Meditation: To Eat with Gratitude

A meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese monk and peace activist. You can find it in  his book :” Touching the Earth” .

“Lord Buddha, each time I sit at the table, I promise to be grateful. I know that the time to eat is also a time to meditate. When I eat I not only my body is nourished, but also my mind. When I fold my hands before the meal, I follow my breath to bring my body and mind to oneness. And in this state of pure awareness I will look at the food on my plate and I will meditate on the next five points:

  1. This food is a gift of the whole Universe – the soil, the air, and hard work.
  2. May we take our food in consciousness so that we are worthy to receive this food.
  3. May we transform our imperfect state of awareness and learn to eat with moderation.
  4. May we only take that food that really nourishes us and prevents illness.
  5. We accept this food to realize the path of insight and love.

…I see that this food is a gift of the soil and the air. I see the rice field, the vegetable garden, the sunshine, the rain, the manure and the hard work of the farmer. I see the beautiful fields of golden wheat, those harvesting , those threshing the wheat, the ones baking the bread. I see the beans sown in the soil growing up. I see the apple orchard, the plum orchard, the tomato garden and the workers taking care of those plants. I see the bees and butterflies flying from flower to flower and gathering pollen and preparing sweet honey. I see that every element of the cosmos has participated in this….My heart is full of gratitude and happiness. When I chew my food, I nourish my consciousness and my happiness and I take care that my mind is not occupied by the past or by the future or by senseless thoughts of the present. Every bite nourishes me and my ancestors and my descendants, who live in me. Food for my senses can give me compassion and joy while eating. When I eat with full awareness, I bring forth compassion, freedom and joy. In this way I feed my family and my sangha (  community).

I will take care that I will not eat more than I need, because it is harmful for myself and for my discipline.

Lord Buddha, three times I touch the Earth on behalf of you, who are worthy of all respect and sacrifice. In this way I express my gratitude for the soil, the air and all kind of living beings and feed my happiness.

I nourish myself with true food and the food that feeds my senses. True food gives nourishment for my body.

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