Oryoki: Zen-style mindful dining. [Dathun, Buddhism, Shambhala Mountain Center, Reggie Ray, Karme Choling, video]

Via Waylon Lewis
on Dec 24, 2008
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The meditation practice of Dining, Zen-style:

I’ve done two Dathuns—month long silent (mostly) meditation retreats in the Buddhist tradition. The first one, I did when I was 16—just out of high school—and it was all I could do not to go crazy from boredom. By the second, I’d grown up a bit, and knew that it’s trying to always get away from boredom, always trying to fill the space that keeps one crazy. At both, we practiced oryoki—Zen-style dining. The portions were small, so I usually ran to the kitchen afterward to eat three more courses (when I was a young punk my feats of eating were prodigious—I ate nine meals, including snacks, a day when I was 17—I ate a dozen doughnuts all at once (try it)…I was a big and getting bigger pig. These days, all growns up, I can eat like a (huge) bird and get away with it. Anyway…oryoki.

I first remember learning in back in, like, ’85 at Shambhala Mountain Center, then known at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. The idea was to practice mindfulness of the present moment 14/7…whenever we were awake. It’s actually quite fun—and social—you sit in rows and giggle and ogle and wink and nod and eat. You also…ugh…clean your own dishes by getting hot water poured in ’em…and drinking the leftover soupiness.

Here’s an instructional video, via Robin Rieck:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


8 Responses to “Oryoki: Zen-style mindful dining. [Dathun, Buddhism, Shambhala Mountain Center, Reggie Ray, Karme Choling, video]”

  1. […] responsibility. A forceful, remarkable teacher of Buddhism, I still remember sitting in a room in Karme Choling with my best Dharma Brat buddy, Noel McLellan, our jaws dropping as the Regent cut off a […]

  2. […] reminiscences? Blog? Photos? Video? Let us know, we’ll be happy to include ‘em […]

  3. […] feel crazy. It was Wednesday, and we’d already been oriented and trained in the traditional oryoki mealtime ritual. We were settled into our dorm rooms (in my case a mattress and sleeping bag by the shrine room […]

  4. […] up in Halifax—and through Buddhist slash Canadian comedic star Cathy Jones (who I’d done a Dathun with, at Karme Choling in Vermont, way back in…1992?), I got to take a girlfriend (or some […]

  5. […] doing through mindfulness training! Mindfulness meditation practice? Too obvious. Mindful dining? Booooring. Mindful flower arranging? Old school. Mindful archery? Better, […]

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  7. […] I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, the Western “capitol” of Buddhism, back in the day. I moved at the age of 13 or 14 to Karme Choling, a Buddhist practice center where I lived for the next four or five years. During college in Boston, I half-lived at the Shambhala Meditation Center, where I served on the board as Rusung, and frequently visited Shambhala Mountain Center and Karme Choling to do various Buddhist programs, including four seminaries, and two or three dathuns. […]

  8. […] Shambhala Centers in every city to rural meditation retreats, to the Dorje Kasung service organization (kinda like…grown-up Buddhist Boy/Girl Scouts, […]