US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Day 34. Thich Nhat Hanh: Mindful consumption

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Each day of Lent (minus Sundays) we'll bring you words of wisdom from spiritual guides.

34. Thich Nhat Hanh: Mindful consumption
The Buddha said that we cannot only talk about doing what is beneficial, we have to put it into practice. By practicing [the Five Mindfulness Trainings], we gain more awareness of the suffering caused by the violence in our thoughts, words, and actions. . . .


The Fifth Mindfulness Training is mindful consumption: Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society.

I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest food or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations.

I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing mindful eating for myself and for society. (Creating True Peace, Free Press)

Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and world-renowned writer, poet, and scholar.

Find spiritual advice for Lent from other guides in 40 days to a new you.