American Buddhist Confederation Delegation’s Visit to Tsinghua Porridge Stand
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2016-04-05 21:53:16
A delegation of masters from American Buddhist Confederation visited the Tsinghua Porridge Stand of Beijing Ren Ai Charity Foundation on October 17. They participated in the porridge offering and environmental protection activities with volunteers from University of Science and Technology Beijing and China Agricultural University. By joining the porridge serving part and communicating with the volunteers, the masters learnt about the ideas about charity of Ren Ai porridge offering.


When I hold the porridge bowl, I feel the warmth from heart.

When I send my blessings, I receive the most beautiful smile of the world.

When I bend down, I touch flowers growing from the dust.

When I open my heart, I hear a lotus bloom.

When I close my eyes, I see light from the other shore.

The indifference I experienced has melted into streams.

The hurt I was given, I have forgotten.

The kindness I have accepted, I will pass on.

This is a wonderful and warm day. I am not facing the sea, but feel flowers in bloom.

This poem is written by a student volunteer from Beijing Ren Ai Charity Foundation

 

The porridge offering stand at the Tsinghua Science Park in Beijing has been in close connection with college students since it was opened on May 4, 2009. Every weekend, nearby university students would gather here to experience porridge offering.

 

They came on Saturday, October 17, 2015, as usual. But it was an unusual day because the stand was welcoming visitors from the other side of the ocean– a group of more than 30 members led by Ven. Xichen from American Buddhist Confederation. When the little stand was honored by the presence of the distinguished guests, the delegation masters and laypeople also stopped for these university student volunteers.

 

Porridge, steamed bread, sweet buns, red jujubes– the nutritional vegetarian breakfast was full of care from the family-like stand members. College student Zhang Hongbo led volunteers who had had breakfast playing sign language exercise accompanied byThe Song of Ren Ai, waking everyone’s heart from the morning sleepiness. Li Ran, today’s leading volunteer, an intern in Tsinghua Science Park inspired by a cup of porridge offered to her three years ago, already became one of the main weekend volunteers leading porridge offering and environmental protection activities. As confident and warm as usual, she gently explained to the volunteers the ideas of the foundation, matters needing attention and how to contemplate on the mind in the process of porridge offering.


The delegation masters highly agreed with the ideas of Ren Ai Charity Foundation, especially the idea that our hearts should be filled with gratitude toward the passers-by for their accepting this porridge of blessings and fulfilling our desire for good deeds.

 

The delegation masters expressed their appreciation for the Ren Ai porridge offering project, which was initiated by Ven. Master Xuecheng, the mentor of Ren Ai Charity Foundation. They praised it as a good karma with positive energy conveyed to the society out of the compassion andaltruism advocated by Buddhism. Lay Buddhist Mr. Chen Shaogong of the delegation hoped Ren Ai porridge offering stands would go into American community soon.

 

The volunteers, lining along the roadside in orange uniforms and unified hats, masks and gloves, was a beautiful scene at the Tsinghua Science Park. Busy office workers stopped to accept the porridge of blessings; residents from nearby communities queued in front of the cart for porridge. The atmosphere greatly motivated the delegation laypeople, who put on uniforms to join the happy volunteers. Joyful time flies. The delegation set off for the next stop. However, our good deeds becaome more meaningful because of the recognition and encouragement from the masters, and our joint journey on the path of charity would continue.

 

Seeing off the delegation, we were reminded of the past scenes. In the early days of the Tsinghua porridge stand, passers-by were not as friendly as today. Some went by indifferently, some questioned whether our porridge washygienically safe, and some would think that we were on a show. As time went by, our persistence and devotion gradually warmed their heart and their attitude toward us changed.

 

Today, when the volunteers standing on the roadside offer a cup ofporridge, passers-by would greet us with a happy smile no matter they take the porridge or not. Nearby residents would also join the volunteers after taking the porridge and feeling the love in it. More importantly, volunteers are filled with joys and gratitude for their contribution to the society. They call each other family members, because they take the porridge stand as their loving home, where they can take care of one another and obtain their own inner growth by helping others.

 

It is believed in Buddhism that there is no division between environment and beings, and no division between self and others. The volunteers have helped influence and improve the surrounding environment by changing themselves; their family life and work life are in harmony because they maintain a harmonious mind. When they regard passers-by as their family members in past lives and send out sincere blessings, a seed of goodness is sowed in their heart. Porridge is just a medium through which love is conveyed.

 

In ancient times, Buddhist temples gave away free porridge to the poor to solve the issue of hunger. In today’s modern society, porridge offering from Beijing Ren Ai Charity Foundation, also driven by Buddhist spirit, is expected to be a stream of love flowing into the society and helping establish care and trust among people. With the current 19 porridge stands across the country, which are like blooming lotuses, we will reach more cities and connect more brothers and sisters in the future.


With China's peaceful rise and the revival of its traditional culture, the Ren Ai Charity Stand will be presented to the Western society as one of China’s gifts to the world. When McDonald's, KFC and Starbucks are gaining global popularity, the world will have the opportunity to experience the unique, time-honored charm of oriental culture through the Ren Ai Charity Stand.


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