Monday, September 01, 2008

This is for the 72 labours

We have been enjoying all the typical fun of Labour Day weekend - or I suppose I should say, as they do in the US - Labor Day weekend: the requisite BBQs and get togethers and even, later this morning, a visit to the beach (Rock, Rock, Rockaway Beach).

But of course there is more to consider. We in the West are often so far away from the labours that bring us our goods and so it seems worthy to take a moment to remember the work that people put in to keep us in clothing and shoes and furniture and computers and even, yes, fleece and yarn.

Here is one of my favourite gathas especially because of that very first line about the 72 labours. The first time I heard it, I thought "at last! someone is remembering the people who actually work to bring the food to the table and the meal into being!" I try to incorporate into our meal times at home but I usually get rolled eyes and heavy sighs from certain two hungry people sitting with me, so I have to just think it silently to myself.

Here it is for you - I hope you enjoy it and enjoy your respite from your usual labours today!

First, seventy-two labors brought us this food, we should know how it comes to us.
Second, as we receive this offering, we should consider whether our virtue and practice deserve it.
Third, as we desire the natural order of mind to be free from clinging, we must be free from greed.
Fourth, to support our life we take this food.
Fifth, to attain our way we take this food.
First, this food is for the three treasures.
Second, it is for our teachers, parents, nation, and all sentient beings.
Third, it is for all beings in the six worlds.
Thus we eat this food with everyone
We eat to stop all evil
To practice good
To save all sentient beings
And to accomplish our Buddha Way.

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