Wednesday, November 21

For the traveler today
Among the Zen parables, one koan is called "Just Drinking Tea". Tea represents Zen spirit: he who tastes it tastes Zen.

Hot plum tea is offered to a visitor arriving from afar. Honey and sugar are dissolved in hot water and a pickled plum with the seed removed is proffered between the points of chopsticks. The visitor first steeps the plum briefly in the honey water. He then removes and eats it before drinking the tea. The sourness of the plum and the sweetness of the tea relieve the fatigue of the journey.

For the cook today
The three spirits of zen cooking -
First, the heart of pleasure.
Second, the heart of kindness.
Third, it's a big deep heart.
Pay attention to everything.

These are Dogen's three spirits of zen cooking. The happy spirit feels joy and gratitude at the privilege of being assigned the worthy task of cooking, an opportunity to follow the true way. The venerable spirit calls upon a kind heart in the pursuit of food that will please the diner. The great spirit does not flinch from the smallest detail and offers unwavering help in the unshakable quest for improvement.

For all of us today
"Taste as much of this as you can. Swallow what you need and spit out the rest."
 - Taizan Maezumi

  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov