How Buddhists Give Thanks at Meals

How Buddhists Give Thanks at Meals

Every day Buddhists all over the world recite “The Five Contemplations” at mealtime.  These five simple sentences have endured for over twenty-five centuries because of the depth of compassion and wisdom inherent in them.

These verses gently remind us to be fully present in the moment.  They remind us to walk lightly on this earth and to consider our purpose for being here. They remind us to be virtuous in body, speech and mind. They remind us to be mindful of unwholesome acts, such as greed, anger, and delusion.

In a way, you could say that “The Five Contemplations” convey the very essence of the Buddha’s teaching.

Here is the version that students of Thich Nhat Hanh use.  I offer it as a Thanksgiving grace for this holiday season:

This food is the gift of the whole universe—the earth, the sky, and much hard work.

May we live in a way that makes us worthy to receive it.

May we transform our unskillful states of mind, especially our greed.

May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.

We accept this food so that we may realize the path of practice.

May you, your family, your friends, your neighbors and my neighbors, our country, the nations of the world, the creatures and plants of this beautiful world—may all beings everywhere—be happy, satisfied, and safe!  Steve

About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

6 Responses to “How Buddhists Give Thanks at Meals”

  1. Thanksgiving Day, 2012:

    Thanks, I will use this today

    Guy C. Lamunyon
    Swami D. Sagari

  2. Kap is used as a suffix to any sentence when the speaker is a male (regardless of whether you are speaking to male or female
    Ka is used as a suffix to a sentence when spoken by a female (also regardless of who she is speaking to)
    It is a form of politeness and is derived from the old Thai “Khor Rap” (K minus “hor” plus “rap” = Krap) – which means “beg to serve”
    k – hor + rap = krap
    it is synonymous with our use of “sir” or “ma’am” in English (i agree sir, i agree ma’am) – however it does not mean sir or ma’am, rather is nowadays a simple polite abstraction

  3. You are most welcome! What you say is so true, and it is indeed the happiest and best way to live.

    Best wishes,

    • Just visited your wonderful web site, and enjoyed your explanation of Thai greetings. I had learned the “Sawadee” from some Thai friends at a restaurant in Boston that I was a regular visitor at. They explained the “kap” and “ka” too, and I used “ka” when addressing a woman, and “kap” for a man. But after reading your site, I’m not sure I got this right. You say:

      Kap And Ka
      “Adding the word sir or ma’am in English gives it a polite touch. The Thai language works the same way. Adding “kap” or “ka” at the end of any word, phrase, or sentence makes for politeness.

      Pronouncing Kap & Ka
      Males use Kap while females use Ka…

      When you say “males use kap” do you mean that a male uses “kap” whether he is addressing male or female….that is, “kap” is what a male uses…or do you mean that when addressing a male, “kap” is used, and when addressing a female “ka” is used, without regard to the gender of the speaker?

      Thanks for any clarification you might have to offer. I have long wanted to go to Thailand, and so really enjoyed your site. I’ve bookmarked it for “someday.” 🙂

  4. Thanks for the nice grace you shared.

    I also believe that “Loving kindness” makes this world a beautiful place to live in.

    The positive energy we share with others attracts similar thing in return. When we send our goodwill to others, it’s very likely that others return their friendship to us… Only the ones who’re not mindful won’t recognize our good intention.

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