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Monday, February 13, 2012

DAY 15: BOWLS OF COMPASSION

Day 15: the Art of the day is compassion...
Hot and Sour Soup with tofu, mushrooms, and carrots.


Every January, I ask myself if I would like to stick with my current vegetarian preference when it comes to food choices.  2012, was no different.  I decided that I would continue letting tofu be my best friend at meal time.  I just wasn't the best at cooking it though so I usually only ate/ordered it from a restaurant.


The remedy?  A vegetarian cooking class at a Buddhist Monastery with monks who would not allow me to take more pictures.  Hence, this single photo...


I went to the class yesterday with the sole intention of learning to cook and season tofu like a Monk Master.  What I did not anticipate learning was the ART OF COMPASSION from a bowl of all things.  


One of the five precepts (think oaths or vows) is not to kill whether that be directly or indirectly.  I was familiar with this vow from growing up in church and my meditation retreat last year.  I must have been in some super deep meditation when the link between this vow and compassion was taught.  


While stir frying the tofu and julienned vegetables in the wok, it was explained that we can express compassion to animals by choosing to put tofu and veggies in our bowls instead of meat.   I had most of the dishes before from previous visits but this food for some reason was much tastier than expected.  


Could it be the sesame oil or was it the sprinkle of enlightenment added just before serving?  I didn't even want to use the fork because it required me to stab my food.  However, as hungry as I was, the chopsticks just weren't moving to my mouth fast enough so I had to draw the line somewhere. 


After eating, we were asked to pour hot water in our bowls, swish it around and drink the contents so as not to waste even the sauce.  I tried it and it wasn't bad but I probably will not do that at home.  Just to be sure I am not even tempted to make "residue soup," I will be eating the majority of my meals on plates.


Who knew, what initially was a selfish choice would evolve into the practice of compassion plate by plate (and bowl by bowl when in the presence of monks)?!













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