Monday, 9 November 2015
Harvest time: how we eat
written by Denis Kurmanov
We Buddhists, in ritual and depending on our home practice, have a strange eating etiquette and manner: and how we eat reflects a lot of what we believe; we are what we and how we eat.
So. Let's do a compassion between Orthodox Christian feast calendar, Jewish feast days, and Zen eating practice.
Orthodox Christian feast days occur commonly but always in reverence to an occasion or a person. These feasts, depending on what their patrons also patronized, would become more or less elaborate. For example, Basil's feast in Egypt and Russia is going to be a great gathering. Feasts consist of traditional food of the culture (generally) and also abide by church dogma (which includes fasting on Wed and Fri for Orthodox Christian) and reflect a feasting in thanks and victory. Orthodox saints and usually depicted in gold on the Icons, the space around them is holy, the spirit they have and portray is divine; therefore we must feast in victory.
The Jewish feasts are in celebration. Being thankful is a very important part of Jewish identity: privilege is shared among the community as much as possible; when we remember the days in which we struggle and see where we have come and that we are, we stop, light candles, cry and thank God, then feast on the riches of the world.
Feasting in the Jewish calendar is complicated. Every Shabbat, depending on the certain tradition of Judaism, is going to be quite elaborate. Shabbat dinner is to stop from all things worldly and to honor God and rest with (not against, not for) creation.
Buddhism stops the chatter: the thanks is in the silence to every bite. The crunch on leaves and not meat is the only sound that penetrates a home, a person at work, a Zen hall. Eating is eating and is done when one is hungry, or obliged to. The ritual is taken away almost entirely and is done in the mind as it focuses on eating, experiencing, and embracing the food. This is to think of both "ourselves" and that of what we eat; we know we shall become grass one day, we know we need the bees that brought about the plants, and the animals and so on and so forth. We are a part of a complicated, creative wave of existence that is involved in our quietly eating our meals.
None of these ways are wrong. They reflect different responses to the world and seem to honor the fact that each bite comes with a cost. Let's think about the way we eat individually and see what we may discover about ourselves.