The practice of Oryoki was introduced and taught by our founder, Kobun, at various places: initially at Tassajara per the request of Suzuki Roshi, at the various temples he was instrumental in starting, and later to the Shambala community at Trungpa Rinpoche’s request. For the first seven-day retreat at Hokoji, while we were prepared to eat sack lunches, Kobun insisted that we eat using Oryoki.
Oryoki (roughly meaning “just enough”) is a formal way of serving and eating meals in Zen practice centers. At Hokoji, we take up this ancient and traditional method of eating meals during most retreats. The use of Oryoki during retreat provides an opportunity for us to deepen our practice. Paying careful attention to the way in which we take our meals, our true relationship between ourselves and our food is made clear. Emphasizing each simple activity, we continually learn our way. Oryoki instruction is offered during each retreat, so it is not necessary to be familiar with this way of eating prior to joining our retreat.
The following resources offer additional guidance: