Tuesday, Oct 24th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 06 June 2015 10:38

Vegetarian Diet Keeps Bad Temper and Illnesses at Bay

Written by  Yen Yu Chu, Melaka / Translated by Ong Wai Hong

After being vegetarians, Shim Kim Lian and her daughter’s health has improved significantly. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

“I used to have serious gastric and stomach wind, and had difficulty breathing! Now, it only recurs when I do not take my meals regularly, and would go away shortly after,” said Shim Kim Lian happily. Her daughter, Yang Wei Ying echoed, “Previously, whenever I ate meat, I would get gastric. After becoming a vegetarian, that issue vanished.” Both mother and daughter took to vegetarianism to keep illnesses at bay.


 
Since Tzu Chi Melaka started the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance and sutra study in October 2014, the participants were urged to observe a vegetarian diet for at least 108 days. While some participants hesitated and were worried that they could not stop their craving for meat, some responded immediately by observing a vegetarian fast.
 
Shim Kim Lian and her daughter, Yang Wei Ying, accepted volunteer Ng Lay Ho’s invitation to join the sutra adaptation performance and study group out of curiosity. Through their participation, they have the chance to practise vegetarianism, and it helps to improve their health. Having gained some insight into the scripture, they have gradually improved their temper and demeanour.
 
Gastric gone without medication
 
Through their meat consumption, both mother and daughter had suffered from gastric problems. Kim Lian had attempted to cook vegetarian meals several times but was in vain as she had limited knowledge on vegetarian cooking. Moreover, her husband had disapproved of her going vegetarian long-term. Thus, both of them would “just try eating less meat and see how it goes”. However, they still encountered gastric problems whenever they had some meat, and were trapped in the cycle of eating meat, suffering gastric and taking medications.
 
Last November, when they attended the sutra study group for the second time, the Master of Ceremony urged the participants to observe a vegetarian diet for at least 108 days. They decided to respond to the call without hesitation. Unfamiliar with vegetarian cooking, Kim Lian faced difficulties and challenges. Fortunately, Lay Ho was there to guide her and exchange experiences with her. Through vegetarian recipes, newspapers and other resources, she gradually acquired vegetarian cooking skills; and she and her daughter have been observing a vegetarian diet since last December. In recollection, Kim Lian said, “When my husband knew that we have undertaken a vegetarian diet for the sutra adaptation performance, he supported us. For that, I am truly grateful.”
 
Although vegetarianism has caused some inconveniences to Wei Ying in school, she was undeterred. She said, “Sometimes, I would request my mum to prepare a lunch box for me, or just have some bread. If not, I would just pour some gravy and pick some vegetables as my meal in the canteen. It is fine.” Despite being a teenager, she has never succumbed to peer pressure to eat meat. To-date, she has happily persisted in her vegetarian diet for seven months.
 
Saving lives and improving health
 
The health benefit has come unexpectedly to 40-ish Kim Lian. She said, “After being a vegetarian for just three weeks, I feel that my health has improved significantly.” She used to have headaches on hot days, and had suffered from constipation since she was a teenager. She said, “I often wondered where the food I had eaten gone to as I only defecate for less than seven days in a month.” Surprisingly, the day after she started a vegetarian diet, her prolonged constipation problem disappeared, together with a substantial reduction in headaches.
 
Happy with the unexpected health benefits, both mother and daughter said in unison, “We will continue to be vegetarians. We are no longer doing this merely for the sutra adaptation performance.” After being vegetarians, their health has improved and they feel fresher than ever. Having witnessed their positive changes, Kim Lian’s husband has been more supportive of their decision to become vegetarians.
 
Repent and refrain from creating unwholesome karma
 
Through her participation in sutra study and chanting of the verses, Kim Lian’s temper has also improved. Her daughter, Wei Ying said with a smile, “Before this, mum was fierce. She often yelled at me and my younger brother. Now, she is gentler and do not yell at us anymore. She even speaks good words often!” Hearing the remarks from her daughter, Kim Lian quoted a sutra verse smilingly, “Like a snake spitting poison, my words hurt others.” She understood the sutra verses and has indirectly improved her relationship with her children.
 
“I have also improved myself, especially the way I speak,” said Wei Ying shyly. She used to speak vulgar language to her schoolmates and brother. But after learning the Dharma, she is aware of her misconduct and constantly reminds herself to stop creating the evil karma of speech. Now, she always speaks politely and minds her words. She revealed that while chanting and practising the sign language, she would often recall her past wrongdoings and feel regretful.
 
Overcome the barriers and seize the time
 
Wei Ying, a Form Five student, had considered giving up the performance due to her hectic school work. Fortunately, Lay Ho constantly encouraged her not to give up halfway. Furthermore, she is quite interested in the sign language and loves the meaningful verses, which is a wealth of life’s principles. Therefore, she tries her best to plan her time for study, and grab every opportunity to participate in the sutra study and sign language practices.
 
On June 6, 2015, the performers from Tzu Chi Melaka were in KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall for the acceptance review by Taiwanese volunteer, Joy Lu and her team. Despite her approaching examinations in July, Wei Ying decided to attend the activity and revise her study on the bus. Occasionally, she was seen holding her book in one hand, and performing the hand gesture with the other hand, together with other volunteers on the bus. Besides practising along with the video played on the bus, she also practised other songs using her mobile phone, thus fully utilizing her time.
 
“Strangely, I did not feel any body ache while practising, but once I got home, I would feel pain around my waist and knees,” shared Kim Lian. Due to knee pain, she could not squat, thus she opted for the simpler body movements of the Dharma Accompaniment Team. Though some squatting movements were still required, she has overcome her physical barrier and has no problem squatting now.
 
 
Kim Lian and her daughter have observed a vegetarian diet purely for the sutra adaptation performance. Unexpectedly, that has freed them from their prolonged health problems and improved their vigour. They are not only determined to be vegetarians, but also realized the meaning of the scripture, which helps to improve their habits and their family relationships.
 
 
Shim Kim Lian, who was unfamiliar with vegetarian cooking, has learnt the skills through recipes, newspapers and other resources. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Shim Kim Lian and her daughter joined the sutra adaptation performance out of curiosity. But that has led them to become stalwart vegetarians and also allowed them to understand the meaning of the scripture, thereby improving their habits. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

Shim Kim Lian, who was unfamiliar with vegetarian cooking, has learnt the skills through recipes, newspapers and other resources. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
Shim Kim Lian and her daughter joined the sutra adaptation performance out of curiosity. But that has led them to become stalwart vegetarians and also allowed them to understand the meaning of the scripture, thereby improving their habits. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
Constant chanting of the verses has helped Shim Kim Lian to improve her temper. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   After learning the Dharma, Yang Wei Ying (middle) is more conscious of her speech and constantly reminds herself to stop creating unwholesome karma of speech. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

Constant chanting of the verses has helped Shim Kim Lian to improve her temper. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
After learning the Dharma, Yang Wei Ying (middle) is more conscious of her speech and constantly reminds herself to stop creating unwholesome karma of speech. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]