Cooking is a way of practising Buddhism

Jing Guan Shi Tai has become a monk for forty-six years, and cooking has been her way of practising Buddhism. She was born in 1956. She was curious about one question when she was around six to seven years old, why do people live? Jing Guan Shi Tia's secular mother passed away when she was seventeen years old. She was upset. How could someone she loves die so suddenly, and she thought she could avoid the pain of parting if she became a monk. So one day, she ran away from home without telling anyone.

Jing Guan Shi Tai was born on a farm, and her mother prepared food for her every day with great care; she grew closer to food as such. When she was around eight to nine years old, she made dough with bean flour on a rock and made noodles for her families who were out farming. In the first year as a monk, Jing Guan Shi Tai prepared side dishes for fellow monks. She harvested eggplants from the field, cleaned them, steamed them, and served with soy sauce or made a salad with them. Jing Guan Shi Tai prepared vegan meals for fellow monks, and they enjoyed her meals. Simple food can bring satisfaction, and she was happy to see them being able to enjoy the food.

While pursuing Buddha's way, Jing Guan Shi Tai gets up at four in the morning for prayer, has porridge as breakfast at six, works on the farm till nine and has lunch at eleven o'clock. Culinary art in the temple is featured by light seasoning. The natural flavour of ingredients is emphasised. The temple is located on a mountain, so she makes soybean paste in Spring. And after the summer solstice, by the time of the dog days, the fermentation will be completed. When the dew at night, the sun in the day, and the wind, with five years, ten years, fifteen years and twenty years, the paste becomes therapeutic. When Jing Guan Shi Tai sow seeds, she seldom cultivates the land; she digs a ditch only, and let plants to grow, bloom, and bear fruit naturally. And seeds will fall into the soil.

At the tenth year of being a monk, Jing Guan Shi Tai's father came to live with her for a month. He was upset when he first came here. And he yelled at her. He said that vegan meals without meat and seafood were unbearable. And Jing Guan Shi Tai told her father, she would cook him a dish better than meat and seafood. So she took a basket of shiitake mushrooms with soy source for her father. He enjoyed that dish. And after he finished, he was amazed that he did not know that food could be so delicious. He said his daughter could live in the temple eating this and he will not take her away. Please allow her to stay here and serve the Buddha. He left after saying this, and one week later, he passed away at peace.

Jing Guan Shi Tai said "there is no difference between cooking and pursing Buddha's way. 70% of the practice is completed through food. Do people live to eat or do people eat to live, that is a question. We do not communicate with food solely through taste. We see, hear, smell, taste, and feel with our heart. That is the true enjoyment".