Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 05/13/2011

Nekkhamma and a Meal Gatha

I’ve recently undertaken the practice of eating only two meals a day which may not sound like much but is proving to be very fruitful. It is truly amazing just how much I have used food both formerly and now as an intoxicant; eating when worried, bored or simply when I felt I should be hungry. In addition to the physical sensations produced by fasting (or semi-fasting) I notice that I drop quite easily into a space of reverence which is perhaps the result of observing so many uposathas and 4 consecutive Ramadhans.  I’m still a bit fuzzy on the logic of it but it feels as if there is a quietening of the mind when fasting t hat is conducive to contemplative practice.

So, having fasted since 5AM when I ate a small breakfast of granola and soy milk I found myself looking for a way to mark the breaking of my fast and to reflect on the meal that was to come. I realized as I was stepping on the E-train on my way home that I didn’t want to just drop my restraint haphazardly and glut myself in a feast of heedlessness. Rather, I wanted to calmly, mindfully prepare my meal and reflect on the real nature of food and eating.  I quickly Googled using Google Saffron (a Theravada search engine) and came up with a meal blessing used (I assume it is since it was on their site) by the Sangha at Birken Monastery. I have changed some of the wording to reflect its use by a householder but other than that it is the same. I hope to use it before every meal and will be interested to see what results. Rakkhantu sabba devata!

Mindfully reflecting, I take this food

Not for fun, not for intoxication, not for beautification,

Only for the maintenance of the body,

For living the a life in accord with the Dhamma

Relieving feelings of hunger,

Not inducing new feelings of discomfort from overeating.

The food is made of mere elements devoid of self

Just as the body is made of mere elements devoid of self.

Four things return to one who gives food:

Long life, strength, beauty, happiness.


  1. Cool. Thanks for this one. Can you please also post the link to the original version? Thanks 🙂

    • I wish I could remember where I found it but will continue to look for you. I will post it here when I find it. I do remember that I modified it slightly but not enough to render it unitelligible. Mettaya!

  2. This was a no-brainer. Just saffroned “birken blessings meal” and there it is.
    handouts-page :
    direct link :×2.pdf

    Thank you and have a nice day 🙂

  3. And if you don’t want to recite it alone, there you go : Meal Blessing At least I have found it helpfull to take the three refuges and basic precepts with a recording of an ordained teacher. Feeling more ‘connected’ afterwards 🙂

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