From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Korean temple food: Kindling for meditation

Fresh Mint    (Photo by Daniel J. Layton)
Whereas Korean lay cuisine can be an exercise in sensuality, Korean temple food can instead serve as “kindling for meditation.”

In a New York Times article titled “Jeong Kwan, the Philosopher Chef,” Buddhism takes center stage.  Kwan’s cooking has neither evolved from schools nor restaurant internships, but rather from ancient principles of spiritual life.

Kwan, a Buddhist nun who lives in a South Korean hermitage about four hours from Seoul, suspects that she’s been involved with cooking for many lifetimes. 

During this present life, Kwan “was making noodles by hand” at age seven.  She grew up on a farm, but “officially joined an order of Zen nuns” when only 19.  Not too long afterwards, Kwan “realized that she was destined to spread the dharma by‘communicating with sentient beings through the medium of food.’”  

And communicate she has!  Now 59, Kwan's culinary fame has spread far beyond the boundaries of her daily monastic routine.  Utilizing condiments that have aged upon her rooftop for years, then combining them with the freshest of produce that she raised and picked herself, Kwan has gifted the world with “Garden of Eden” type vegan delights. 


Copyright November 4, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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