Meal Verse

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  • Kaishin
    Member
    • Dec 2010
    • 2322

    Meal Verse

    When you chant the meal verse, what images/thoughts do you hold in your mind?

    It occurred to me yesterday that sometimes my recitation is shallow, perfunctory. I just say it out of habit, without much reflection.

    I've started to hold an image in my head each time. Perhaps that of a farmer toiling in the field, a worm crawling through the earth, a truck driver hauling produce to the market, etc. Basically something to help cement the idea that this meal comes from literally everything, and holds everything within it. We would starve without the efforts of everything.


    Gassho, Kaishin
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.
  • Kaishin
    Member
    • Dec 2010
    • 2322

    #2
    Sorry my phone cut off the end of my post:

    So, what goes on in your mind when you chant the meal verse? Do you ever find it more like a habit than a meaningful ritual? How do you make it meaningful.

    Thank you,
    Kaishin
    Gassho, Kaishin
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

    Comment

    • Jiken
      Member
      • Jan 2011
      • 753

      #3
      When i recite the meal chant I focus or practice on just chanting. If my mind wanders (and it does) I try to bring it back to just chanting. For me I try not to make a judgement about it whether it is a habit or meaningful. It is both meaningful and non-meaningful and beyond. For me, I chant because I choose to.

      Interesting post Kaishin

      Gassho,

      Daido

      Comment

      • Nindo

        #4
        I stick the spoon in the bowl with the handle facing away from me and offer my gratitude!

        Comment

        • Kokuu
          Treeleaf Priest
          • Nov 2012
          • 6785

          #5
          I imagine all the effort that has gone into producing each part of the meal - planting, watering and tending, picking, transporting, selling etc - and inwardly bow to all those involved and the plants and animals themselves. So, similar to you, Kaishin.

          I have always loved this meal gatha from Thich Nhat Hanh and the first line forms the essence of my visualisation:

          This food is the gift of the whole universe - the earth the sky, and much hard work.
          May we eat in mindfulness so as to be worthy to receive it.
          May we transform our unskillful states of mind and learn to eat with moderation.
          May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.
          We accept this food to realize the path of understanding and love and joy.


          Gassho,
          Andy

          Comment

          • Seimyo
            Member
            • Jan 2012
            • 861

            #6
            Originally posted by Karasu
            I imagine all the effort that has gone into producing each part of the meal - planting, watering and tending, picking, transporting, selling etc - and inwardly bow to all those involved and the plants and animals themselves. So, similar to you, Kaishin.
            Great topic Kaishin. I often have found myself doing the same. I'm going to make more of an effort to do as Andy has posted. This seems like a solid way to add more meaning to the verse. Thanks Andy!

            Gassho.
            Seimyo

            明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

            Comment

            • Taigu
              Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
              • Aug 2008
              • 2710

              #7
              As Daido says, in our tradition no need to think about anything at all, don t add to the recitation, just chant and that s it. No mental blablabla, no images or inner mudra are necessary. No merit. Just sing your heart out. Gratitude is not a thought, sentient beings are not thoughts.

              Gassho

              Taigu

              Comment

              • Taigu
                Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                • Aug 2008
                • 2710

                #8
                You may make a clear dedication before chanting and then forget everything, throw everything and every inch of yourself into the chant. When chanting, just chanting.

                Taigu

                Comment

                • Mp

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Taigu
                  You may make a clear dedication before chanting and then forget everything, throw everything and every inch of yourself into the chant. When chanting, just chanting.

                  Taigu
                  Yes! Thank you Taigu ... I love the simple and heart felt approach.

                  Gassho
                  Shingen

                  Comment

                  • Taigu
                    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                    • Aug 2008
                    • 2710

                    #10
                    Daido's answer has great depth.

                    Gassho

                    T.

                    Comment

                    • Kyonin
                      Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                      • Oct 2010
                      • 6742

                      #11
                      The meal gatha makes me conscious of what I'm eating, where it comes from and all the life involved in the process.

                      But most importantly, the words: it's medicine for my practice changed my life.

                      I need to eat in order to nurture my practice and body. Like any medicine, if I abuse of it, I'll become ill.

                      Gassho,

                      Kyonin
                      Hondō Kyōnin
                      奔道 協忍

                      Comment

                      • Kokuu
                        Treeleaf Priest
                        • Nov 2012
                        • 6785

                        #12
                        Thank you for the clarification, Taigu and Daido.

                        Gassho
                        Andy

                        Comment

                        • Kaishin
                          Member
                          • Dec 2010
                          • 2322

                          #13
                          Thank you for the follow-ups. I will keep the contemplation to before or after the chanting, as you advise, Taigu. When chanting, just chant. But of course
                          Thanks,
                          Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
                          Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

                          Comment

                          • Shonin
                            Member
                            • Apr 2009
                            • 885

                            #14
                            Now that i'm getting back in the habit of this chant. I try to feel every word of the chant be every line of the verse. But after that as I eat I try to experience the food on a deeper level ,and like you mentioned I think of those who had a part in getting the food to my [late ( myself included as we are involved in the cooking of our food. We are part of that process).The farmers, the sacrifice of sentient beings losing their lives so I and others may eat. The person who took my order, the cooks, The processing plants, etc.

                            Dave _/\_

                            Comment

                            • arnold
                              Member
                              • Mar 2013
                              • 78

                              #15
                              Kaishin, I love this question as I haven't thought about this very much. I appreciate you pointing at this part of practice so we can all reflect a bit. I find that like Daido and Reverend Taigu have expressed, just chanting has it's own fullness. As Dogen Zenji says in Genjo Koan: "All things coming and carrying out practice-enlightenment through the self is realizaton", so I would say in the case of the meal verse we just stay awake recite it and let it do it's work just a we stay awake and let Zazen do it's work. I find that when things are simple and clear gratitude comes up pretty naturally.

                              With Gratitude,
                              Arnold

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