From Friday, October 8th through Sunday, October 10th, a delegation of about thirty Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (DRBA) members attended the Fourth Annual VegSource Conference, and Healthy Lifestyle Expo, in Los Angeles, CA. The delegation was led by DM Heng Sure and eight nuns, and it included members from most of the branches in US and Canada. Around 300 people participated in the Conference.
DM Heng Sure was an invited speaker as well as participant in the discussion panel that concluded this event. In addition, we had our own booth at the exhibition where participants could get information from brochures, books (and a gift of a lovely new book called Kindness), or directly from our members, about Buddhism and particularly about DRBA. The booth was a great success, and one of the reason was the delicious and abundant food that was offered to the visitors. The cooks got up very early and worked very hard to have the food ready on time, but they felt it was worth the effort due to the great response from everyone.
Since we were the largest group at the Conference, the organizers offered us a room where we could meet for logistics, but even more important, to share our impressions and experiences. We also used the room as an improvised Chan Hall, and offered instructions to many participants interested in meditation and Buddhism.
We were also visited by friends from other faiths (Hindus, Brahma Kumaris, and Sikhs) who are also vegetarians. Together with our delegation, they offered a spiritual dimension to the whole Conference that people found very inspiring.
The speakers were outstanding and well-known psychologists, doctors, researchers, and individuals that have dedicated their lives to work on nutritional themes. Among them were: John McDougall MD, Caldwell Esselstyn MD, Vesanto Melina RD, Michael Jacobson PhD, T. Colin Campbell PhD, Doug Lisle PhD, and Brenda Davis RD. Ocean Robbins, the son of the famous John Robbins (author of Diet for a New America), was also among the speakers. They provided the latest information on health issues related to diet, though their own healthy appearance was the best proof of the benefits of being vegetarian. Moreover, they also advocated for a vegan diet (no eggs, milk or dairy products, honey, or anything from animals). Several of the most recent studies they presented related the intake of milk and dairy products to many serious sicknesses such as cancer, heart attack, osteoporosis, arthritis, or Alzheimer’s disease. There were also real cooking demonstrations by several vegetarian chefs that delighted everybody, though they contained too much garlic and onion for most of us.
The delegation departed in high spirit, loaded with very valuable information to share in their respective temples and homes, and happy for having introduced Buddhism and its rich lore on vegetarianism to many people.