Jing Si Books and Café
Bask in the aroma of books and tea, and the fragrance of humanity
The Origin of “Jing Si”
Prior to being ordained as a nun, Master Cheng Yen gave herself the Dharma name, “静思” (Jing Si), which means “silent contemplation”. She kept the name as a reminder for herself to constantly reflect on life’s direction. It subsequently nurtured the philosophy of Tzu Chi and set the tone for the establishment of the organisation’s first publishing house, “Still Thoughts Cultural Mission”. The character, “静” (Jing), is made up of two characters, “青” (green) and “争” (fight), which, according to the Master, convey the message, “strive to be like the stately green mountains, never fighting over anything in life”. And the character, “思” (Si), which consists of two characters, “田” (field) and “心” (heart), can be taken to mean “mindfully cultivating the field of our heart”. The Master hopes that everyone will keep a simple, pure, and sincere heart that bears Right Faith, and diligently till the soil of their own hearts as well as cultivate fields of blessings in society.
In 1966, Master Cheng Yen and 30 local housewives (her lay disciples) began their humble work of helping the poor. To raise funds for their charity work, the Master asked them to save NT$0.50 each day in a bamboo coin bank. However, at the Jing Si Abode in Hualien, Taiwan, the Master and her monastic disciples make an effort to maintain self-sufficiency, without drawing a cent from Tzu Chi’s charity funds. They have always abided by the strict rule of “No Work, No Meal”, sustaining their livelihood by making various handicrafts, farm work, etc. Later, Tzu Chi’s own publishing house, “Still Thoughts Cultural Mission” (later renamed as “Jing Si Publications”), was established, publishing various books and audio-visual products, with the aim of passing on the Jing Si Dharma Lineage and bringing love, purity, and joy to hearts and minds. The income generated by the sale of Jing Si’s products supports the living expenses within the Abode.
The goal of Jing Si’s publications is to inspire people towards goodness, and they cover various topics, such as Dharma, spiritual development, education, medicine, social care, and other subject matters that promote holistic living. In addition, books on spiritual development from other publishers are carefully curated and displayed within the Jing Si bookstores for sale.
The most popular publications are the books of Jing Si Aphorisms, which are wise and inspiring sayings excerpted from Master Cheng Yen’s teachings. Nuggets of life’s wisdom are encapsulated in the sayings, which are written in easy-to-read language. The book of Jing Si Aphorisms published in 1989 was the first Tzu Chi book circulated in the public. 25 years after the first book of Jing Si Aphorisms was published, the sayings have been translated into 14 languages with more than 4.5 million copies sold worldwide.
Apart from publications, Jing Si also offers a wide range of food and lifestyle products that are developed along the lines of environmental conservation and sustainability. They include hand-made candles and soap, grain/bean powdered drink mix, reusable utensils, etc., which are all safe and healthy for both people and the environment.
Jing Si Books and Café (Sims Avenue Branch)
Singapore’s first Jing Si Books and Café was located in Chinatown, and ceased operation at the end of 2007 as the property was returned to its owner. Eight years later, after a long and hard search for a suitable location, Jing Si Books and Café finally re-opened along Sims Ave on 1st April 2016. It offers a spiritual respite amidst the hustle and bustle of modern city life, by providing a quiet and cosy space where visitors and readers may settle their minds and quench their spiritual thirst.
Take a leisurely step into Jing Si Books and Café, and your eyes will be greeted by an 80 square-metre space filled with neat rows of inspiring and informative books as well as a café area where visitors can rest and relax themselves. Tastefully designed with an oriental Zen touch combined with modern simplicity, the store has glass- panelled walls that shield out the noise from the busy roads in front.
Address: Blk 134 Geylang East Avenue 1 #01-219, Singapore 380134
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm (Closed on Monday)
Tel: (65) 6747 2080
Jing Si Books and Café strives to be a spiritual oasis for busy city dwellers, a calm environment where visitors can settle their minds and quench their spiritual thirst. Every product displayed within the bookstore serves the goal of purifying hearts and minds so as to bring about a harmonious society.
From time to time, the store will also invite renowned speakers in their respective fields of expertise to conduct inspiring public talks as well as to share their invaluable insights on significant life and spiritual matters.
Jing Si Books and Café (Yishun Branch)
Located in Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre, the Yishun branch of Jing Si Books and Café is situated by the idyllic Yishun Pond. Its glass walls allow a clear view of the beautiful landscape outside, and visitors may enjoy different views of the day from daylight to sunset, rain or shine. An ideal place for relaxation after work, the store has glass-panelled walls on three sides, offering a bright and spacious interior.
Its display shelves adopt a fresh, contemporary design that appeals to youths, with a specific theme for each section. Decorated with small potted plants and information materials, the display spaces are filled with neatly arranged products, creating an inviting atmosphere.
Monday-Friday: 11.30am – 7pm
Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Sunday: 10am – 6pm
Tel: (65) 8866 4985
Jing Si Book Hut
Situated on the ground floor of Tzu Chi Singapore’s Jing Si Hall, the Jing Si Book Hut opened its doors to the public shortly after the Hall was inaugurated. With a simple yet elegant interior, the bookstore offers an array of books, CDs, VCDs, DVDs, as well as all-natural food and eco-friendly lifestyle products. It is another respite for visitors and volunteers alike, and the latter may purchase their Tzu Chi uniforms and accessories at the store.
Address: Level 1, Jing Si Hall, 9 Elias Road, Singapore 519937
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm (Closed on Saturday and Sunday)
Tel: (65) 65829958 ext 103
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An insight into Jing Si Books and Café; uncovering what differentiates it from the other cafés out there.