Table Talk: Wash Your Bowl

empty white bowl

April 05, 2017
Kate Vanskike, Gonzaga Magazine Editor

According to a Zen koan, a young monk asked his teacher for the key to enlightenment. The master said, “Did you eat? Then wash your bowl.”

There are variations on both the story and its interpretation, but what has stuck with me since first reading it is the idea of gratitude. Did I just eat? Washing my bowl could be an act of thankfulness for the meal I just enjoyed.

Eating three times a day, I suspect, is an act many of us take for granted. Perhaps we remember to pause and offer thanks before partaking. Maybe we give great thought to what we’ll prepare for the next meal. Once in a while, we may take extra care to follow a special recipe, and other times, it’s more enjoyable to eat out and let someone surprise us with a tasty new concoction.

So many options.

And yet … more than 12 million families in America struggle with hunger. In more than 90 percent of those homes, adults skimp on eating or skip meals completely to leave more for children. Seventy percent of children benefit from the national school lunch program.*

Disparity is just one of many issues to consider related to our favorite subject: FOOD. Inside this issue, we’ll hear from faculty experts on nutrition and ethics, see what students are eating in the new COG and discover what Zags say are the best restaurants in Spokane. There’s much more inside, including topics for table talk, the next time you gather for a meal with others or quietly reflect on your own.

Enjoy your bounty … then wash your bowl.


(This article appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Gonzaga Magazine, dedicated to a topic we all love: FOOD. See more.)

Table Talk

Wooden spoon with coffee and sugar

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red ripe tomato

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