The multitudes of Jing Si products, namely its food products, are made by the men and women of the Jing Si Abode in Hualien, Taiwan. More than just a spiritual home to every member of the global Tzu Chi family, the Abode produces just about everything from instant rice to lunch kits to hold them. They design and produce these products with the welfare of disaster victims and Tzu Chi volunteers in mind.
Case in point: instant rice. Available in various flavors, the instant rice puts rice and viand in one serving without the need for a stove. Preparing it is as easy as adding hot water and letting it sit for about 20 minutes (1 hour if cold water). Such ease proved its weight during Tzu Chi’s relief mission for flood victims in the Balkan Peninsula in 2016. As the volunteers weren’t allowed to cook for safety reasons, they prepared hot meals for the victims with instant rice.
During the three-day Taiwan Expo at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the instant rice saw high demand. Buyers like Amy Kang have been awed not only by the convenience but also the inspiration behind it.
“I want to buy here so I can help other people and see if the [instant rice] is yummy or not. I also like to associate with [Tzu Chi volunteers], as they’re very kind and charitable people,” explains Kang.
Portia Catindig, a piano teacher in Quezon City, feels assured that her purchase of the seaweed flavor instant rice will go to a charitable course.
“It’s good to know that the earnings from the food products will go to charity,” says Catindig.
Also for sale during the event were selected publications authored by Dharma Master Cheng Yen, among these Jing Si aphorisms.
Along with DaAi Technology and Tzu Chi University, Jing Si Books and Café aimed to spread the word about Tzu Chi and its missions around the world. Over the course of the expo, from September 29 to October 1, the hundreds of visitors learned a great deal and offered to help any way they can.
“It just amazes me that people like you donate your time, effort, and money to do things like this for others, not for you. That is what attracts me to groups like [Tzu Chi],” says Rex Agarrado, a retired businessman.
For the visitors who chose not to buy anything but still want to help, Tzu Chi volunteers offered them another way.
For as low as Php100, men, women, and even children have shared their blessings with the most unfortunate. In all three days, Tzu Chi volunteers toiled the entire day explaining to the visitors about Tzu Chi and its missions and receiving their blessings. This is also part of Tzu Chi’s longtime mission of recruiting one million donating members, as per mandated by Master Cheng Yen personally.
“The purpose [of gathering donations] is for these people to create blessings. Once they donate, they’re not just creating blessings for those who will be the beneficiaries of this donation but also creating blessings for themselves,” says Tzu Chi volunteer Olga Vendivel.
“These goods here are just instruments in being able to introduce Tzu Chi to them. So [creating blessings] is more important,” adds Vendivel.
The option gives the young generation a chance to cultivate blessings. Bethly Anne Young, a Grade-9 student of Chiang Kai Shek College, and her friends feel confident about donating all they can afford, however small.
“Even if Php100 is a small amount, it’ll be a big help to others,” Young says.
Another businessman, Ernest Khu, steps up his donation to Php1,000—the worth of ten donors. It’s his way of expressing his utmost support for an organization that has never failed to respond to the needs of others, especially following a disaster.
“Every time there is a calamity, I always see your organization there helping others. You come up with good ideas on how to make others work for a living. [Tzu Chi] is the only organization I would ever put my money on,” Khu says.
The Jing Si Books and Café booth at the Taiwan Expo during its quieter hours. As the day progressed, however, more people flocked to the booth. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Amy Kang (center) bought a pack of Jing Si instant rice to try for herself. She became fond of the convenience of preparing a rice meal with just hot water and 20 minutes of patience. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Retired businessman Rex Agarrado (left) takes up on the Tzu Chi volunteer’s offer of warm tea. Despite not buying anything from the booth, he donated to the Tzu Chi cause out of admiration for the organization’s charity work. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Fellow exhibitors at the Taiwan Expo have also taken an interest in the myriad of Jing Si products. This exhibitor is checking out a water bottle made out of recyclable material. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Students pass by the booth and check out the assortment of books, some of which are written by Dharma Master Cheng Yen. Waves of students attended the expo, mostly for scouting for prospective universities to enroll to once they graduate. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
People from all walks of life are welcome to share their blessings, even those of different faiths. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Students of Chiang Kai Shek College turn over their share of blessings to a Tzu Chi volunteer. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Businessman Ernest Khu (right) donates Php1,000 to the Tzu Chi cause, to the delight of the volunteers. Khu says he would support no other organization than Tzu Chi because of its dedication in alleviating suffering around the world. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】