Feeding oneself and feeding the world, the journal of the Tenzo: the meal of the soul

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

How to cook and eat daily while realizing the generosity of existence? The Tenzo Valérie Dai Hatsu Duvauchelle invites us to awaken the taste of our life through the practice of benevolent cooking.

Let the season cook you on a winter morning.

Sitting at the window, the sound of the rain hypnotizes me. In front of me, a painting, that of the silence of bare trees contrasted by an insolent mimosa. Life flows, life flows and in slipping in, I too join this silence, this beauty of winter, so strong because I have the courage to lay myself bare.

Winter is a season that cannot lie. She invites us to be her mirror. Loneliness, sadness, impatience, all these emotions so often censored naturally heighten with the cold and simply reflect the state of nature. So I welcome them.

It was in Japan that I learned to appreciate these often misjudged feelings, and rather than reject them, to savor them. So in the hidden sweetness of this season, I return to the appreciation of all the flavors of my life. Feeding in winter is a marvelous source of self-benevolence and it begins with this steaming tea that warms our hands and reassures the restless heart of the day that is beginning. Breakfast is considered in the monastic tradition zen like the meal of the soul, the most important, because it is the one that comes with the day and reminds us every morning that we are alive.

Let's eat in Oryoki (1), in bowls of the right measure.

Eating in Zen is a path, that of the responsibility to accept this life and that of dignity, by honoring by our way of being this life offered at each meal. We give back in an endless circle. In this loving look is discovered the deep meaning of our food. In front of the rain, to the sound of the rising wind, I savor my life and already hear the murmur of spring.

Oryoki menu of the week: winter breakfasts that are leaving us

Take a few minutes and feel the season within us, let the images unfold without interpreting them. Open the window and take the temperature of the day, finally question his heart, how does he feel? With the cold going away, there remains the craving for lukewarm porridges, cooked fruits and rich and tasty seeds. We eat in Oryoki (1), in bowls of the right measure.

1st bowl: the one whose blandness allows all the flavors to be appreciated. A complete pre-cooked rice cream in which you put a tablespoon (or teaspoon) of mashed potatoes of your choice (cashew, almond or hazelnut) and which are creamed with naturally sweetened rice milk.

2nd bowl: a fruit compote (apples or pears, quinces) seasoned according to taste with grapefruit pepper, vanilla, bergamot and a pinch of salt.

3rd bowl: seeds roasted in the pan for just a few minutes (sunflower or squash seeds, almonds).

Once served, we contemplate this abundance and this simplicity, all this offering of the earth and of men. Then we mix the three bowls in the first before enjoying!


The five contemplations:

1. We look at all the effort and energy it took to get that food to us.
2. We reflect on how we honor this nourishment in our daily lives.
3. We see how the gift of food transforms our minds and soothes our hearts by protecting us from greed and anger.
4. We see how deeply this offering nourishes and heals our body.
5. We contemplate this nourishment which enables us to awaken to life and to the joy of sharing it with all beings.

photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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