At New Life we try to live as mindfully and compassionately as possible. These sentiments extend to ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and family, within our community, and beyond. It also includes the non-human beings which share our planet, as well as our planet itself.
It’s a big part of the reason why we are striving to become a learning centre for sustainability and organic farming. And now, we’ve decided that one of the best ways to put the quality of compassion into practice is by becoming a vegetarian community.
On every table in the dining hall at New Life Foundation are the following five contemplations, in the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village, which capture the spirit of these practices:
- This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard and loving work.
- May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive this food.
- May we recognise and transform unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat with moderation.
- May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that reduces the suffering of living beings, stops contributing to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet.
- We accept this food so that we may nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, build our Sangha, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.
We’re really excited about taking our mindfulness practice to the next level as a community. Our cooks will soon go to Chiang Mai to train with Chef Duang of Brown Rice Organic Bistro, which is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Chiang Mai. Our diets will be supplemented by milk and eggs from our ethically (and lovingly) -cared for cows and ducks.
It’s all about being conscious, awake, and responsible for all our choices – including those related to what we eat.