4

When I was in rehab (15 years ago) I was at a Camp Hill community. It wasn't really that helpful for my drug problem. Maybe I wasn't ready at the time and because I don't believe in God, I had a lot of resistance to the antroposofic cosmology. Also, Camp Hill is very hierarchic and not really a drug treatment program; it's for mentally disabled people. I find Buddhist meditation practices on non-self, suffering and impermanence much more helpful.

What I did like about Camp Hill was that we always had a little prayer before meals. When I am about to eat, I very often wish I could have some kind of Saying Grace that could express gratitude (I don't know if 'Saying Grace' is the right term, in Norwegian it's called "table prayer").

Does anybody know any Buddhist prayers like that? It's not so important what tradition it comes from.

2

When I was in rehab (15 years ago) I was at a Camp Hill community. It wasn't really that helpful for my drug problem. Maybe I wasn't ready at the time and because I don't believe in God, I had a lot of resistance to the antroposofic cosmology. Also, Camp Hill is very hierarchic and not really a drug treatment program; it's for mentally disabled people. I find Buddhist meditation practices on non-self, suffering and impermanence much more helpful.

There is a perfect example from S.N. Goenka's life itself where he got a migraine which was incurable and later developed some addiction to thee painkillers he was taking. But with an introduction to Vipassana meditation he overcame the migraine (which was psychosomatic) as well as the addiction to painkillers. This is like you case where you found Vipassana meditation helpful. To continuously reap the benefits, the best is that you continue your practice, and regularly be on check to see if you are practicing the correct way.

What I did like about Camp Hill was that we always had a little prayer before meals. When I am about to eat, I very often wish I could have some kind of Saying Grace that could express gratitude (I don't know if 'Saying Grace' is the right term, in Norwegian it's called "table prayer").

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. What you call the practice is immaterial. Also this seems to have a +ve psychological effect on you, hence it will be worthwhile to continue.

Does anybody know any Buddhist prayers like that? It's not so important what tradition it comes from.

At least in Theravada Buddhism we do not have giving grace as a practice, but gratitude is very important concept. Finding time to do this before a meal is very positive, as you will always pratice this at a specific time and regularly. When you do not have fixed time and schedule the tendency is to procrastinate and also it will be irregular. This being a +ve practice and also having a +ve impact on you it is best to keep it up.

Keep up the good thing you are doing and also try cultivating good thing that you are not!

7

In the monastery I live, we are taught to bless the food by way of offering it, before each meal (or even before simply drinking a glass of water, tea, coffee or so).

The short Tibetan version goes:

Tönpa la mä sangye rinpoche
Kyobpa la mä dam chö rinpoche
Dren pa la mä gendün rinpoche
Kyab nä kön chok sum la chö par bül


Its English translation goes:

To the precious Buddha, the unsurpassable teacher,
To the precious Dharma, the unsurpassable protection,
To the precious Sangha, the unsurpassable guides—
To you, the three rare and supreme sources of refuge, I offer.

It is what we recite (just once, no need for thee recitations) when we have no time (or no heart to take the time). Usually, we recite this short version in the context of 'blessing, offering the food during puja' or when we eat outside of the monastery. An even shorter version for lazy people like me consists in saying "Om Ah Hum" three times.


We also have a longer (clearly Mahayana) version. It is the one we recite every day before the communal lunch:

Om Ah Hum (3x)

Compassionate Lord,
All-knowing Guide,
Field of merit and ocean of qualities,
Tathagata, to you I pay homage.

Through purity free of attachment,
Through virtue free of the lower realms,
Uniquely ultimate supreme,
Peaceful Dharma, to you I pay homage.

Showing the path which frees those seeking freedom,
Well established in the trainings,
Pure among fields possessing qualities:
To the Sangha, I also pay homage.

To the principal Buddha homage.
The Dharma, which protects homage.
To the Sangha assembly homage.
Homage to the three always.

The qualities of Buddha are inconceivable.
The qualities of the Dharma are inconceivable.
The Arya Sangha are inconceivable.
Through generating faith in the inconceivable,
The karmic ripening result will also be inconceivable:
May we be born in the pure realm.

To the precious Buddha, peerless guide,
To the precious Dharma, peerless refuge,
To the precious Sangha, peerless liberators:
We offer to the three jewels of refuge.

This food with a hundred of flavours,
Which is mouth-watering and well made,
To the Conqueror and his children we offer with faith.
By this, may all migrators become wealthy,
And enjoy the food of concentration.

Seeing this food as medicine,
We eat it without attachment or hatred,
Not to have an enviable body, not out of pride,
Not to look strong, only to sustain the body.

Through the connection of making charity
To the sentient beings living in my body,
May they become human beings and I will reveal to them the
Dharma and lead them to enlightenment.
For this purpose I am going to enjoy this food.

3

Buddhists in Asian countries have a practice of offering the best portion of the meal before noon to the Buddha before they start eating.

You can also show your gratitude to your parents/wife/friends who prepared it.

More importantly, you can practice Satipattana while eating

  • Kayanupassana: mixing, moving(hand), opening(mouth), putting(food in mouth), chewing etc.
  • Vedananupassana: pleasant/unpleasant(taste)
  • Cittanupassana: thinking(if the mind strays)
  • Dhammanupassana: liking/disliking(the taste)
2

Sōtō zen rituals for meals: see this doument and also this page for more details. Here are the verses:

Verse upon Hearing the Meal Signal

Buddha was born in Kapilavastu,
enlightened in Magadha,
taught in Varanasi,
entered nirvana in Kushinagara.

