Friday, March 18, 2005

Thich Nhat Hanh's blessing

Sometimes we are gifted by the studies and the growth of our friends. My friend Carol is doing some wonderful work with a book calld The Zen of Eating. Wow, her work is powerful...

Carol shared with me her learning of mindfulness in eating. What a deeply moving experience this has become for her.

She shares with me a blessing from Thich Nhat Hanh...

As food is served:
I clearly see the presence of the entire universe supporting my existence.

While looking at a full plate of food:
All living beings are struggling for life. May they all have enough food to eat today.

Just before eating:
The plate is filled with food. I am aware that each morsel is the fruit of much hard work by those who produced it.

While taking the first four mouthfuls of food:
With the first taste, I promise to practice loving-kindness.
With the second, I promise to relieve the suffering of others.
With the third, I promise to see others’ joy as my own.
With the fourth, I promise to learn the way of nonattachment and equanimity.

Upon finishing the meal:
My plate is empty. My hunger is satisfied. I vow to live for the benefit of all beings.

I love this blessing. I have long believed in the practice of thankfulness (which I will lovingly discuss at length later), and this blessing takes thankfulness to a deeper level. This blessing takes me to a place of truly seeing the gift, poignantly understanding the contribution of others, piercingly points out my responsibility in receiving the gift, and leads me to my own completion for having done so. This is the acceptance of a gift. This is the giving of thanks...

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