I thought that I’d like to share the following with you all. My husband and I say these words every day before our evening meal. A few years ago I attended a retreat led by Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Before every meal we would all say a beautiful prayer, a gentle reminder that we are part of something larger than ourselves. When I eat my meal, I am not just eating food. I am eating the sun and the rain and the soil without which the plants that produce the fruit, vegetables, and grains that I consume would die. The sun and the nutrients from the soil become part of them, just as they in turn become part of me. When I eat I see much more than the food on my plate: I see the worms that aerate the soil so that all of these plants can grow, the farmer who tills the soil and harvests the crops, the people who grind the grain and make the bread that I eat with my meal, those who make the plates from which I eat, the earth for providing the material from which the plates are made, the people who make the clothes that all of us wear, and so on and so on. I see that we really do depend upon each other. We inter-are.
I am very grateful to Thich Nhat Hanh for sharing these words with all of us at the retreat. I’d now like to share them with all of you:
This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings and much hard work.
May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.
May we recognize and transform our unskillful states of mind, especially our greed.
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.
In this food we see clearly the entire universe supporting our existence.
At the end of this prayer I have also added a few words of my own to remind me that not everyone is as fortunate as me and to wish for all beings enough food to eat and water to drink:
May no being want from hunger.
May no being want from thirst.
I am so lucky to have been born in circumstances where I do not want. I wish this for all beings. Peace to you all.