Gratitude. There is great happiness which we sometimes forget. When we take time to sit down and enjoy every morsel of our food, we know we are very fortunate to be nourished and embraced by the whole universe. Eating meditation is best done in silence. The Five Contemplations will be read for us to reflect upon before starting the silent meal:
- This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much loving work.
- May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.
- May we recognize and transform our unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat with moderation.
- May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that we reduce the suffering of living beings, preserve our planet, and reverse the process of global warming.
- We accept this food so that we may nurture our sisterhood and brotherhood, strengthen our Sangha, and nourish our ideal of serving living beings.
To be worthy to receive the food is to really enjoy and appreciate it. Each mouthful can be chewed at least 30 times. By eating mindfully and peacefully, we nourish ourselves, our society, and many generations with understanding and love. We can look and smile to friends who are sitting next to us, enjoying their presence. Upon finishing our meal, we take a few moments to be aware that we have finished, our bowl is now empty, and our hunger is satisfied. Gratitude nurtures us as we maintain awareness of how fortunate we are to have had this nourishing food to eat, supporting us on the path of love and understanding.