GEORGE TOWN: Teaching his four-year-old son about prayers and the power of chanting is Sam Lum’s way of giving his child insight into the calmness that spirituality brings.

“We are here to pray for a better year amidst the pandemic.

“It is good to have prayers like this and the chanting comes from the heart.

“We wish everyone a safe and peaceful year during these uncertain times,” he said when met after the chanting and offerings to Buddha and Celestial Guardians Dharma Service at the Malaysian Buddhists Association (MBA) in Burma Road.

Lum, 44, an interior designer, said it was part of their culture to chant prayers.

“I do not pray here all the time when they have chanting service but this one seemed important.

“I wanted my son to experience the calmness that comes from listening to the chanting.

“I want to expose him to the environment here and let him feel the peace that I get here,” he said.

This specific chanting session was held at the association on account of the pandemic.

MBA honorary secretary Reverend Ji Zun said this was the first time they were holding the service.

“The chanting lasted around two hours and is an offering to Buddha and the 24 Celestial Guardians,” she said.

The 24 deities in Mahayana Buddhism’s pantheon of divinities are venerated as defenders of the Buddha-Dharma.

“We usually hold different chanting services throughout the year but this one is because of the pandemic.

“It is a special prayer that we planned weeks ago and then we realised there was a surge in cases and the Omicron wave.

“This has made the prayers more meaningful as it is to strengthen our health and eliminate the pandemic.”

Rev Ji Zun said at the altar, the 24 Celestial Guardians were presented with sweet, sour and salty delights as well as a candles and flowers.

“The verses we chant are for warding off sickness to lead a healthy and strong life for all throughout the country.

“There are around 50 people here while the rest are watching it at home via our live feed,” she said.