Recently I started to try to present foods to buddhas before I eat them. First I give thanks to God, mother earth Gia, all elementals, all people involved, all beings involved for the wonderful foods. I pray that everything we eat, drink, use today be filled with God's love and light. Then I invite buddhas and buddhisattvas to taste the foods first. The ritual takes less than a minute. However, gradually I find that my diet quality is greatly improved through this practice.
When we invite buddhas and buddhisattvas to share foods with us, we have to first make sure that the foods are high quality. What are high quality foods? Here are my thoughts
1. They have to be vegan.
All buddhas and buddhisattvas are merciful towards all beings. If we present animal corpses as foods, they are really incompatible with the merciful vibrancies of buddhas and buddhisattvas. Instead fresh vegetables, fruits, and cereals are much better choices.
2. They have to be fresh.
We cannot give rotten or corrupt foods to ourselves, others, not to mention buddhas and buddhisattvas.
3. They have to be alcohol free.
Many ready-made packed foods in the supermarkets contain alcohol. So they are not fit to be presented to buddhas and buddhisattvas, who are enlightened beings. If alcohol is unfit for buddhas and buddhisattvas, then I should not take it as well, whether from bottles, or from other sources.
4. They have to be non junk foods.
I feel that junk foods are also not suitable. I come to realize that if I cannot present junk foods to buddhas and buddhisattvas, can I really eat them myself? So I start to quit junk foods, as well.
5. They have to prepared and presented with mercy.
When we present foods to buddhas and buddhisattvas, we cannot help thinking about beings who lack foods. If possible, we need to give foods and drinks to them as well. We need to thank all for giving us the wonderful foods.
During the ritual, I have a chance to slow down, and review the quality of the foods which I present. I come to realize how I have been feeding myself lots of unhealthy foods in the past. I also learn to be thankful and merciful towards all beings.
The Buddha encourages us to present foods to buddhas and buddhisattvas. I realize what he truly meant is for us to eat healthily and with thankfulness.