Jin Chuan Shi

Jinchuan Shi is a Buddhist monk that currently resides in Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. He received a B.S. in Physics and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Stanford University.  After spending twenty years growing up in the Bay Area, he moved to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (a Buddhist community with K-12 schools, university, monastery, and nunnery) to pursue his monastic aspirations. As an Asian-American following Chinese Buddhist practices, his everyday life is a constant bridging of traditional Chinese and modern Western values.

Abstract

Food in Chinese Buddhism: Eating as a Contemplative Practice

At a Chinese Buddhist monastery, meals are eaten in silence while reflecting on the Five Contemplations--a practice which transforms the mundane experience of eating into a spiritual practice. The food, which people offer from the generosity of their hearts, is eaten mindfully, with an awareness of the place is occupies in the interconnected web of karmic existence. The contemplations foster a sense of

gratitude and contentment while at the same time inviting self-reflection. Rather than seeking after the flavors contained in food, practitioners view food as sustenance for the body, as a source of energy to cultivate the Dao. Eating, then, nourishes not only the body but also the mind and spirit. The practice of reflecting on the Five Contemplations is not limited to the monastery, but is a practice that anyone can use in their daily life to find greater meaning in the experience of eating a meal.