The Year of the Dragon Lunar New Year Press Conference

The anticipated Lunar New Year Press Conference was held in the meeting room, Jan. 30th, at Hsi Lai Temple prior to the celebratory Year of the Dragon Lunar New Year festivities unfolding—the media absorbed the information about various upcoming activities, exhibitions, ceremonies, and traffic and safety measures offered by the temple during the two-week Lunar New Year celebration. A total of 24 media outlets and 30 journalists attended.

"May You Be Free as Cloud and Water, Auspicious and Joyful" were the inspiring blessings and greetings extended to all from the founding master of Fo Guang Shan, Venerable Master Hsing Yun. The abbot of Hsi Lai, Ven. Hui Dong expressed that dragons symbolize auspiciousness in Chinese culture, and they usually roam freely among the clouds high in the sky. We are grateful the Venerable Master has blessed us all to move through life as freely as dragons and to have our everyday moments filled with auspiciousness and joy.

Due to the high volume of visitors expected during the post-pandemic Lunar New Year, Abbott Ven. Hui Dong announced the temple would be open from February 10th to February 24th, welcoming all guests who drive or walk through the temple’s mountain gates, and he also encouraged the public to plan their visits to avoid peak periods. Traditionally, "burning the first incense" is burned on the first or second day of the lunar year; however, Ven. Hui Dong explained that as long as the first incense is burned during the two-week Lunar New Year celebration, it is considered “the first incense,” so everyone doesn't need to come at the same time.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Industry Station Captain Glenn Emery and California Highway Patrol Santa Fe Springs Captain Melissa Hammond unanimously emphasized that safety is top priority. Whether driving on the roads or strolling in the temple, everyone needs to be patient and yield to others, be cautious and aware of their surroundings to help ensure everyone can arrive joyfully and return home safely.

Ven. Hui Ze explained the transportation arrangements and precautions. Free parking will be provided at Puente Hills Mall, a ten-minute drive from the temple, with shuttle services. Various rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, are also encouraged. The president of BLIA Los Angeles Chapter, Alex Wu, assured BLIA members are ready to welcome warmly and serve the public during the festivities to help everyone have a delightful Lunar New Year experience at Hsi Lai Temple.

Once the press conference was completed, all attendees happily gathered around the well-known Wishing Tree to cast their New Year wishes, riding on the red ribbons into the awaiting golden branches, seeking blessings and protection from the Bodhisattvas. A plethora of fun and meaningful activities, which include bell-ringing blessings, Homage to Thousand Buddhas Dharma Service, Light-Offering Inauguration Dharma Service, Offering to Buddhas and Celestial Guardians Dharma Service, a food fair, special exhibitions, lion and dragon dances, and more will be offered. All were welcome to celebrate Lunar New Year and receive well-wishes and blessings.

(Photos by Zhang Zhicheng)