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(contemplation before eating)

Once upon a time

a short while ago

this food was earth.


Just like the kind we walked upon a few minutes ago:

dust, plants, microorganisms and water

that soon will become the cells of our body

the molecules of our smiling lips

the fibers of our muscles

our nerves that produce sensations

and our brain that generates thoughts.

Tell me, Earth:

Where is the exact point

when you cease to be you

and begin to be me?

These teeth that chew

are themselves Earth.

Who then is eating whom?

May we eat in a way that nurtures gratitude, peace and compassion

for the benefit of the Earth and all its faces.

May we see beyond the illusion of separateness

and recognize our true nature.

– Bar Zecharya

This poem was written during a Wake Up retreat in Bologna, Italy, in 2012. The Sangha had just returned from walking meditation in the countryside and had sat down for a simple and tasty meal together. Thay’s Dharma talks during the previous winter retreat at Plum Village were also a strong influence.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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