Korean Temple Food
With Gratitude for Life and Prayers for Peace



Pre-meal Chant

Where has this food come from?
My virtues are so few that I am hardly worthy to receive it.
I will take it as medicine to get rid of greed in my mind and to maintain my
physical being in order to achieve enlightenment.

Barugongyang is a formal monastic meal in which people eat from a
"baru"(a wooden bowl). Rice, soup, side dish and water are each placed in a set of
four bowls in different sizes. Paring just right amount of food from salty side
dishes to go nicely with the rice can be a bit tricky to achieve. One must
carefully consider how much of rice and side dish to serve oneself so the
right amount of both foods can be eaten till the end. The key to baru-meal is
taking only what one needs.

Baru-meal is one of the most environment friendly ways of eating because it does
not produce any left-over. Even the water that everyone rinses off their baru
bowls with is clean. There is no room for bacteria to grow because the bowls are
washed immediately after each meal. The bowls and other utensils are disinfected
under the sun on a regular basis which is more sanitary than using wet towels
to dry excessive water.

Buddhist monastic meals are carried out in an orderly manner. They are an
important part of monastic practice. The meaning contained in barugongyang is
well represented in the verses chanted at each stage of the meal.

When your knees are frozen like ice, do not think about resting in warmth
When your stomach is pierced by pain of hunger, do not think of eating

Balsim suhaeng jang (An Essay on Arising the Aspiration for Enlishtenment),
by Wonhyo (617-686, Buddhist Master from the Silla period)