Every week, we would go to Chua Vietnam for Vietnamese lessons. As children, we would take our shoes off, hang up our coats and enter the main Buddha hall of Chua Vietnam, the Buddhist Association of Massachusetts’s Buddhist temple, in Roslindale.
Over time, we have attended less frequently, but still do attend services for the Lunar New Year, holidays and important family occasions. Currently, there is a youthful monk visiting from Central Vietnam. He is humorous and very relatable.
After meditation, reflection and community, we are reminded how important it is to renew and explore our spiritual roots and understanding absolute and relative happiness. After services, we have a sense of calmness and internal peace.
One of the most momentous events in the Chua Vietnam’s services was when Zen master, Thay Thich Nhat Hanh visited the Buddhist chua. More recently, the New York Times featured a brief video of Thich Nhat Hanh’s visit to the Google campus (On Google’s Lunch Menu: Mindful Eating), as well a thoughtful article on mindful eating, Mindful Eating as a Way as Food for Thought.
Dr. Lilian Cheung and Thich Nhat Hanh co-authored Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life and we highly suggest to pick this up for an informed view on eating. Dr. Cheung espouses the seven practices of mindful eating and describes each concepts such as the importance of honoring the food, engaging all senses, mindfulness of portion size, chewing, eating slowly, not skipping meals and eating a plant-based diet.
We are not vegetarians (one of us is a former vegetarian), but do strive to eat more veggies. Kathy Freston’s Veganist offers tangible examples and explanations of the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
Every Sunday, the Chua Vietnam community invites participants to enjoy a banquet of vegetarian dishes after services (L), including vegetarian noodles (R).
Our mother’s Vietnamese Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls (Gỏi Cuốn Chay) and the community’s stir fry noodles, egg rolls, fried rice and marinated green beans.
Every item on our plate had a nice balance with each other and each grain of rice was eaten. The fresh spring rolls had a nice texture from the vermicelli noodles, carrot and cucumber. The tofu absorbed the peanut flavor and the fresh herbs offer a vibrant flavor.
The vegetarian egg roll has a nice crunch and was filled with savory carrots and yellow mung beans. The green beans had a good snap, light sauce and fragrant sesame flavor.