When presented with the opportunity to plant trees at the Quang Minh Temple in Melbourne, young people attending the Parliament jumped at the chance.
Who wouldn't want to provide a service to a temple community, get some fresh air and have an enlightening educational experience, all at the same time?
The volunteers, one of several groups of youths who signed up to work at different community service projects Sunday, dressed in work attire and boarded a bus. Upon arriving at the monastery, we were greeted, offered hats and gloves and given a tour of the grounds.
Along with the breathtaking view, including an immense statue of Buddha looking down over a green valley that dips into a river, the environmental orientation of the temple community was awe-inspiring. The monks have been deeply involved in a 10-year upkeep project. Using soil reclaimed from a municipal construction project, they have planted native vegetation on one slope and transformed an area into a garden. They regularly plant trees to contribute to the health of the land.
The planting and land projects, however, are only a few of the environmental efforts made by the community. The temple has a worm farm that transforms waste from the kitchen into compost for the garden. Worms feed on the waste, transforming it into fertilizer. When a certain level in the worm tank is reached, the fertilizer is released into the garden. The worm farm reduces the volume of waste produced from 3 cubic tons to 1 cubic ton, and helps to reduce the monastery's garbage collection and water expenses.
Once we'd planted the trees, the monks treated us to a vegetarian meal of sushi, soup, spring rolls and fresh fruit. We left the Quang Minh Temple filled in many ways, knowing that a piece of each of us will take root and grow on the grounds of the monastery in the form of trees.
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 August 2010 20:46