Verse for Setting Out Bowls

Now we set out Buddha's bowls;
may we, with all living beings,
realize the emptiness of the three wheels:
giver, receiver, and gift.

Ten Buddha Names

In the midst of the Three Treasures
which verify our understanding,
entrusting ourselves to the sangha,
we recall:
Vairochana Buddha,
pure Dharmakaya;
Lochana Buddha,
complete Sambhogakaya;
Shakyamuni Buddha,
myriad Nirmanakaya;
Maitreya Buddha, of future birth;
All buddhas
throughout space and time;
Lotus of the Wondrous Dharma, Mahayana sutra.
Manjushri Bodhisattva,
great wisdom;
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva,
great activity;
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva,
great compassion;
All honored ones,
bodhisattvas, mahasattvas;
Wisdom beyond wisdom,
maha-prajnaparamita.

Food Offering Verses [At breakfast]

This morning meal of ten benefits
nourishes us in our practice.
Its rewards are boundless,
filling us with ease and joy.

[At lunch]

The three virtues and six tastes of this meal
are offered to buddha and sangha.
May all sentient beings in the universe
be equally nourished.

Verse of Five Contemplations

We reflect on the effort that brought us this food and consider how it comes to us.
We reflect on our virtue and practice, and whether we are worthy of this offering.
We regard greed as the obstacle to freedom of mind. We regard this meal as medicine to sustain our life.
For the sake of enlightenment we now receive this food.

Verse of Food for Spirits

Oh spirits, we now give you an offering;
this food is for all of you in the ten directions.

Bowl Raising Verse

First, this is for the Three Treasures;
next, for the four benefactors;
finally, for the beings in the six realms.
May all be equally nourished.

The first portion is to end all evil;
the second is to cultivate every good;
the third is to free all beings.
May everyone realize the Buddha Way.

Verse of the Rinse Water

The water with which we wash our bowls tastes like ambrosia.
We offer it to the many spirits; may they be satisfied.
On ma ku ra sai so wa ka.

Verse of Purity While Abiding in the World

Abiding in this ephemeral world
like a lotus in muddy water,
the mind is pure and goes beyond.
Thus we bow to Buddha.


Fo Guan Shan (also Mahayana; Pure Land / Ch'an) day to day rituals for the beginning and ending of meal: 養 供 咒 (meal offering; before the meal) and 向 回 (dedication of merit; after the meal) 1:

Meal offering:

Now we render this offerings to the Pure Dharma-body Vairochana Buddha;

To the Perfect Reward-body Nishyanda Buddha;

To the myriad transformation-body Shakyamuni Buddha;

In the Land of ultimate bliss, to Amitabha Buddha;

To Maitraya honored future Buddha;

And to all times and places to each and every Buddha;

To Manjusri Great Wisdom Bodhisattva;

To Universal Worthy Great Conduct Boddhisattva;

To Kwan Shr Yin Great Compassion Bodhisattva;

To Earth Treasury King Great Vow Bodhisattva;

And to all Honored Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas;

Maha prajna paramita!

Dedication of merit:

Homage to the Seven Myriads of Fully Awakened Ones! It goes thus:

“Oṃ! To the mover, the destroyer, Cundi! Hail!” Behold, the donors will certainly receive their merit, Giving for the sake of happiness, one will be awarded with inner peace, Now the meal has been completed, we vow that all sentient beings, Complete all that is to be done, becoming endowed with the Buddha Dharmas.


1: check this document for these and other verses and this video for how the verses are chanted.

2

At the Zen monastery I have visited a couple times, those present say a Meal Gatha prior to eating:

First, seventy-two labors brought us this food,
We should know how it comes to us.
Second, as we receive this offering,
We should consider
Whether our virtue and practice deserve it.
Third, as we desire the natural order of mind,
To be free from clinging,
We must be free from greed.
Fourth, to support our life, we receive this food.
Fifth, to realize the way, we accept this food.

First, this food is for the Three Treasures.
Second, it is for our teachers, parents, nation,
And all sentient beings.
Third, it is for all beings in the six worlds.
Thus, we eat this food with everyone.
We eat to stop all evil, to practice good,
To save all sentient beings,
And to accomplish our Buddha Way.

Another site says that the first part of the gatha above is from Dogen, and suggests it is widely used in Zen.

This gatha, suggested by Thich Nhat Hanh, is one possible alternative:

This food is the gift of the whole universe, the earth, the sky, and much hard work. May we be worthy to receive it. May we transform unskillful states of mind, especially the habit of eating without moderation. May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness. We accept this food to realize the path of understanding and love.

0

I always make it a point to thank the cook and those involved in preparing the meal.

In gatherings, I do this immediately after others thank imaginary beings, since I kind of feel that my wife should get credit for actually doing the work!

I think it's appropriate and culture-neutral to make "words" more like a toast, and nominate that we reflect on our current situations and recognise achivements of those present.

  • Yes. I am fortunate to have a partner cooking wondrous meals for me every day and always thank her after meals. I always try to recognize those present also when it comes to helping them in any way I can. I think sometimes (Mahayana) Buddhist practice can be a little too expansive in the "compassion for all sentient beings", forgetting what's actually here and now. Still, I also wanted a more general way to express gratitude - which I got. Thanks – Mr. Concept Dec 7 '15 at 17:30
  • Hi John, welcome to Buddhism.SE (we've sort of met before on optimax and sdforum). – ChrisW Dec 8 '15 at 5:36
  • Hi @ChrisW. My wife's family has a Buddhist cultural background, similar to how people in the US have a Christian heritage. I've been to the Temple of Heaven :) – JDługosz Dec 8 '15 at 10:46

protected by Lanka Dec 12 '15 at 6:15

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