Eating  Durian In Sibu

■Book 104 - A Plethora Of Scenic Splendours

■Written by GrandMaster Sheng-yen Lu

 

I ate durian for the first time when I was in Hong Kong.

(My feeling: such a stinking and inedible fruit )

The second time, I ate durian was at Guru Yang Zhong Chi's house in Malaysia.

(My feeling: if I am given a treat, I may take a seed or two. But I will never buy them.)

The third time I ate the fruit was at Guru Yang Zhong Chi's “Da Guan” Villa in Malaysia.

(My feeling: so, so.)

The fourth time, I gave a treat at the foot of Genting Highland, Malaysia.)

(My feeling: it was OK.)

I took durian for the fifth time when I was in Sibu.

(My feeling: I should eat it every night.)

I believe that eating durians can be a compulsive habit now.

In Sibu, we went to the night bazaar near the market every night. The fruits were hung for sale; one of the stores was selling fresh durians. I learned to use my nose to choose a good durian. I told them I would treat them.

We ordered the durians by lots. We ate those good ones and kept the not-so-good ones for durian cakes. This way of buying was definitely more expensive.

The twinkling lights from nearby clearly showed my ugly look. My hands and my mouth were full of durian flesh, and my whole body smelled of durian, I looked as greedy as a hungry ghost.

A person's behaviour can be seen clearly when he eats durians.

It's said that the durians from Malaysia are both fragrant and sweet. They are the best but are not for export. Whereas durians from Thailand are sweet but have no fragrance; these durians are meant for export.

I am also told the durians from Malaysian are picked up from the ground when they ripened; those from Thailand are plucked from the trees.

When the durians are in season, the head of the family who is the sole bread-earner and the housewife who controls the household expenses will pawn their valuables to buy durians if they are short of cash. The lure of durians is very great, I notice those who like durians, their mouths water when the word durian is mentioned.

How is the durian tastes like?

Lian Man and Chang Ren ran far far away.

But Chang Zhi smiled, his saliva dripping.

Some people enjoyed the fruit, while others dread them.

Still others had no expression.

Some will find the fruit fantastic, some will not enjoy it. Not everybody likes durians.

I asked, “Do we have durians in Seattle?”

The answer was, “Durians are the products of South East Asia, they are seldom seen in the States. Since durians from Thailand are exported, we can find a brand called “golden pillow” from Thailand in China Town. The taste of frozen durians definitely cannot match that of the fresh ones. We are lucky to be able to find durians in Seattle.”

“What are the taboos in eating durians?” I asked.

“The fruit must not be taken with hard liquor. After eating the durians, if we take hard liquor again, our stomach might not be able to take it. Many people died of such mixture. For our own safety, we must not drink hard liquor and eat durians at the same time.”

I asked, “How many types of durians are there?”

“There are many types of durians. Malaysia produces fragrant durians. Whereas durians from Thailand may be sweet, dry, wet. The grade may range from excellent, good, normal to low. Durians of excellent grade are expensive and are meant for the consumption of the sultan. There are many species of low grade durians, unless you are an expert, it is difficult to distinguish them.”

“I heard durians can be used as tonics.”

“Yes, indeed. It is warm and heaty.”

After returning to Seattle, I went to China town to buy “golden pillow” brand of durians. The durian tasted like ice cream. Although it is full of fibre, it still smells good. 

Fuo Qing and Fuo Qi frowned at the smell and they hid inside their rooms. They even found some clothes to pluck the door gaps.

(After returning to the States, Guru Lian Xiang wrote an article “The seductive fragrance of durians” to express her feeling. The article is appendix to this article.)

The seductive fragrance of durians-Lian (durian) Xiang (fragrance)

Durian is known to be the king of all fruits; and mangosteen, the queen.

By nature durian is of fire quality; and mangosteen is of water quality. Durian is a nourishing food, but it is heaty. Mangosteen is taken to cool down our bodies. Using one to counter another, the same logic as where there is action, there must be reaction.

I remembered five years ago, someone gave a box of frozen durians to us. She told me,”“golden pillow” is the best brand of durians from Thailand, you will like it. But some people might not get used to the odour. If you like it after eating , just let me know, I know where to buy them.”

When I opened the box later on, there was a foul smell as stinking as manure and wind from bowels. The odour was really aggressive. I fancied how come the fruit can be so smelly. To me the king of all fruits is also the most smelly fruits.

I did not care how nourishing it can be, I just thought of throwing them away. But it's costly, It would be a pity to throw them away. So I decided to pinch my nose and tried the durian. At least, I could tell others I have tried durian before.

My body turned numb when the first piece of durian filled my mouth. I felt like my head was splashed with manure. Quickly I wrapped up the remaining durians and rushed out to throw them away. In fact, I vomited near the rubbish bin. Thanks but no thanks. After the event, I had to use almost a whole toothpaste to brush my teeth again and again just to clear the odour from my mouth. I was wondering how people can enjoy durian so much, do they like the durian's odour? The horrible smell discouraged me to recollect what happened.

Between December 20, 1992 and January 10, 1993 when we were on propagation tour in Malaysia, many a time, a disciple offered the best local durians to Grandmaster. Showing his compassion by following the crowds, although he was not very keen to eat the fruit, Grandmaster opened the durian there and then and ate them just to make his disciple happy. He even commented that the smell was bearable. The innocent praise led to daily offering by different disciples, and Grandmaster had to eat them again and again.

The first time he ate, he was reluctant. The second time, so so. The third, it was OK. The fourth, not bad. He really enjoyed the nice taste of durian then.

Grandmaster asked me why I did not try durian, the king of all fruits. Viewing it as a drop of water in the desert, a fruit given to a starved person, and those Africans died of hunger.... I felt like eating after his persuasion.

I learned to enjoy eating durians. Thinking how fragrant, delicious, nourishing and emotional the fruit can be, I changed my attitude, my hands and cheeks frequently had durian flesh, I was happy eating them everyday.

Thinking of Malaysia now, I am reminded of durians, and the warm friendship of True Buddha disciples there.

From eating durians, I came to understand the meaning of “rejoicing in the welfare of others for a moment”, as long as we can practise it in our daily life, the world will be even more perfect. If we go one step further by rejoicing in the welfare of others all the while, then we will be able to achieve more in our cultivation - just by a single thought. 

 

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