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Mindful retreat students at an assembly line in complete silence
April 5, 2015

After surviving the hustle and bustle of the weekdays, twelve brave souls have embraced the opportunity to experience monastic life at Hsi Lai Temple on the weekends. Under the guidance of Venerable Mankuang and other venerables, the participants of this inaugural program have learned to be mindful in everyday activities such as walking, cleaning, gardening, drinking tea, and yes, even eating! Starting with the demonstration from Venerable Zhi Xing, students rolled up their flowing gray sleeves, donned aprons, face masks and the hairnet on April 5th to make bento boxes for the visitors and congregation attending the special Spring Memorial Service.

The goal was 250 bento boxes, then 300, then 350, and finally, 450 bento boxes. Over 700 people were at the temple and there was no way to feed them all in the dining hall! Under the skilled leadership of the venerables, an efficient assembly line was created to fill each lunch box with rice, veggies, egg rolls, and tofu. Each box was neatly rubber-banded together with hand-rolled napkins and silverware. The poor folks who manned the rubber band station were snapped so many times, but never complained and carried their battle wounds with pride. There was no time to chit-chat and thanks to additional reinforcements who joined in, it was a success! All the bento boxes were delivered to various locations within the temple. Everyone was fed and a potential disaster at the dining hall was diverted.

Cheers to the Mindful Weekends Program practitioners!