Shojin Ryori: Second Section
Thank you for coming back to the Second Section of the Shojin Ryori.
Dogen, the 13th century Buddhist monk, banned the slaughter of animals for human consumption in belief that killing is an inhumane act that interferes with the training of the monks who meditate in order to attain enlightenment. Shojin means a process of continuous meditation. For Zen Buddhist at the temple throughout the day the time for preparing and consuming meals is one of the important periods of meditation. To the monks meals are not for enjoyment or satisfying hunger, but for sustaining their health, so they can continue to meditate. At each meal monks recite five teachings. This is the essence of that recitation.
- We offer great thanks to nature that has brought us food to this table. We offer great thanks to the people who made our meal possible at this table, especially thanks to the monk-cooks who devoted their labor and time to prepare the dishes and to the farmers who produced this bounty.
- We reflect to ourselves before consuming a meal, “Do we deserve to receive this meal?”
- We do not bring human desires, including greed, anger or other emotions, to the table.
- Our meal is medicine for us. Our humble, but balanced meal nourishes both our mental and physical health.
- Meal time is the extension of meditation time. As we eat we continue to train ourselves in order to become a better person.