-year-old mother, Tsai Jia-chi.
"My son and daughter invited me to join this ceremony yesterday, I feel so happy that they did. I feel so happy and calm taking part in the ceremony," said another mother, 65-year-old Lee Ai-jiao.
An outdoor fair began at 4:50 pm local time (850GMT), and featured game stations, vegetarian food and other family activities.
Buddhism has remained strong in Taiwan, despite rapid social change in recent decades.
The Tzu Chi Foundation, founded in 1966 by a Buddhist nun often called Taiwan's Mother Teresa, has 10 million donors worldwide.
The foundation said they were organising over 300 ceremonies in over 34 countries involving around 300,000 people to celebrate the event.
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