Present Online


Inspiring personal stories, and practical guidance for navigating life’s challenges with mindfulness and compassion.

Present Online


Inspiring personal stories, and practical guidance for navigating life’s challenges with mindfulness and compassion.

Present Online


Inspiring personal stories, and practical guidance for navigating life’s challenges with mindfulness and compassion.

You Are What You Eat
MQ34 dharma teaching2
January 31, 2024
Vol 34
By Venerable Shi Fa Qian
Translated by To Kuo Ling


You Are What You Eat
Staying in a state of mindfulness and contemplating about food can serve as a kind of training: strengthening right knowledge, and also as a form of food dana.

There is a western saying, “You Are What You Eat”, this means that food can reflect a person's personality and living environment, including these three aspects of thinking:

First, on the narrow aspect of edible food: the food that we intake is vital for good health. Nowadays, health care products are popular, reflecting people's focus on physical health. Less oil, less salt, less sugar, eating smaller portions, all these reduce the burden of the digestive system, leaving more time for the intestine to rejuvenate to facilitate the body’s detoxification.

Second, in the broader sense of mental health which refers to the sensory impression of food: what we see, hear, think, and even smell, taste, touch, the "sensory impression" of food in our minds, what do we feed on? Does it enhance or destroy mental health?

Do the articles we see and read feed the power of mental stability and peace, or feed the seeds of fear and anger in us?

Is the information and music we listen to feeding our mind to be good and improve ourselves, or are we allowing ourselves to be buried by biased and false information? Or do they feed the seeds of greed, desire, sadness, decadence, and violence?

Is what we are thinking the macro view, not forgetting our original intention, to benefit oneself and others, feeding a positive world view, outlook on life and values? Or are we thinking about selfishness, thinking about how to satisfy our primal instincts and desires in our life.

When consuming these "foods", we have these sensory impressions, and if we do not remain mindful and refrain from, or avoid the "toxins", we and our children will unknowingly feed on violence, hatred, desire and despair, and our living environment will suffer the consequences. We can see that the world today is full of suffering.

Therefore, we have to pay more attention to the choice of sensory impression of food for our mental health, because the prettily wrapped poison of modern civilization is difficult to detect and resist.

Third, from the point of practice: the dining place in the Buddhist ashram is called the Hall of Abstinence, also known as the Hall of Five Contemplations. Before meals, we should meditate on the "Five Contemplations At Mealtimes".

Consider the amount of work for this amount of food: contemplate how much effort it takes to bring this food to the table. Food doesn't come easily! Be thankful.

Consider if our virtuous conduct is complete or incomplete to receive this food offering: contemplate our virtues, reflect on whether we deserve to enjoy the food. Be humble.

Guard the mind to depart from faults, with greed etc as principal cause: when enjoying the food, be vigilant against the rising of mental defilements: greed when the food is tasty; aversion when the food is not tasty; ignorance, eating without tasting or being distracted, using mobile phones or newspapers as a side dish, and using work and meetings as garnish. Be vigilant.

Food and drinks should be regarded as essential regular medication, for healing the recurring disease of hunger and thirst: eat to survive, the focus is to have sufficient nutrition for our health. Hunger is like a disease and food is the right medicine for this disease. Be mindful of self-healing.

Only for accomplishing the path [to enlightenment], should we receive this food: eating (inclusive of drinking, excreting, urinating, sleeping, breathing) is for the purpose of achieving enlightenment, we should not only nourish our rūpa (body), but also our dhamma-kāya (dharma body). Be disciplined and engage in self-cultivation.

From the instinct to eat, then developing into the understanding of nourishing of rūpa (body), dhamma-kāya (dharma body) and mind, which gives a deeper meaning to the phrase "you are what you eat", and thus better understand the requirements of spiritual nourishment – the joy of meditation as food, the bliss of the dharma as food, vows as food, mindfulness as food, liberation as food.

西方谚语You are what you eat=人如其食,这是指饮食可以反映一个人的性格与生活的环境,包括三方面的 思考:

一,从狭义直观指可吃的食物:我们吃进身体的食物,对身体健康很重要。现今保健品大行其道,反映了人 们对身体健康的重视。少油、少盐、少糖,少量,减轻消化系统的负担,多空肠的时间方便身体排毒。

二,从广义心灵健康指感官印象的食物,我们所看、所听、所想,甚至所嗅、所尝、所触的心灵“感官印 象”的食物,到底喂养了什么?是增进还是戕害心灵健康?

所看、所阅读的文章,是喂养心灵稳定、平和的力量,还是喂养我们身上恐惧和愤怒的种子? 所听的资讯、音乐,是喂养心灵向上向善的谆谆教诲,还是允许自己被偏颇虚假的讯息所掩盖?还是喂养了 贪婪渴望、悲伤颓废和暴力加害的种子?

所思考的是宏观,莫忘初衷,自利利他,喂养的是积极正向的世界观、人生观和价值观,还是自私自利,所 想的是如何满足我们的动物性欲望驱动的生活。

在消费这些“食品”时,我们对这些感官印象,如果没有保持正念,没有克制而避开“毒素”,我们和我们的小 孩,在不知不觉中喂养了暴力、嗔恨、欲望和绝望,我们的生活环境将承受到恶果。今日的世界,处处可见 带给大家的苦难。

因此,我们得花更多心思在选择心灵健康感官印象的食物,因为在现代文明包裹下的漂亮毒糖,是难于觉察 和抗拒的。




防心离过,贪等为宗:在享用的过程中,警觉烦恼心的生起:贪,好吃的多吃;嗔,不好吃的排斥;痴,食 不知味或心不在焉,把手机、报章当配菜,把工作、会议当佐料。要心存警惕。

正食良药,为疗形枯:为活着而吃,重点在吃得营养健康,饥饿就如是病,吃只是对症下药。要心存自愈。 为成道业,应受此食:吃(也包括喝、拉、撒、睡、呼吸),是为了成就道业,让心与解脱相应,不但滋养 色身,更是要滋养法身。要心存自律、自救。

从民以食为天的本能中,提升到对滋养色身和法身心灵的了解,这让“人如其食” 有更深的底蕴,也就更能了 解禅悦食、法喜食、愿食、念食、解脱食的要求了。

分享 Share

分享 Share

Follow Us On:

Follow Us On:

Follow Us On:

Follow Us On:

法梁法师 - 禅门浴自性佛

About the Instructor

  • 哈达瑜伽 - 美国瑜伽专业联盟200小时认证教师
    Hatha Yoga Teacher 200-hr Yoga Alliance

  • 哈达流动瑜伽 - 英国瑜伽专业联盟200小时认证教师
    Hatha Yoga Flow Teacher 200-hr Yoga Alliance

  • 10余年阴阳瑜伽和舞蹈疗法研习
    Yin Yang Yoga and Freeform Dance-Play Exploration

  • Breadthwork疗法和禅修指导
    Breathwork Therapy and Meditation

  • 6年从事禅法结合瑜伽的教学工作
    Engaged in teaching work combining Zen and yoga for 6 years