Members and guests of the Buddhist Association of Metropolitan Detroit gathered Sunday at a temple in Berkley for a day of prayers, song and food to honor their parents.
The celebration marked the Buddhist Mother's Day in Vietnam, where many of the Robina temple's worshippers have roots.
"We dedicate this celebration to enrich the relations between parents and children," visiting monk Thich Dao Quang of Tam Bao Temple in Baton Rouge, La., said. "From a Buddhist perspective, we educate our children to respect the parents as you respect the Buddha."
The Buddha is not a god, but a man who achieved enlightenment thousands of years ago and taught others that to do the same, they should lead a moral life, be mindful of their thoughts and actions, and develop wisdom and understanding, according to buddhanet.net. Approximately 300 million people worldwide practice Buddhism, the website says.
The Berkley temple is home to one monk and provides 11 families from throughout the Metro area with a place to pray, meditate and learn about the religion, said Brian Le, president of the Buddhist Association of Metropolitan Detroit.
He added that the association received a permit from the city for Sunday's celebration, which drew a larger-than-normal crowd because of the holiday's significance.
"(The temple)'s really meant to serve the American Vietnamese community and try to really cultivate the Vietnamese Buddhism," he said, adding that anyone is welcome to visit. "Being away from the motherland, we want to create the opportunity for kids to continue learning about Buddha and Vietnam."
Quang – who is working to earn a doctorate in psychology from Walden University and uses Buddhism to help counsel people with depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety and addictions – said he urges the community to integrate the best parts of American and Vietnamese culture.
"Today, because we live in a very busy society, sometimes parents have no time for children because of their work and the structure of our society," he said. "We have to recognize this reality and do our best to make sure parents have the time to give tender care, approbate education and (instill a) sense of responsibility to their parents when their parents get older or get sick and vice versa. Children have to accept their parents' strengths and weaknesses. ... No relationship is perfect."
Quang said he called his mother Sunday morning to wish her happy Mother's Day.
"I say thank you and apologize if anything I have done wrong when I was a young boy," he said. "I ask her to enjoy the day, enjoy her life, because life is too short. I try to remind her to focus on the positive. No life is perfect."
Quang said he would reflect upon parenthood Sunday during his speech, which was delivered in Vietnamese.
"We have to appreciate that parents have sacrificed their lives, nurtured our life by love, compassion and understanding, and they continue to observe and forward your life until they close their eyes," he said.