Buddhist gourmet cooking -- a contradiction in terms?

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Buddhist gourmet cooking -- a contradiction in terms?

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:17 pm

The blander, the holier?

Or can cooking be seen as a mindful, wholesome activity (provided we don't get too caught up in chasing after exotic or fancy cuisine choices?)

What do you think? And what is your own practice with regard to cooking and eating?
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Re: Buddhist gourmet cooking -- a contradiction in terms?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:52 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:The blander, the holier?
Or can cooking be seen as a mindful, wholesome activity (provided we don't get too caught up in chasing after exotic or fancy cuisine choices?)
What do you think? And what is your own practice with regard to cooking and eating?

Wholesome: Yes
Mindful: Yes

Taste: Well for Arahants and non-returners, taste may not be an issue. But how many Arahants and non-returners are there in the world? Probably not that many. (Non-returners and Arahants are no longer bound to cravings of the senses.)

I think gourmet cooking / food can be another way to practice mindfulness and as a Skilful means for teaching, demonstrating wholesome, healthy foods.
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Re: Buddhist gourmet cooking -- a contradiction in terms?

Postby SeerObserver » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:40 pm

TheDhamma wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:The blander, the holier?
Or can cooking be seen as a mindful, wholesome activity (provided we don't get too caught up in chasing after exotic or fancy cuisine choices?)
What do you think? And what is your own practice with regard to cooking and eating?

Wholesome: Yes
Mindful: Yes

Taste: Well for Arahants and non-returners, taste may not be an issue. But how many Arahants and non-returners are there in the world? Probably not that many. (Non-returners and Arahants are no longer bound to cravings of the senses.)

I think gourmet cooking / food can be another way to practice mindfulness and as a Skilful means for teaching, demonstrating wholesome, healthy foods.

Agreed. Cooking and other food prep can be a good exercise in mindfulness and other Buddhist teachings. Parallel this with an example of Tibetan monks making sand murals with the intention of blowing or sweeping them away when finished. This is an exercise of mindfulness as well as detachment from that which is impermanent.

The same can be said of a cooking exercise. You can put forth a great effort and be mindful in the preparation. The end result can be a meal exquisite in taste and possibly aesthetically pleasing as well. Be aware of the impermanence, and do not be attached to your creation. Know that what you have created will be blown or swept away like the sand mural. Your food will be chewed up, digested, and processed into kesa, loma, nakha, danta, etc.
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Re: Buddhist gourmet cooking -- a contradiction in terms?

Postby puthujjana » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:58 pm

Cooking can be a very good exercise in mindfulness.

In the soto zen tradition cooking is part of the spiritual path. Dogen Zenji wrote a book of instructions on how to prepare food in a zen monastery: "Tenzo kyokun: Instructions for the Tenzo"

It contains the famous quote: "Once he has these [= rice, vegetables, and other ingredients], he must handle them as carefully as if they were his own eyes."

There is even a movie about "zen cooking", which is called "How to cook your life". It's about Edward Espe Brown, who is a former student of Shunryu Suzuki and tenzo at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California: http://www.how-to-cook-your-life.de/

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:anjali:
"Once you understand anatta, then the burden of life is gone. You’ll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy."
- Ajahn Chah
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