Tzu Chi Kuala Lumpur & Selangor will hold an Auspicious Seventh Lunar Month Blessing Ceremony on August 20 and 21, 2011. As vegetarianism is promoted at this event, volunteers have invited 61 vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants in Klang Valley to provide free vegetarian meals to the public on July 30.
Traditionally, the Malaysian Chinese community has always considered the Seventh Lunar Month as the "Hungry Ghosts' Month", and has kept to a number of superstitious practices. But, according to Buddhist scriptures, the said month is a month of auspiciousness, joy and gratitude. With the approach of the Seventh Lunar Month this year, and in view of the frequent occurrence of major global disasters recently, Tzu Chi Kuala Lumpur & Selangor has organized three Blessing Ceremonies with two objectives in mind, that is, to reveal to the general Chinese community the true significance of the festival; and to pray for world peace and harmony.
Vegetarianism is a way to save Earth by rectifying the current global problems of frequent disasters and climate change. Master Cheng Yen has been urging everyone to change their lifestyle to save Earth; and going vegetarian could make a great difference. Moreover, according to Buddhist belief, being a vegetarian is a significant move in alleviating the suffering of those beings in the lower realms.
In this light, Tzu Chi volunteers promoted the "Go Vegetarian for A Day" drive for the upcoming Blessing Ceremonies. For the first time ever, 61 vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants around the Klang Valley had responded generously by agreeing to provide free vegetarian meals to all walk-ins on July 30, at a scheduled time.
Benevolence in kindness
Huang Xue Xin, owner of Lingzi Vegetarian Restaurant in Kepong and a Tzu Chi donating member, agreed to participate in the vegetarian drive without hesitation when invited by volunteers. The restaurant provided free vegetarian lunch to all walk-ins from 11 am to 2 pm. Madam Huang could be seen in the kitchen and serving area busily giving instructions to the chefs and helpers, besides serving the diners; and, as soon as the food trays were empty, they were replenished immediately. It is her sincere hope that such a vegetarian drive could clear the myths about the Seventh Lunar Month. She has indeed achieved positive karmic affinity through such benevolence.
To provide free vegetarian meals was not something new for the owner of Jie Shan Yua Vegetarian Restaurant, Madam Zhu Qing Lian. But this was the first time she did so in response to Tzu Chi's invitation. Unlike previous occasions, she had assistance from Tzu Chi volunteers in this activity. As such, she got to know more about Tzu Chi, and was grateful she was invited to take part.
Mdm Zhu's restaurant is relatively new, having opened for business for only one-and-a-half years. Though she has yet to make good profit, she was truly generous in taking part in the drive. This was because she hoped to attract more people to be vegetarians. A few days before the event, she made sure posters about the free lunch were posted in and outside the restaurant.
For Ye Jian Bing, owner of You Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant in OUG, Old Klang Rd, promoting vegetarianism for health and environmental conservation is his response to Master Cheng Yen's teaching. He would like to see more people joining the vegetarian queue as a result of the campaign. His wife, Luo Chang Yu, felt it meaningful to participate in the vegetarian drive. Despite spending a few busy days getting ready for the free meal day, she was anything but tired. To her, the provision of free meals for a day had given her and her spouse an opportunity to nurture good karmic affinity with all beings. Moreover, according to Master Cheng Yen, it is the willingness to give that will generate reward.
In Rawang, renovation work at the Song Feng Restaurant went on till the early hours of July 30 so that it would be ready to provide the free vegetarian meals. Such sincere effort from the owner of the restaurant, Liao Jin Hui, was deeply appreciated by all Tzu Chi volunteers, and boosted their morale to promote vegetarianism.
Having been a vegetarian for the past 13 years, Liao sincerely hoped that more people would go vegetarian, not only for health reason but for conservation as well. As such, he ensured that the "Go vegetarian" event of free meals would go as planned, regardless of the short time he had for renovation.
It is never too late to go vegetarian
At Jinjang South, Zhi Shan Vegetarian Food Court was crowded with Chinese, Malay and Indian diners. Chen Ping Yuan, one of the diners, revealed that his gout problem has improved since he went on a vegetarian diet. He added that he would continue to be a vegetarian.
