When Buddhist monks at Lingquan Temple in Wuhan, China, realized that they had an unexpected bumper crop from their flourishing vegetable garden, they were quick to offer the surplus to the public, but little did they realize that their generous offer would rapidly go viral.
Monastics at the 1,300-year-old temple shared the news of their windfall harvest over social media, inviting local residents to help gather the vegetables, planted during the novel coronavirus outbreak, and share in the plentiful excess.
“We reclaimed the land and planted these vegetables to feed ourselves,” read the temple’s post on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform. “But we planted too much and we still have too much left over after donating some to other temples.” (Global Times)
The post was accompanied by a video of monks harvesting vegetables and pushing a cart loaded with crates of beans and cucumbers, and posing the question: “What’s the feeling of eating vegetable that were grown with Buddhist scriptures?” (Global Times)
Immediately following the first post, the temple reportedly received hundreds of requests for the free organic vegetables, with one follower enquiring: “If the vegetables have been consecrated, will they help to prolong life?” (Global Times)
The temple also shared a video of monks working in the vegetable garden alongside local villagers, while traditional Buddhist music and scriptures play over loudspeakers.
Apparently underestimating just how popular their generous offer would be, after just a couple of hours the temple was forced to make a followup post that struck a more frantic if slightly humorous tone: “Everybody . . . please calm down, otherwise we’ll have to buy vegetables next month.” (Global Times)
According to a worker at the mountain temple, the monks have reclaimed more than 5,000 square meters of land for cultivating organic vegetables. However, the worker added, the monks had been unprepared for their social media post to garner so much traction with the public.
Some three hours later, one of the temple monks posted a tongue-in-cheek update to his personal Sina Weibo account, saying that he was “trembling . . . our farm is running out of vegetables.” He posted a photo that was captioned: “It feels like I am passing to parinirvana.”
Located in central China’s Hubei Province, some 20 kilometers southeast of Wuhan, believed to be the epicenter of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Lingquan Temple is a mountain monastery founded in 749 CE and rebuilt in 2001 located on Longquan Mountain, within the Longquanshan Scenic Area, which also features the tombs of nine rulers of China.