At all times, we should ask ourselves, “Why am I here? What is my goal in life?” “I am here to learn from Buddha to benefit all beings. In order to achieve this goal, I must use this body; to maintain this body, I must eat.” Therefore, as a practitioner, taking meals is an important course in our practice. We should not be greedy for the foods we like, or care too much about our diet. We should remember we eat this food so we can eventually help all beings. To help us complete this practice, there are five points to contemplate:
1. Where did this food come from? To whom should I feel grateful for this meal? The foods we have are hard-earned.
2. Do I deserve this food? Have I done my duty as a practitioner?
3. Am I being greedy? Do I desire certain foods I like and reject other foods I dislike?
4. This food is necessary medicine for the body. I take it only to keep myself alive, and thus continue on with my practice.
5. For the sake of attaining Buddhahood, I receive this food.