Burmese, Kaxin and Indonesian, Diti, who are painters, would occasionally eat vegetarian food. They testified that a vegetarian diet was not only good for their health but also gave them a clearer mind. This observation is certainly contrary to the common misconception that a vegetarian diet is not suitable for people whose work requires hard labour, as they would lack stamina.
Mr Peru and his family happily joined the occasion at Green Lane's Shun De Restaurant. He greatly appreciated the effort of Tzu Chi Foundation in promoting a vegetarian diet. When told of the significance of the event, he immediately registered his whole family for the August 20 Blessing Ceremony. In addition, he also took a pledge card for 100 vegetarian meals, as well as, adopted a bamboo bank.
At Shun De vegetarian restaurant, the lady boss and her employees witnessed the success of promoting a vegetarian diet. Their appreciation of Tzu Chi had also led them to sign up as donating members.
Chen Yi Ming was 68 years old and a vegetarian. He had tried to guide his family members to be vegetarians but has yet to succeed in this effort. Nevertheless, he took his family along to the Affinity Vegetarian Restaurant on July 30. He thought it was appropriate to promote vegetarianism, and that the free meal event would be able to change the diet habit of many. He would be happy to see the event as an annual happening.
Mo Feng Zhu adopted a vegetarian diet for religious belief, much to her mother's dismay. Then when she knew of a job vancancy at You Yuan Restaruant, she prompted her mother to take up the job. After working in the kitchen as a cook for a few months, her mother had this to say, "It is wonderful to see so many people eating what I have cooked for them. Nowadays, I take two vegetarian meals a day."
Free vegetarian meals from non-vegetarian restaurants
Zhen Mei Feng, lady boss of DoReMi, a fast food restaurant in Sg. Buloh, generaously agreed to offer a free vegetarian meal for a day to customers who dined at her shop. The response was good as a total of 151 customers had their first taste of a vegetarian meal.
Despite not getting the food he came for, a little boy could not resist seeing his young brother eating the vegetarian nasi lemak, and he eventually ordered a plate for himself. He ate happily and even asked naively if the egg in his plate was artificial!
Good things happened naturally on that day. A lady brought her children for the free vegetarian meal, not planning to have one for herself. But when she learned from the volunteers that eating vegetarian food will reduce killing and is an act of kindness, she decided to order one for herself too. In addition, she also signed up as a donating member of Tzu Chi, and promised that she would take part in the Blessing Ceremony in August. Her young daughter, a primary school pupil, also adopted a vegetarian pledge card for 100 vegetarian meals in preparation for the August event.
All in all, a total of 10,000 vegetarian meals were provided on that day. It was a meaningful event in that it gave the public a chance to practise kindness by eating a vegetarian meal for the good of others, and to part take in the coming event. The August event aims to reveal the significance of the Seventh Lunar Month, so that superstitious practices that are damaging to Earth could be reduced.
Tzu Chi volunteers at the wet market promoting the Auspicious Seventh Lunar Month Blessing Ceremonies, and inviting the public to come for the free vegetarian meals.【Photograph by Chan Wai Yan】
It was a sumptuous vegetarian meal for all who came to the participating restaurants. Food supply was unlimited from breakfast to lunch hours.【Photograph by Low Mai Yin】
Chen Ya Nu, who was initially against a vegetarian diet, felt happy upon seeing so many people eating the vegetarian dishes she prepared. She took two vegetarian meals a day after working for a few months in a vegetarian restaurant.【Photograph by Lim Su Nguan】
Mr Peru (middle, in white shirt) and his family came for the free meals, and registered his family for the Auspicious Seventh Lunar Month Blessing Ceremony. He also accepted a vegetarian pledge for 100 meals.【Photograph by Lee Loong Hin】
This little boy could not resist the appetizing dish, and found the vegetarian "Nasi Lemak (coconut milk rice)" just as delicious!【Photograph by Chan Wai Yan】div>
The lady boss of Shun De Vegetarian Restaurant, Yu Pei Ling (left) and her helpers happily signed up as donating members after realizing that many people were willing to be vegetarians due to the campaign.【Photograph by Lee Loong Hin】
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