Wisconsin Public Radio has been highlighting the unprecedented numbers of people turning to food pantries to avoid hunger. (Please see Feeding America and local Second Harvest of Southern Wisconsin for details.) I am reminded, especially when I feel my girth, of the many years I ate only between dawn and noon. For a Buddhist monastic that was standard practice, at least in Thailand. I also believe there were health benefits as long as I ate wisely.
Now, in solidarity with the many millions of Americans and hundreds of millions around the world who go to bed hungry and wake up hungry, I will return to a scaled down version of that practice. If others are going to bed hungry, despite working hard at poorly paying jobs, I can at least give up the late night snacks that have put on weight for no healthy purpose. And I can channel the money left over into donations to local food banks and pantries.
Our own Monroe County is one of Wisconsin’s poorest counties, so Liberation Park is looking at ways to increase our donations to local food programs and other creative means — perhaps a community garden — to help bring food security to our neighbors in need.
Further, we challenge our Dhamma friends to explore their own relations with and around food. Following the nets of relationship will link food not only with poverty and health, but also land use practices, industrial food production and processing, obesity advertising, subsidies and lobbying, lousy health care, failing schools, and even incarceration rates.
Food security turns out to be central to Sangha on all levels.
Eat mindfully, eat wisely, eat compassionately.