Accepting what is given ...

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( Dogen's Instructions for the Cook - VII )

Cheerfully accepting what one is handed ...

... yet sincerely and carefully doing one's best to make it good

Before the noon meal, the tenzo conducts a service in the kitchen for Soko Shinsai, a Chinese folk deity and the guardian spirit of the oven who came to be enshrined in Chinese Zen temples, later brought to Japan.)


When you have finished, think about the ingredients for the next day's meals. First, pick over the rice. If there are any insects, green beans, hulls or pebbles, carefully pick them out. While picking over the rice and vegetables, the postulants should chant sutras and dedicate the merit to the kitchen god. ** Next, select the ingredients for the vegetables and soup and cook them. Do not argue with the store officers over the amount of ingredients you have received. Without worrying about their quality, simply make the best of what you have. It is prohibited to show your feelings or say anything about the amount of ingredients.

From: Tenzo Kyokun - Instructions for the Cook by Eihei Dogen - Translated by Griffith Foulk

(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

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