An Inspiring Talk by Venerable Chueh Ju
To encourage and promote the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Vege Plan A, and to take care of the environment, Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto and BLIA Toronto Chapter jointly organized a special virtual meeting with Venerable Chueh Ju on July 5 on Zoom and Youtube Live. Venerable Chueh Ju is the author of “Dining with Venerable Master Hsing Yun” and is most apt to share her cooking experiences from Venerable Master Hsing Yun. About 270 BLIA members gathered together online to learn and better understand FGS founder Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s philosophy on Vegetarianism and cooking vegetarian food. These are some of the attitudes that one should bear in mind when preparing food: generosity, compassion, tolerance, gentle and warm heartedness, patience, no-self and non-judgmental.
At the start of the session, the Abbess of FGS Temple of Toronto, Venerable Chueh Fan expressed her gratitude to Venerable Chueh Ju on behalf of all participants in Toronto. She especially introduced Venerable Chueh Ju as someone who is most gentle and equanimous, outstanding characteristics that even Venerable Master Hsing Yun highly praised.
Venerable Chueh Ju, the superintendent of the Residence of the Founding Master, opened with a famous Chinese saying, that people regard food as heaven to illustrate that food and eating is a skillful means to deliver sentient beings. She herself became a Buddhist through her interest in vegetarian food hence it is natural for her to use it as a way of giving back to others. She is grateful and honored to have the good conditions to learn from Venerable Master Hsing Yun, not only from his words but also through observing his actions and behaviors.
Venerable Master told her that we are not just cooking for the sake of cooking, but rather cooking with a heart of service. Some of the important homework for shouldering the cooking task in the temple includes cultivating one’s magnanimity, attitude of offering, gentleness, compassion, observant, always putting others first. Cooking in the temple, one needs to realize that hosting guests is an art, a Dharma service, a cultivation and a meritorious act.