HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s Chinese community is getting ready to usher out the ox and welcome the year of the tiger.

The monks and nuns of Fo Guang Shan in Kaohsiung, Taiwan will welcome the year of the black water tiger. It is a year to seek harmony among all living things and what better way to do that than to not eat them. The New Year’s menu for devout Buddhists eschews all animal products.

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“One of our main principles in Buddhism is no killing, no killing of animals.”

Shirley Lum of Fo Guang Shan Hawaii

At Fo Guang Shan Temple Hawaii, Atau Wong prepares a meatless Chinese New Year’s staple — gau.

“Two pounds mochi rice, six cups of water syrup,” said Shirley Lum of Fo Guang Shan Hawaii. “You want it to be smooth and let the syrup slowly blend into the rice flour. So, now we strain it.”

Their gau is a little different.

“Three pounds of azuki beans cooked the night before,” continued Lum.

There is an added benefit to this combination. A grain and legume together have the amino acids to form protein, which is important to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The Fo Guang Shan kitchen steams about 100 tubs and a few round gau every year, and they are nearly sold out on pre-orders.

“If you eat this, next year will be full of abundant blessings,” Lum stated.

While New Year delicacies may bring good luck, there is Chinese zodiac wisdom to see us through the year of the black water tiger.

“We need to be like a tiger, have the strength to stand up and face the challenges that come upon us. Be at peace with yourself.”

Venerable Abbess Yi Hung of Fo Guang Shan Hawaii

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For more information on Fo Guang Shan Hawaii, click here. To contact them, you can either call (808) 545-1183 or email hawaii@ibps.org. They are also located at 222 Queen St, Honolulu, HI 96813.