September 02, 2009

Food for enlightenment: You are what you cook

buddhism, food, shojin ryori, tricycle

Can some foods or a certain style of cooking aid you on your path to enlightenment? Consider shojin ryori, or, as the Honolulu Star Bulletin has it, "vegan Buddhist fare":

Shojin Ryori embodies the concept of food and cooking that sustain the body in working toward enlightenment. On the menu: hijiki and soba salad, roll cabbage with tofu, nishime, chirashi and Hawaiian-style coconut curry with vegetables.

Shojin ryori originated with Dogen Zenji, the 13th-century Zen master who founded the Soto Zen school in Japan. Dogen wrote instructions for monastery cooks (found in the Tenzo Kyokun), incorporating cooking into monastic practice. Pure Land priest Rev. Earl Ikeda, who helped develop the menu for Tsukiji Fish Market & Restaurant, a new cafe in Honolulu serving shojin ryori, says:

"The most important in this cooking is attitude and philosophy," says Ikeda. "You don't carelessly take a life, and that extends to your own life. You don't take it for granted. 'Narikireru' is a Zen term that means having the attitude that you are what you are cooking. How would you want to be presented?"

Read more here.

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billymayer's picture

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Robbie's picture

In my (sadly departed but still missed) college years of vegetarianism, I was quite aware of the fact that I was less mentally aggressive when I wasn't eating meat (I mean the bad kind of aggression- is there a good kind?). But on the occasions when eating meat was socially necessary, even quite small amounts would nearly kill me, subjectively speaking from nutritional overload, which led to refusing 'regular food' which in turn made me a pain to others! I'm sure vegetarianism is a lot easier to pull off now, but will always be a fair amount of work.... Anyway, maybe this diet could lead to enlightment- I'm gonna shojin ryori in mind for my freedom years.... When do those start again?

Good Food, Good Health (low Cholesterol Cook Book), Nor | Pa's picture

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