Make copies and pass out to group to read aloud together before meal.
Over the full serving bowls of food, say:
In this food I see clearly
the presence of the entire universe
supporting my existence.
Looking into one’s own empty bowl, breathe in the suffering of all those whose bowls are empty while saying:
All living beings are struggling for life.
Breathe out while saying:
May they all have enough food
to eat today.
Food is served. Just before eating, see into the food and beyond the food to all the hands that brought it to you: the cooks, the grocery clerks, the truck drivers, the food processors, the farmers, etc., and hold them in gratitude and compassion while saying:
The plate is filled with food.
I am aware that each morsel
is the fruit
of much hard work
by those who produced it.
At the first mouthful, say:
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 nonattachment and equanimity.
After the meal, say:
The plate is empty.
My hunger is satisfied.
I vow to live for the benefit
of all living beings.