What happens when we treat the kitchen as a sacred space? When we handle each ingredient and utensil as a sacred object? When the activity of preparing a simple, nourishing meal is a creative activity, instead of a chore to get through? What happens when we extend this open, caring, yet unbiased mind to every activity of the day?
In the 13th century, Japanese Zen master Dogen wrote Instructions for the Tenzo, or head cook. In examining the manners and methods of preparing a meal at the Monastery, he reveals how to “cook”—or refine—your whole life. In one such instruction, he says to “take care of [the ingredients] as your own eyes.” In another: “When you boil rice, know that the water is your own life.” How do we cultivate the mind that cares as deeply for an“ordinary” object as it does for its very own eyes and life“ordinary” object as it does for its very own eyes and life?