JOHOR BARU - For Sri Lankan monk Venerable K. Gunaratana, cooking his national dishes and sharing them is a form of spreading peace and happiness.
The 60-year-old made Sri Lankan pumpkin curry for devotees at the Wesak Day celebration in SJKC Foon Yew 1 after coming to the school at 6am for preparations.
He chopped potatoes, pumpkins and other ingredients which he brought from Singapore to cook his specialty dish and served it with roti canai.
Gunaratana, who has been living in Singapore for the past 28 years to spread the religion, said he was happy his love for cooking put smiles on people's faces as they tasted his dishes.
"If such a simple act can make someone happy, why not do more to make more people happy?" he said.
"Besides sharing joy, I can also promote vegetarianism by showing people how they can use everyday ingredients to cook something different."
He has always loved cooking and often participated in food festivals to raise funds for his Buddhist society.
During the Wesak Day celebration, devotees were also lucky enough to view six Buddha relics flown in from Sri Lanka for the festivities.
Thousands of devotees thronged the school's multi-purpose hall in anticipation, including housewife Tang Noy Hee, 62.
She said it would be her first time seeing the actual Buddha relics because she usually saw these only in newspaper photographs.
"I brought my three children to also witness the Sri Lankan monks conducting prayer sessions and to get blessings," she said.