Hsi Lai Temple Shares Over 12,000 Bowls of Tasty Laba Porridge Filled with Auspicious Blessings

On January 18, Hsi Lai Temple distributed over 12,000 bowls of Laba porridge to the public—marking the first time the dining hall was open for Laba porridge dine-in since the pandemic. Both inside and outside the dining hall, people eagerly waited to enjoy the tasty Laba porridge, with over 40 BLIA members guiding them. The 8th day of the lunar December commemorates the day when Buddha attained enlightenment; also referred to as the "Dharma Day" to honor the Buddha's grace. On this day, Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan, along with branches worldwide on five continents, cook and distribute savory Laba porridge to convey the compassion and wisdom of Buddha. A bowl of fragrant Laba porridge symbolizes the blessings and care from the temples for the public, wishing everyone peace, prosperity, and the growth of merit and wisdom.

Ven. Hui Dong, the Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, delivered a sermon after the Dharma service, emphasizing that the Dharma Day commemorates the Buddha's enlightenment and liberation. He shared the story of a shepherdess offering a bowl of milk porridge to Buddha, who, after gaining strength, ultimately attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree on the diamond throne. Buddhism commemorates the Buddha's enlightenment by consuming Laba porridge, but more importantly, it is an opportunity to understand and to learn the Dharma.

Ven. Hui Dong also expressed gratitude to over 100 volunteers, "Today, over a hundred volunteers returned to the temple before dawn to assist. The kitchen started preparations at 4 a.m. Volunteers participated in porridge distribution activities to experience service and dedication, letting go of attachments, and purifying their hearts."

Alex Wu, President of BLIA Los Angeles Chapter, mentioned that Hsi Lai temple, BLIA members, and volunteers collaborated to prepare, pack, and distribute Laba porridge. The goal was to spread joy and warmth to every family. To ensure smooth traffic flow at Hsi Lai Temple, BLIA members from various subchapters adopted a "quick in, quick out" approach to collect the porridge.

The BLIA LA Chapter Elder Advisor committee and a team of 30 elder advisors began preparations at 7 a.m., providing nearly 4,000 bowls of porridge to BLIA members. Elder advisor director Zhao Linfeng expressed joy in preparing Laba porridge filled with blessings and compassion.

BLIA LA Chapter Board of Directors member Yeh Li-Mei brought her 93-year-old mother, Yeh Wu Wen-Chuan, to the event. Mother Yeh is a first-generation follower of Fo Guang Shan, sharing the family's five-generation connection with Fo Guang Shan. She choked up with emotion while recounting her relationship and affinity with founding master Venerable Master Hsing Yun. Influenced by Venerable Master's "Three Acts of Goodness and Four Givings," Mother Yeh once pledged to sponsor over 200 Vietnamese refugee families, offering them hope.

Sorba Shakya, a descendant of the Shakya clan from Nepal, and his family have been supporting the temple since its early days and returns every year on Dharma Day to enjoy the steaming hot Laba porridge. Anjelene Quin, a local resident, praised the taste of the porridge during her first experience at Hsi Lai Temple, expressing admiration for the temple's serenity and the friendly volunteers.

(Photos by Chih-Cheng Chang)