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Introducing the Five Contemplations

[BELL, BELL, BELL] [WAKE-UP SOUND]

The Buddha, the Awakened One, invites us to enjoy our meal in mindfulness, establishing ourselves in the present moment so that we can be aware of the food in front of us and of the community surrounding us. We eat in such a way that makes peace, joy, brotherhood and sisterhood possible during the whole time of eating.

Dear friends, at the sound of the bell, please practice the Five Contemplations.

[BELL]
The Five Contemplations

1. This food is the gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings and much hard, loving work.

2. May we eat and live in mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive this food.

3. May we recognize and transform our unwholesome mental formations especially our greed and learn to eat with moderation.

4. May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that reduces the suffering of living beings, stop contributing to climate change and heals and preserves our precious planet. 

5. We accept this food so that we may nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, build our Sangha, and to nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.

[BELL]

We should take our time as we eat, chewing each mouthful at least 30 times, until the food becomes liquefied. This aids the digestive process. Let us enjoy every morsel of our food and the presence of the dharma brothers and sisters around us. Let us establish ourselves in the present moment, eating in such a way that solidity, joy and peace be possible during the time of eating.

Upon finishing our meal, we take a few moments to notice that we have finished, our bowl is now empty and our hunger is satisfied. Gratitude fills us as we realize how fortunate we are to have had this nourishing food to eat, supporting us on the path of love and understanding.

We may also like to say the following gatha:

“The meal is finished.

My hunger is satisfied.

I vow to live for the benefit of all beings.”