On January 17, 2021, Tzu Chi Foundation conducted humanity class to 215 scholars in Bohol. To observe and follow safety protocols while the pandemic is still uprise, the scholars were divided into two classes. Vegetarianism was the highlight of the activity and the main purpose of this is to promote and encourage scholars to do vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.

The program started by giving three vows to Dharma Master Cheng Yen, singing the Tzu Chi Hymn, reciting the Tzu Chi 10 precepts and the message of welcome by the selected Tzu Chings who were the masters of the ceremonies of the program. Since this was the first humanity class for the year 2021, the emcees asked selected scholars to share some of their experiences on how they celebrated their Christmas and New Year.

To know more of their co-scholars, they were given a chance to talk and asked questions like their name and some backgrounds to know them better so that they will become more engaged and feel comfortable in any activities in Tzu Chi. To keep the environment full of fun and exciting, selected volunteer-staffs had their vegetarian dance presentation and encouraged scholars to participate in it.

As scholars were told to make a video presentation showing the preparation on their vegetarian dishes, scholars were divided based on the municipalities they came from. Their video presentations were shown during their humanity class to let others watch and see the dishes they prepared and wanted to share. Everyone was engaged and learned the significance of having a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle in their daily life.

One of the scholars who wanted to share her insights on the importance of eating vegetarian dishes is Janelyn Getigan, a Food Technology student of Bohol Island State University (BISU), Main Campus.

“For me, the importance of eating pure vegetables dishes is it can help once wellness and our environment by medicating global warming up until saving and being compassionate towards animals,” she said happily.

“I can promote and encourage them by inspiring them how I enjoy myself eating pure veggie meals. As a food tech student, I could promote this kind of advocacy by cooking and serving vegetarian dishes in an artful yet delicious way that everyone could enjoy.” Janelyn added.

Another scholar who also wanted to share and inspire others is Lyell Mae Sumaylo, an Office Administration student from BISU main campus.

“The importance of eating vegetarian dishes is to live healthy as vegetables contains nutrients and proteins that is good to our health and aside from that, we can reduce and lessen the killing of animals, the cruelty of human being,” said Lyell Mae.

”To be able to encourage someone to live a vegetarian lifestyle, I would first encourage myself to eat vegetable dishes so I can share my experience and also explain the benefit of having vegetarian lifestyle.” She added happily.

Jhayson Bhelle Deloy, a BS Mechanical Engineering from BISU main campus said that eating vegetarian dishes has much importance in his life both in physical and spiritual help, it gives him the nutrients that his body needs in order to be healthy. He also mentioned that it reduces the killings of animals that bring out more suffering it this world. To encourage someone to eat vegetables instead of meat and other processed food, he will start it with himself by eating more vegetables and fruits, and show the importance and benefits that they will get.

Scholars watched a story told by Master Cheng Yen about “The Water Ghost and the Monk” where it gave them more inspiration to do good deeds and how important it is to promote and encourage everyone to do vegetarian lifestyle.

Mary Joy Pequit, a second year student from Bohol Island State University, Bilar Campus wanted to share why Tzu Chi promote vegetarian and vegan lifestyle.

“It reduces the risk of falling ill or catching diseases that may or not be fatal. Also, it helps us save the humanity, improve the economy and live a happy life with a healthy well-being,” she humbly uttered.

“The best way to help our Master in this program is to change our perspective towards our lifestyle because a change within ourselves would mean greater for others, it may be small but if it is meant for greater good, it’s a meaningful change. A disciplined person also knows how and when to act out his responsibilities and the possible outcome of those actions being taken.” She lastly said.

Scholars were also made a video greeting to show thanks to Master Cheng Yen for helping, inspiring, and motivating them to spread the seeds of love.

Indeed, this humanity class on vegetarianism became a bridge of the scholars to know the value and significance of promoting vegetarian lifestyle. This paved way to live a healthier life and reduces certain illness. In order to make a change and inspire everyone, we should start doing this within ourselves.