Lotus Mornings are a monthly program of Dharma inspired topics, interest and education organized by the BLIA English subchapter of Toronto. In celebration of the Lunar New Year of the Ox, Lotus Mornings had a special focused theme of “Cultivate the Heart that Blooms in all Seasons” on Saturday, February 13th. The theme has been inspired by Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s Dharma verses for the Lunar New Year of the Ox .
The session started with our special guest speaker, Ms. Mabel Lam, the President of the BLIA, she encouraged the participants to cultivate the qualities of our heart, to nurture the seeds, to allow the seeds to sprout and bloom in all seasons. It was then followed by a session of Tea Meditation to bring in mindfulness and awareness to start the morning:
• A Theme Talk and Group Discussion: “What qualities do you want to have in yourself?”
The qualities of an Ox are Hardworking, Diligent, Honest, Trustworthy and Gentle, but its mind can go wild if it does not watch itself. To begin cultivating the heart that blooms in all seasons, one should practice diligence to understand our mind, to cultivate and to apply the right mindfulness in all we do. After a short Dharma talk, the participants shared thoughts in breakout groups on what they plan to do better in the coming year.
• Temple Tour: Introduction and Tour of FGS “Water Drop Tea House”
Scott, Our president of the English Subchapter shared the story of the founder of FGS Order, Venerable Master Hsing Yun. The vow Master Hsing Yun had made when he was a novice, that he would devote his life to Buddhism in return for the kindness and compassion through a simple bowl of pickled vegetable he received from his Master.
• Vegetarian Cooking Demonstration with Malaysian Curry
A presentation of how to prepare a Malaysian curry was shared. This dish is a complex combination of different spices and herbs, each spice has its own strong and unique sweet fragrant, once they are all mixed, it gives out a wonderful flavor. The curry therefore expresses the beautiful diversity of Canadian mosaic where different cultures and traditions come together, making Canada one of the most multicultural and prosperous countries in the world. Adapting a vegetarian diet not only is the path to better health, it is the first step to cultivate the seed of compassion, the profound understanding that all beings desire to live.