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‘Shojin Ryori’ at Japan House Los Angeles

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“Shojin Ryori: An Introduction to Mindful Eating” will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 23, at Japan House Los Angeles, 6801 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.

The same program will be offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

For centuries, Japanese Buddhist monks have cultivated the art of shojin ryori as part of their spiritual training. Based on Zen principles that dictate everything from the selection of ingredients to specific methods of preparation and the proper etiquette for mindful eating, the vegetarian “temple cuisine” is nuanced yet infused with multiple layers of philosophical meaning.

With its ascetic emphasis on simplicity, shojin ryori encourages us to step back and re-examine our relationship with nature, in order to gain new insight and appreciation for the world around us.

This special lecture and tasting will be guided by the esteemed Rev. Shumyo Kojima, head priest of Zenshuji Soto Mission Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo, the oldest Soto Zen temple in North America. He will discuss the beliefs and cooking techniques associated with shojin ryori as an embodiment of Zen Buddhist philosophy. Afterwards, participants will have the opportunity to experience shojin ryori in the same manner as Buddhist monks do — in quiet contemplation.

Originally from Saga Prefecture, Kojima followed in his father’s footsteps at the family temple before attending Komazawa University, where he studied Buddhist history and philosophy. As a researcher for the Institute of Soto Education Studies, he researched American Zen Buddhism and assumed a temporary position at the Zenshuji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles in 1993. Kojima later returned to Japan to practice at Eijei-ji Monastery in Fukui Prefecture, and eventually moved to the U.S. to become a full-time minister at the Zenshuji Temple, where he has remained for the past 25 years.

For more information or to RSVP, call (800) 516-0565 or visit www.japanhouse.jp/losangeles.

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