I was introduced to the use of oryoki in the late 1960’s, when I first started Zen practice. As my experience with the practice grew over the next few years, I was touched by the significance of this attentive, spiritual way of taking meals, of how it brought to life the deepest meaning of our simplest, so-called ordinary activities. In those early days of Zen in the West, learning to use oryoki was difficult for newcomers: there were no user manuals or written instructions. I was inspired to change that. In 1974, with technical assistance from Kobun Chino and artwork provided by Hathaway Gamble – an early student at Kannon Do – I created the oryoki book. In order to make it available to the growing population of Zen students, Kannon Do printed a ready supply which we kept in the attic. As individuals learned of the book’s availability, we mailed hard copies on request, at no cost except for postage. Those trips to the post office are no longer necessary. The oryoki book is available here, to be downloaded and printed or kept as a reference. I hope you find it useful and meaningful.
– Les Kaye
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This pamphlet describes the oryoki, a Zen student’s eating bowls. The use of oryoki during sesshin provides an opportunity for us to deepen our practice. Paying careful attention to the way in which we take our meals, our true relationship between ourselves and our food is made clear. Emphasizing each simple activity, we continually learn our way.
The sangha of Kannon Do offers this pamphlet to all practicing students. We hope you will find it useful. Feel free to reproduce as many copies as you need.
Further instructions can be found in Dogen’s Fushukuhanpo.