Sometimes, when the fam craves “something different,” we usually take a short trike ride from our place to a Buddhist temple.
No, we’re not Buddhists nor vegetarians, but we know of one place that serves good food minus the usual aromatics. Just simple and homey flavors in a quiet and comfortable dining atmosphere.
The WaterDrop Tea House is inside the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple across from Century Park Hotel in Malate, Manila. The thought of having olive fried rice and wintermelon tea here always makes me feel good. On our last visit, we decided to have those plus pumpkin soup (hotpot style), some tofu dishes and dimsum.
While waiting for our food, we did some table hopping not really to greet friends (there were just us and two complete strangers), but to read the information on laminated place mats on each table. Some detail the origin of the tea house, while others contain thoughts and lessons on vegetarianism from Venerable Master Hsing Yun. Venerable Master Hsing Yun is a Chinese Buddhist monk and a proponent of humanistic Buddhism as taught by the Fo Guang Shan religious movement, which he founded.
The WaterDrop Teahouse was established based on the spirit of gratitude for the devotees and supporters of the temple. It was set up to promote gratitude in societies, and to improve human relationships through service and Buddha teachings. It is there not for business profit but to provide a convenient dining place for the public.
Here’s Master Hsing Yun’s take on vegetarianism.
Excessive food consumption and supplements will lead to elevation of fat, blood sugar, and cholesterol, which would cause harm and increase burden to the body. Eating a simple meal lets one savor the flavor of the vegetables and enhances one’s temperament and endurance. If one wishes to attain longevity, one can try to be a vegetarian.
Western medicine has been strongly advocating the decrease in the consumption of meat. This is because meat consumption leads to fat and cholesterol deposit leads to hardening and clogging of the blood vessels. Eating vegetables can detoxify the body.
Can vegetarians eat eggs?
Eating or not eating egg is not a serious issue. It is the strict upholding of the precepts and the purity of the mind. Tibetan lamas usually include beef and lamb in the main dish. Similarly, the monasteries in Japan do not observe vegetarianism. There is no need to criticize certain groups of people about the issue of violation in eating unfertilized eggs. (Hurray for balut!)
There is also no need to deliberately boost or exaggerate about being a vegetarian.
Why having a bowl of compassionate porridge surpasses taking ginseng soup
Taking a bowl of compassionate porridge is more valuable than taking a bowl of ginseng soup, why? With the mind of compassion, humility, transference of merit, and making connection in taking the bowl of porridge, I vow to be grateful, do good deeds, cultivate, think of others’ interests and serve them. This bowl of porridge broadens the scope of my mind and purifies the inner self. It is more nutritious and meaningful than ginseng.
In the same light, he teaches that a cup of tea surpasses drinking ambrosia.
A thought with no evil surpasses a sumptuous feast.
If your stomach does not have evil thought to inflict suffering and craft plots to harm others, then it is more beneficial to the body than eating a sumptuous feast. Sometimes, good fortune may turn into misfortune due to deviant views. Other times, misfortune may turn into good fortune due to righteous views. Therefore, if the mind is pure, it would certainly lead one to attain good fortune and distance from misfortune. A real tonic does not necessarily deal with food consumption or refer to food only. In a broader sense, one should take tonic that is beneficial to the inner self and the mind.
Very enriching food for thought. But then it was time for real food.
Anthony Bourdain himself said, “Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”