Meal Time: prayers, chants and meditations

March 5, 2011 Comments Off on Meal Time: prayers, chants and meditations

Meal Time: prayers, chants and meditations


Thay Nhat Hanh’s meal chant

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 realise the path of practice.

A Zen Meal Chant: Gokan-no-ge

There are several chants that are done before and after meals to express gratitude. Gokan-no-ge, the “Five
Reflections” or “Five Remembrances,” is from the Zen tradition.

First, let us reflect on our own work and the effort of those who brought us
this food.
Second, let us be aware of the quality of our deeds as we receive this meal.
Third, what is most essential is the practice of mindfulness, which helps us to transcend greed, anger and delusion.
Fourth, we appreciate this food which sustains the good health of our body and
Fifth, in order to continue our practice for all beings we accept this offering.

A Theravada Meal Chant

Theravada is the oldest school of Buddhism. This Theravada chant also is a

Wisely reflecting, I use this food not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening, not for beautification, but
only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it
healthy, for helping with the Spiritual Life;
Thinking thus, I will allay hunger without overeating, so that I may continue to live
blamelessly and at ease.

A Meal Chant From the Nichiren School

This Nichiren Buddhist chant reflects a more devotional approach to Buddhism.

The rays of the sun, moon and stars which nourish our bodies, and the five grains of the
earth which nurture our spirits are all the gifts of the Eternal Buddha.
Even a drop of water or a grain of rice is nothing but the result of
meritorious work and hard labor. May this meal help us to maintain the
health in body and mind, and to uphold the teachings of the Buddha to
repay the Four Favors, and to perform the pure conduct of serving
others. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Itadakimasu.

Gratitude and Reverence

Before his enlightenment, the historical Buddha weakened himself with fasting and other ascetic practices. Then a
young woman offered him a bowl of milk, which he drank. Strengthened,
he sat beneath a bodhi tree and began to meditate, and in this way he
realized enlightenment.

From a Buddhist perspective, eating is more than just taking in nourishment. It is an interaction
with the entire phenomenal universe. It is a gift given us through the
work of all beings. We vow to be worthy of the gift and work to benefit
others. Food is received and eaten with gratitude and reverence.



[1] Omannapurne, sadapurneshankara prana ballavegyana vairagya
siddhartambhiksham dehi cha parvati

Om, beloved mother nature, you are here on
our table as food. You are endlessly bountiful, benefactress of all. Grant us
health and strength, wisdom and dispassion, and help us share this with one and

brahma haviH brahmaagnau brahmaNaa hutam.h .

brahmaiva tena gantavyaM brahmakarmasamaadhinaa .
A process of
offering is Brahman, the oblation is Brahman, the instrument of offering is Brahman, the
fire to which the offering is made is also Brahman.  For such a one
who abides in
Brahman, by him alone Brahman is reached.

Source [also has a rm audio file]

अन्नपतेsन्नस्य नो देह्यनमीवस्य शुष्मिणः

प्र प्रदातारं तारिष ऊर्जं नो धेहि द्विपदे चतुष्पदे | |
– श्री आश्वलायन गृह्यसूत्र |


Om Annapate’nnasya no dehya’

Na-mee-vasya shushmina

Pra pra daataaram taarisha

Oorjan-no dhehi dwipade chatush-pade


O Lord, the  Giver of Food-Grains!

Grant us food that is nutritious and

free from disease.Take him across the ocean this world who gives food

to anyone in need. Inspire energy into all living creatures consuming

food. Source

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