Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Confessions of a Buddhist omnivore, abbreviated

So in my last post I wrote a lot more than I thought I would about food, attachment to food, vegetarianism, and attachment to that concept. Here is a very abbreviated version to more efficiently discuss the heart of the issue.

Okay, so I (and many other people) love food. I like eating meat from time to time, but have followed a mostly vegetarian diet for the last few years. I try to see food as something that helps nourish us, plain and simple. Food is the essence of the earth, plants, animals, sunshine, and the effort of people who have harvested, processed, transported, sold and cooked it for us. It is impermanent, and becomes part of us when we consume it. Be aware of attachment to concepts and certain types of food, whatever your dietary preference. Treat every meal as an experience, and as an opportunity to develop spiritually. How wonderful it is, to have this opportunity in front of us- several times each day! 

Here are my basic, humble guidelines. I am not yet perfect in following them, but have improved over the past few months.

In my life, I try to:
Be joyful while eating
Eat slowly
Eat mindfully, without distractions
Eat mostly vegetarian food, without becoming attached to the concept of vegetarianism
Eat food that has been cultivated or raised in a sustainable way. 
Be grateful for any food that is provided to me. Saying the prayer below before I eat helps.

Earth, fire, water, air and space
combined to make these foods.
Numerous beings live and labored
so that we may eat.
Let us nourish ourselves,
so that we may nourish life.

May all beings be happy!

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