Liturgy of Formal Lunch

lunch liturgy

(A pdf copy of this liturgy in Vietnamese and English is available: Formal Lunch Liturgy)

Making the Offering:
(The right hand held before the middle of the forehead forms the mudra of peace. The left hand holds up the bowl in front of the right hand.)

We offer this food to:
Buddha Vairocana of Essence,
Buddha Locana of Potentiality,
Buddha Shakyamuni of Manifestation,
Buddha Maitreya, yet to be born,
Buddha Amitabha in the Land of Great Happiness,
All the Buddhas in the Ten Directions and the Three Period of Times,
Bodhisattva Manjushri of Great Understanding,
Bodhisattva Samantabhadra of Great Action,
Bodhisattva Avalokita of Great Compassion,
Bodhisattva Mahasthama of Great Force,
All MahaBodhisattvas, Protectors of Dharma.
Maha Prajna Paramitas.

With The Three Qualities and the Six Tastes, we are offering to the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha and all beings. As we are eating, we practice so that the bliss of meditation and joy of dharma turn into the essential food.

The Advice to Eat Mindfully:
The Buddha advises us to be mindful while eating, so as to be worthy to receive the food we are eating. When you hear the sound of the bell, concentrate on the Five Contemplations.
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya

(Holding the bowl to the forehead level)
Holding the bowl which is full
I vow to help all sentient beings
Achieve their Path
So being worthy for this offering

Three vows: (In silence, one line for each spoon)
I vow to avoid any unwholesome actions.
I vow to cultivate wholesome actions.
I vow to purify my mind and to help all beings.

The Five Contemplations:
1. To realize how this food comes about and relates to innumerable efforts.
2. To assess our own virtues so as to be worthy to receive it.
3. To guard our mind against greed, hatred and delusion.
4. To realize foods only to nourish us and prevent illness.
5. We accept this food to achieve the path of understanding and love.

The Heart of The Prajnaparamita Sutra
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, while moving in the deep course of Perfect Understanding, shed light on the five skandhas and found them equally empty. After this penetration, he overcame ill-being.
Listen Shariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is not other than emptiness and emptiness is not other than form. The same is true with feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness.
Listen Shariputra, all dharma are marked with emptiness. They are neither produced nor destroyed, neither defiled nor immaculate, neither increasing nor decreasing.
Therefore, in emptiness there is neither form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor mental formation, nor consciousness. No eye, or ear, or nose, or tongue, or body, or mind. No form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind.
No realms of elements (from eyes to mind consciousness), no interdependent origins and no extinction of them (from ignorance to death and decay.) No ill-being, no cause of ill-being, no end of ill-being, and no path. No understanding, no attainment.
Because there is no attainment, the bodhisattvas, grounded in perfect understanding, find no obstacles for their minds. Having no obstacles, they overcome fear, liberating themselves forever from illusion and realising Perfect Nirvana. All Buddhas in the past, present and future, thanks to this Perfect Understanding, arrive at full, right and universal Enlightenment.
Therefore, one should know that Perfect Understanding is the highest mantra, the unequalled mantra, the destroyer of ill-being, the incorruptible truth. A mantra of prajna paramita should therefore be proclaimed:
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.

Dedications:
Having finished our meal, we are determined to live for the
benefit of all beings. May all beings wholly realize complete
awakening.

Paying gratitude:
We are grateful to those who contribute to our food; to the
makers of fabric and the tailors who bring us warmth and
comfort; to gracious people who care for us with medicine
and shelter; to our teacher who compassionately teaches us
the dharma.

May we share the merits arising from our practice with those
who generously make offerings.
May their faith in the Dharma be unshakable and their
merits increase.
May all beings, both living and deceased, accomplish the
Buddha Path.
Namo Shakyamunaye Buddhaya.