Gokan no Ge

The Five Reflections recited before meals

1. Engage with the food. Consider how nature’s miracles and people’s hard work have culminated in the creation of the food you are about to enjoy.

2. Reflect upon your day and yourself. Contemplate whether your actions make you worthy of the meal in front of you.

3. Observe whether your own spirit is pure like the food.
A mind full of the three greatest evils (greed, anger and ignorance)
cannot truly appreciate or savor the food.

4. Chew slowly and enjoy every bite. Good food is medicine.
It is a way of rejuvenating and purifying your fatigued body.

5. Be thankful for all, and eat with gratitude. To make and eat good food Once the monk has meditated
is part of walking the virtuous path of Buddhism.

on each point, he/she sits upright, puts his/her hands together in prayer, and says “itadakimasu”(a Japanese term used before meals to express gratitude and humility) in a clear voice. Only then can the monk finally take his chopsticks to enjoy his/her food.These five points are based on two important Zen books,Tenzō Kyōkun and Fushuku Hanpō, which prescribe how to prepare and eat food respectively. Both texts were compiled by Dogen Zenji.


Courtesy of Authentic Japan and Team Shojin