BW Monastery’s G.Y.M group, What's in Buddha Bowl?

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WHAT'S IN BUDDHA BOWL? "佛跳墙"里有什么? 

A “Buddha Bowl” is just a fun name for a colourful bowl, typically composed of healthy, plant-based ingredients like vegetables, grains, beans and nuts.  Just like Buddha’s teachings which provide a vast option to enrich human life.

BW Monastery’s My Sunday, G.Y.M group presented a lively and engaging community outreach seminar last Sunday afternoon. In recent times, health conscious foodies might have heard of the Buddha’s Bowl, which was a diet that is part zen and part, as you may have guess it, about dieting and losing weight. Historically, during Buddha’s time, he ate a simple diet from, indeed a bowl and was physically slim. Beyond the idea of Buddha’s Bowl of Food, BWM Sunday G.Y.Mers extended this appropriation to investigate Buddha’s Bowl of Mindful Kindness.

The program started off with an ice-breaking game led by Ms Jennifer Goh (trained psychologist). Groups of 8 were formed to discuss about the type of vegetables which they liked and disliked. The main intent was to emphasize that everyone of us is unique and different. What we liked may be someone else’s dislike. Yet, in those differences, we have to find a way to live harmoniously together.

As this is very often easier said than done, Ms Adeline Wong (educator for youths), shared a secret recipe called Observing Merits and Appreciate Kindness (OMAK). This is a simple mental exercise which we could do and deploy in our daily interactions with other people. Often, we may have a tendency to over magnify the woes we faced and forgot to appreciate the other positive aspects of someone or a mundane situation. With respect to people, as one popular saying goes, never judge anyone because we never know the battles that they are fighting. Following this, a few Sunday G.Y,Mers also shared specific examples of how they OMAK others.

Ms Kerry, from the finance industry shared about her gratitude to her parents. Even in times of severe sickness, her father had always maintained a positive disposition. As for her mum, she was always selfless, mentally calm and strong in face of situations which could have been considered as calamities for others. One incident related to how her mum protected her whilst she was crossing a road and in turn suffered injuries herself. When her father started to fall sick and needed drastic medical treatment, it was her mother who made the hard decisions in a decisive and considered manner.

Mr Albert and Ms Goh than described how they O.M.A.K their Malay and Indian friends respectively. Whilst growing up in the kampong, he appreciated the smartness of the high raised Malay Kampong as that really helped during floods. His current neighbours are all Malays and they often shared food with each other especially during the festive seasons. However, this was done with sensitivities and understanding due to the different religion and cultural aspects. For example, he would not give Chinese cooked food to his Malay neighbours but instead provide fruit as the former is non-Halal whilst the latter is. Ms Goh further shared the short story of Mr Robert Guna’s acceptance and understanding about Chinese culture in part due to his Chinese wife as well as his positive attitude towards life in face of sickness.

Some participants were also requested to participate in a short skit to demonstrate the idea of O.M.A.K in a situation so that the matter was resolved peacefully. The parties involved could have otherwise ended the matter with accusations and bad feelings.

With that the program ended with all participants singing a medley of songs commonly heard during the National Day Parade in celebration of our racial diversity and pride as Singaporeans. With the Buddha’s Bowl of Mindful Kindness in mind, participants left the Monastery, looking forward to the next Sunday G.Y.M session.

PS: For those of you who wish to practice your OMAK skills, you are welcomed to join our FB Group and learn to express your appreciation for those around you. Click on the following button to join the group.

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