Without fail, the meal gong is struck precisely at 7:15 am for breakfast and 1:00 pm for lunch. Ready or no, the head cook must strike the gong at these times and serve whatever is prepared.
But sometimes it can be difficult to stay in the moment. Sitting in the Zendo, wanting the sitting meditation to end, and knowing that the end will bring a delicious meal projects us into the future. At other times, though when we are lost in the moment, the faraway sound of the meal gong announcing the imminent meal is a sweet and gentle reminder that it can go on.
(Excerpt from 3 Bowls….)
Each of the formal meals at the monastery is conducted in a mere half hour……………..
No time to dawdle, no need to talk. Mealtime is about “just eating”. But in the same way that “just sitting” involves more, such as correct posture, breathing, and concentration, “just eating” is about more than just eating. It is about gratitude, mindfulness, and bringing one’s awareness to the big picture-where the food comes from, why we’re all here, and what our common purpose is. ..Myochi