Buddhist Guide for Healthy Eating
With eating disorders on the rise and obesity a national epidemic, these sane guidelines may bring healing and serenity to our issues around food. Our prescription: avoid trans fats and refined products, and read these thoughts from a great Buddhist teacher.
It is important to enjoy good, healthy food and drink in moderate quantity. Food should be consumed not in a vain attempt to fill emotional desires but in accord with your actual physical needs. See the food you eat as sustaining and nourishing, and enjoy it by being mindful of every taste you take. Try to be aware of the process of each sip of liquid and bite of food, and consciously follow the food’s movements in your body as far as you can. Feel that the food and drink are not only satisfying your hunger and thirst, but also generating health in your body and mind. Wish the same enjoyment for all beings. Appreciate and be thankful for the pleasure of every sip and bite you take.
A number of Buddhist trainings treat food as the means of healing. For example, imagine that blessing lights from the source of power transform the food into healing nectar. Then enjoy it as a blessed substance that grants you joy and strength.
Or, as you enjoy the food, think: “This food is giving me strength to enhance my own life and serve others.”
Or think of the food as a pure and wonderful gift, and offer it to the source of power. Visualize the source of power accepting the offering with pleasure and blessing it for your benefit in return. Then enjoy the food with awareness that it is blessed. This training combines devotion with practices of generosity and pure perception.
Or, with compassion for the innumerable beings who live in your body in the form of bacteria, enjoy the food, knowing that it will sustain them too.
Or, with pure perception, visualize yourself in the form of a deity, or even as an assembly of hundreds of deities. Enjoy the food as a blessed offering, a skillful means of wisdom, that brings the realization of peace and bliss.
Adapted from The Power of Mind, by Tulku Thondup (Shambhala, 1996). Copyright (c) 1996 by Tulku Thondup. Reprinted by permission of Shambhala.
Adapted from The Power of Mind, by Tulku Thondup (Shambhala, 1996).