The Annual Temple Cleaning, Cultivation with Joy

January 7, 2023

At the end of the year, we say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. On the morning of January 7th, 2023, volunteers from Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto returned to the temple with joy, and started the first year-end Temple cleaning since the pandemic. More than 200 volunteers participated in the year-end cleaning in the designated area ahead of schedule under the leadership and planning of monastics. 

At 9:30am, the Abbess, Venerable Chueh Fan, thanked everyone for coming back to help the temple cleaning together. Before the start of the annual cleaning, to bless all the volunteers, the Venerable led them  in reciting the Heart Sutra and respectfully read the Prayer for Volunteers, written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founder of the Fo Guang Shan. The Abbess also hoped that everyone could learn and understand the spirit and virtues of volunteering, and devote themselves to work with joy to solemnize the temple.

After the chanting, volunteers were grouped accordingly as planned. The Venerable reminded everyone that while cleaning the temple, one shall also purify one’s heart. Volunteers followed Venerables and team leaders to their assigned locations and started their hard work. Whether it was cleaning Buddha statues, meditation mats, windows, or the meditation halls, cabinets, aisles, and washrooms, everyone did their best and gave with compassion and joy. 

What is worth mentioning about this outing is that each group included parents and their children. Among them was Charoo Li, a board committee of the BLIA English sub-chapter, who carried her three-month-old daughter, and was joined by her husband Tyrie Norris. Together they cleaned the stairs.  Everyone around them were touched deeply by their devotion.

One group cleaned the copper buckles on the Buddha hall gate and the copper buckles needed to be removed one by one. and The patina surface that had oxidized in the past four years was restored to its original sheen. Team leader Mandy Kwan said that the wiping work seemed simple, but it took a lot of effort, and the entire team worked quietly and focused on the solemnity of the temple.

Volunteers cleaning the Buddhas in the Main Shrine
Team leader providing guidance to the volunteers
Volunteers cleaning the Dining Hall
Volunteers cleaning the washrooms
English subchapter committee members Charoo, Tyrie and their three-month-old baby cleaning the stairs together
Volunteers cleaning the main door knobs
Volunteer Gordon Thriumal participating in the Annual Cleaning for the first time
Next generation volunteers cleaning the Museum Gallery