A Lesson in DDM’s Kitchen

I have no experience in writing prose. It is challenging to me and I hope it does not bore you. This article is dedicated to all the Bodhisattvas who encouraged me to write and share.

The story started in Hong Kong DDM Wu Guan Tang-our dining hall. I like the name because it conveys abundant Buddhist philosophy. Most of us love Wu Guan Tang not only for the savory vegetarian meals but also as a place for catching up. I am grateful to all the Bodhisattvas in the kitchen who always make great effort in cooking and tolerate our noises.

I was a Volunteer Director in an international not-for-profit organisation (NPO). I eventually left the organisation because there was too much conflict of interest in the board. I joined the Fok Tin class, a ten-month training course for volunteers, after I left my previous volunteer program. My participation in the DDM volunteer training program can be accounted for by two main reasons. First, I wanted to know how a Buddhist organization enlightens their volunteers; second, I was keen to discover the difference between DDM and NPO.

Last Sunday, I alighted at Lai Chi Kok MTR station to attend Fok Tin class as usual. I walked slowly and delighted in the sunny morning. Some DDM volunteers welcomed and directed us to the DDM office. I really appreciated their kindness. I heard joyful laughter and cheerful talk on the way to the classroom. Although it was only the third lesson, it seemed like the participants had known each other for a long time. I love quietness but I found myself getting along well with all the cheerfulness. It demonstrates a concept raised by The Most Venerable Master Sheng Yen, “A sage mind changes in circumstances”. We settled down and concentrated on the lecture after a few "Amituofuo" (which is an indication for quietness in the Fok Tin class).

On the last few days of the course I caught a cold and took prescribed Chinese herbal medication for three days. I took my bowl and herbal powder to the kitchen without disturbing anyone in the class. I was amazed by what I saw in kitchen.

Volunteers in DDM green aprons were concentrating on their tasks: some of them were washing fruits, some were cleaning utensils, some were cutting bread and preparing drinks, and some were moving tables and chairs. I truly admired their effort in preparing Sunday’s refreshments and lunch. Whilst I settled myself in a chair near the corner and drank my medicine, my eyesight still followed what was progressing in the kitchen. They worked collaboratively and efficiently. That was the atmosphere I always wished to work in. At that time “Do the utmost, no matter who gains or loses” flashed in my mind. A Bodhisattva came to me and blessed me for a quick recovery. She is Teresa, who always wears a bright smile. I said to her, “I don’t have the credit to accept such great fortune and I shouldn’t bring along bad habits.” She smiled and answered, “We come here to learn and to correct our attitudes.” I learned an incredible lesson in DDM’s kitchen. Amituofuo!

(Shared by Tina W.Wu,DDM Hong Kong )

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