Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tenzo kyokun: instructions for the cook

Just watched "How to Cook Your Life", the documentary on Ed Brown, Zen priest and cook, who first gained notoriety for his role as cook at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Big Sur.  Interesting.   According to Japanese Zen tradition, the head cook at a monastic community is known as the "tenzo", and his is considered to be one of six key positions in the community responsible for the spiritual awakening of the community members.  The following are some words of wisdom imparted to the cook:

"Strengthen your resolve and work whole-heartedly to surpass the monks of old and be even more thorough than those who have come before you. Do this by trying to make as fine a soup for a few cents as the ancients could make a coarse broth for the same amount."

Good advice, and timely in today's economy. Fine soup for a few cents, eh?   Let's see what I can cook up that fits the bill!  

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