I had another post planned for today, but it is not quite ready, and besides, I forgot that today is Thanksgiving. For those readers outside of the United States, Thanksgiving is the one day that Americans dedicate to overeating and watching a lot of football. It’s not the only day we do this, but it does seem to be the primary focus of the holiday in this modern age. It also officially begins the dreaded Christmas marketing blitz.
Thanksgiving has always been about food. In olden times, it was a harvest festival. Of course, the origin of this celebration in the US is said to have occurred at the Plymouth Plantation, in Massachusetts, in 1621, when the Pilgrims shared food with the Wampanoag Indian tribe. I don’t believe that turkey was on the menu at that first Thanksgiving, but somehow the bird has become synonymous with the holiday, and many people do refer to today as Turkey Day.
Since eating is such a salient aspect of Thanksgiving, let me present to you five apropos gathas (verses) by Thich Nhat Hanh:
In this food I see clearly the presence of the entire universe supporting my existence.
Looking at the Filled Plate
All living beings are struggling for life. May they all have enough food to eat today.
Just Before Eating
The plate is filled with food. I am aware that each morsel is the fruit of much hard work by those who produced it.
Beginning to Eat
With the first taste, I promise to practice loving kindness. With the second, I promise to relieve the suffering of others. With the third, I promise to see others’ joy as my own. With the fourth, I promise to learn the way of non-attachment and equanimity.
Finishing the Meal
The plate is empty. My hunger is satisfied. I vow to live for the benefit of all beings.
May you all be happy and well on this and every day.