Nina Pine, a Faiths Act Fellow of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, reflects on her decision to be a more mindful eater during the Thanksgiving season.
As a Buddhist and strict vegetarian who struggles with indulgent-foodie tendencies, I aspire to deepen my practice of mindful eating. Thầy Thích Nhất Hạnh teaches us to reflect on all the factors that have gone into our food’s creation. As I eat an apple, I must recognize the energy of the sun, earth, rain and the human labor that has gone into its creation. Everything that is non-apple is present in this apple. The entire universe is present in this apple.
Thầy Thích Nhất Hạnh teaches, “Many people in the world are hungry. When I hold a bowl of rice or a piece of bread, I know that I am fortunate, and I feel compassion for all those who have no food to eat and are without friends or family. This is a very deep practice. We do not need to go to a temple or a church in order to practice this. We can practice it right at our dinner table. Mindful eating can cultivate seeds of compassion and understanding that will strengthen us to do something to help hungry and lonely people to be nourished.”
I hope to strengthen my practice of mindful eating, and I believe this includes actively supporting those in my global human family who suffer from hunger.
The Buddha stated in the Dhammapada, “There is no fire like passion, no crime like hatred, no sorrow like separation, no sickness like hunger, and no joy like the joy of freedom.” As a Buddhist, I believe my liberation is directly tied to others, and that people cannot be fully free when caught in a cycle of poverty. The famine and drought in the Horn of Africa where 13.3 million people are in crisis, is therefore, one of grave Buddhist concern. As we are interconnected, it is crucial that I extend my loving kindness, voice, and efforts towards these communities.
Please join ONE this Thanksgiving season to raise your voice for those suffering in the Horn of Africa by signing the Feed the Future petition. Help us make this a season of mobilization for those experiencing famine by using ONE’s Interfaith Thanksgiving Guide to take action on the famine in your faith community. Visit the Faith @ ONE page to get started in joining ONE to end famine for good.
Nina Pine is a Faiths Act Fellow of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, working at the San Francisco Interfaith Council in California.