Ghostly presents hit in new temple

by Nick Higginbottom, Melbourne Herald Sun, August 20, 2007

Melbourne, Australia -- SERENITY prevailed yesterday when Buddhist monks, a politician and hungry ghosts opened a new temple at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery.

<< Melbourne's new temple. Picture: Darryl Gregory

Health Minister Daniel Andrews opened the temple in the Asian burial grounds.

The temple is believed to be the first of its kind in an Australian cemetery.

It took Chinese artisans eight years to build the Di Zhang Wang Temple using traditional materials.

Master Ru Sun of the Yu Yang Temple in Narre Warren guided the cemetery on the construction process and blessed the temple when it was opened.

Yesterday also marked the Hungry Ghost Ceremony, an annual event for Buddhists to celebrate ghosts being released from heaven.

Offerings of food, chants, prayers and the burning of incense were made to satisfy the ghosts and attract good fortune.

Springvale Botanical Cemetery chief executive Russ Allison said Springvale was the only cemetery in Australia to celebrate the festival.