Orange County Government, Florida
07 August 2014
Tea Ceremonies at Guang Ming Temple Celebrate Asian Culture in Orange County
[Left to right] Gloria Chu, Ruth Geniac, Venerable Chueh Fan, Lisa Jacobs, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Rachel Siu, Hefang Lin and Ingrid Lin gather at the Guang Ming Temple.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs recently visited the Guang Ming Temple in Orange County and took part in an official tea ceremony with the Venerable Chueh Fan.

“I was deeply honored to visit the Guang Ming Temple and take part in such a beautiful tea ceremony. The gifts of Asian culture, art, history and heritage have enriched our region in so many ways,” Mayor Jacobs said. “Orange County’s diversity is one of the things that makes our community so special. Asian Americans in our community have helped shape our character and continue to be a vital, vibrant, and dynamic asset to the Central Florida community.”

Central Florida’s Guang Ming Temple is a three-story, 30,000–square-foot traditional Chinese-monastic style temple that was completed in 2007. Guang Ming Temple was founded in Kissimmee in 1992 and is now the largest Chinese Buddhist temple in Florida. The Venerable Chueh Fan has graciously provided the invocation at the Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting on several occasions.

During Mayor Jacobs’ visit, tea ceremony master Vicky Lu invited guests to a ceremonial tea ritual; a custom in Asian cultures that encourages visitors to savor the rich flavors of tea in a quiet, Zen-like environment away from the distractions of everyday life. Local citizen Judy Nguyen introduced participants to the different types of teas, tea aromas, and tea flowers.

“It was such a privilege to participate in this ceremony that celebrates Asian culture with Mayor Jacobs and the Venerable Chueh Fan,” said Hefang Lin, Ph.D., president of the Orange County Asian Committee and statistician for Orange County’s Corrections Department. “We are so grateful for Mayor Jacobs’ support of our organization, our culture and our events that support our growing community.”

Guang Ming Temple is a traditional Chinese imperial style temple in Orange County located on Hoffner Avenue near Goldenrod Road. The temple provides multicultural education and serves as a center for social functions and festival activities. The temple has an authentic tea room and hosts Buddhism discussion groups and study classes, lessons on meditation and Chinese cultural programs. The Guang Ming Temple is a branch temple from Fo Guang Shan and means bright light in Mandarin Chinese.

In May, Mayor Jacobs delivered a proclamation at Buddha’s Birthday Celebration at Guang Ming Temple. At the event, she encouraged all citizens to share in its observance by embracing the ideals of virtuous kindness, compassion, and wisdom. For 26 centuries the world has celebrated Buddhism and its principles of kindness, compassion and wisdom. Buddha's birthday is recognized on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar and is perhaps the most colorful and festive of all the Buddhist holidays.

A collection of photos from the tea ceremony at Guang Ming Temple are available on Flickr for use by the media.