Buddhism, veganic gardening, compassion, and the vegan life calls all to deepen our relationships with Mother Earth and each other. Live sustainably, authentically, and lightly on the Earth. Manifest compassion for all sentient beings. The world is an altar. Worship in love.
husband and I spent this weekend getting our home in order. We’re readying for
the Thanksgiving and December holiday celebrations, and all the accompanying
kitchen is an oak-framed meal gatha, a short Zen teaching on eating. Gathas are short verses that help Buddhists practice
mindfulness in the simple acts of life including waking, resting, sleeping,
playing, and eating. Focusing the mind on a gatha makes one much more aware of
each seemingly small action of the day.
gatha, also called the Verse of Five Contemplations, is recited before eating. In
my case, also as food is being prepared. It’s a part of the practice of
mindfulness; in particular, mindful eating.
of this weekend’s readying-for-the-holidays household cleaning, the meal gatha
was cleaned and returned to its prominent place in our kitchen – where we
prepare all our food for the day. So, while we’re chopping carrots, peeling
apples, or rinsing rice, the meal gatha reminds us that we must take life - even plant life - to support
lots of meal gathas. Our particular Zen pre-meal incantation reads as such:
First, seventy-two labors have brought us this
food. We should know where it comes from.
Second, as we receive this offering we should
consider whether our virtue and practice deserve it.
Third, as we desire the mind to be free from clinging,
we must be free from greed.
Fourth, to support our life, we receive this food.
Fifth, to realize the way, we accept this food.
say for instance, Christian or Jewish practice, the Zen meal gatha does not pay
an homage to a deity, but instead prepares one’s mind for the meal to come.
Food is a great blessing. We’re lucky to have so much delicious food every day
to keep us healthy. The meal gatha in our kitchen reminds us, every day, to be mindful
of that. /II\ Namaste