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Oryoki (Formal Eating Bowl Procedure):


After you hear the clappers stand in gassho until the jikido announces ?Prepare for Oryoki practice?, then file out to get your bowls. Upon returning to the zendo hold the bowls at eye level and stand in front of your cushion. Bow when clappers sound, then sit down and get settled. Place the wrapped bowls in front of you. When you hear the clappers we recite together:

As we open our eating bowls, may we and all existence be relieved from self clinging.

Bow after clappers sound and unwrap your bowls. Use both hands whenever possible.

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First unfold the napkin, smooth out the wrinkles and fold in all four corners so you end up having a rectangular area. Arrange the bowls so the largest bowl is on the left side and the smallest on the right. Place chopsticks below the left bowl with the points facing right. Place the spoon under the chopsticks facing right. Place the spatula between the middle and the right bowl, pointing down. Cover your knees with the napkin. The wiping cloth and the utensil holder should be out of sight, either under the knee-covering napkin or under the zabutan.

The server enters the zendo. After serving the teacher, he stands between the two people closest to the altar, who place their hands in gassho. All three bow together. The server kneels. Those receiving food each pick up their left bowl in unison. The person closer to the altar is served first. The person waiting to be served holds the bowl with two hands on the left knee. The person being served holds the bowl over the server`s bowl and receives food. To signal enough, hold the bowl with one hand and hold the other hand palm up. Raise your hand slightly to signal enough. The first person served then sets the bowl down and places hands in gassho as the second person is served. Second person after being served puts bowl down and hands in gassho. All bow together hands in gassho as the server leaves and moves on to the next pair. Hands are in shashu as others are served. The server receives food last. When everyone is settled the jikido recites:

This food comes from the efforts of many workers, past and present, and its ten advantages give us health and well being and promote pure practice. We offer this meal of three qualities and six tastes to everyone everywhere and to all the life of the universe.

After clappers sound all recite together:

First, seventy-two labors brought us this food, we should know how it comes to us.
Second, as we receive this offering, we should seek to understand its true nature.
Third, as we desire the natural order of our minds to be free from clinging, we must be aware of our greed.
Fourth, to support out life, we take this food.
Fifth, to attain the Way we take this food.

After the clappers sound, put your hands in shashu, then make a seated bow. Place the spoon in the left bowl in 12 o`clock position. Place the chopsticks across the middle bowl at 10 and 4 o`clock, with tips pointing to 4 o`clock. Hands in shashu.

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Recite together:

The first portion is for the Three Treasures.
The second is for our teachers and parents.
The third is for all nations and all beings.
Thus we eat this food with everyone.
We eat to stop all harming, to practice serving,
and to accomplish the Awakened Way.

Eat the meal quietly and attentively. Be aware of the pace around you so all finish approximately at the same time. Return spoon and chopsticks to their bowl positions (like before the last recital).

When the jikido sees that everyone is finished, she will begin cleaning her chopsticks as a signal for all to begin cleaning their utensils and bowls.

Pick up the chopsticks, clean them with your mouth using one hand as a shield in front of your mouth (if you haven`t used them, just bow over them briefly and put them aside). Place chopsticks under the right bowl, pointing left. Pick up the spatula and put it in the left bowl as you take the spoon from the same bowl. Clean the spoon with your mouth and place it below the chopsticks, pointing left, eating surface down. Scrape the bowls with the spatula and clean it with your mouth as the chopsticks and spoon and return it to the 12 o`clock position in the left bowl.

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The server gets water and serves it the same way as the food, except:
Hold the spatula in one hand and the left bowl in the other. Raise the spatula slightly to signal enough. Hold the bowl on your left leg while your partner is receiving water. Both bow to the server, then clean the left bowl with the spatula. Rinse the left bowl to clean it and pour the water in the middle bowl. Dry the left bowl with the cloth.

Clean the utensils in the middle bowl. Clean the spoon first, then the chopsticks. Dry the utensils and put them back in the cloth holder. Clean and dry the middle bowl and stack it in the first bowl When the right bowl is clean, dry the spatula and put it in the cloth holder. If you wish, you can drink the water. Place the bowl-cleaning cloth in the stack of dry bowls.

The server enters with the water collection bowl. After the clappers sound, we recite together:

The water with which I wash these bowls tastes like ambrosia.
I offer it for a peaceful life for all beings.
May we appreciate our life together.

Wait with your hands in shashu for the server. Bow to the server as before and pour the water toward yourself into the server`s bowl. Hold one hand over the pouring water so it doesn`t splash. Then place the bowl on your left leg until your partner is finished. Dry the bowl and put the wiping cloth in the bowl. Wipe crumbs off your mat and put the bowls in the center. Unfold the mat. Bring the top corner over the bowls and fold point back. Bring the bottom corner up over the bowls and fold the point toward you. Place the folded lap napkin on the top, then the utensil holder, then the wiping cloth and bring up the two sides of the mat. Tie it twice folding one point under and one point sticking up.

When everyone is finished, the clappers sound and with hands in gassho all recite together:

May we exist like a lotus flower at home in muddy water. Thus we bow to life as it is.

Two claps, and seated bow. Stand. After you hear the clappers return your bowls, then return to the zendo, hands in gassho. After you hear two claps, bow standing.