It is indeed cooking for Buddhas. A strange, yet still a meaningful title for a cook!
Cooking lovingly! Cooking meditatively! Cooking for Buddhas! Cooking Taoshobuddha way or Buddha way or cooking for Buddhas means the same thing. It is indeed a strange yet still a meaningful title for a cook book. It says a lot. And this is the beauty of it. First let me explain something of the title. Taoshobuddha is an enlightened master. Very rarely a master goes into cooking or does something like this. Although each master remains particular about eating food cooked by each and every one yet no effort was ever made in the past in this direction. When I asked Taoshobuddha about this, very pleasantly in his usual manner he said something that reveals the compassion of a master. Only an enlightened one can say such a thing. This is what he said:
“Cooking Taoshobuddha means ‘Cooking for Buddha’; ‘Cooking lovingly’; ‘Cooking meditatively’. Only then there can be total transformation of human consciousness. Only then we can create a new man who is balanced both inner and outer.
Life is a journey of transcendence. It is a moment to moment journey of awareness. As such man exists at three planes. In ordinary human being these planes remain muddled. And because of this there is no clarity and inward journey gets impeded.
In case of an enlightened one the planes remain the same. However these exist in their right perspective. Also these do not overlap one another in an enlightened one.
These three planes are:
1. The plane of silence the unheard the uncreated one. This is the plane where the master or the enlightened one dwells. He prefers to remain there. But from this plane the transformation cannot happen. Very unlikely you will find aspirants who are at this plane. However when the aspirant is within the energy field of the enlightened one he is touched by this state of awareness at times. Still this state is not permanent. This is the plane where I dwell. I would not like to come out of this state. But then I will be failing in my responsibilities for the birth of a new human being. One who is beyond dualities and conflicts? He is religious beyond the dimensions of all the religions and narrowness.
2. The second is the plane of intellect. Many are there at this plane. Or think that from this plane they can understand the deeper aspects of inwards journey at least intellectually. Again they are mistaken. At this plane people give their own meaning to the words and message. Still it is a plane from where one can communicate to all those who are at this plane to varying degrees. For these people I have made myself available through scores of books, and other materials, audio and video talks internationally. Also I have weekly meditations in Boston, Sweden, Vancouver, Florida, Miami, and New York. These I conduct from here.
In addition there are two published books. And there are 12 E-books and Monthly E magazine ‘MEDITATION TIMES’. Currently I am doing a book ‘TASAWWRE SHEIKH’ as reminiscences of my father of his master.
3. And last is the most common plane where you will find vast majority of humanity even those who are on the second plane are to certain varying degrees remain mixed up with this third plane. This is the plane that relates to food sheath. Food is necessary for the survival of the body. We quote ‘Annm! b&hm!’ But do not understand the essence of this.
The people who are at this plane are the ones who have suppressed sex. Also they lack the understanding of this biological energy. There is not only misunderstanding instead lack of awareness as well. All those who have suppressed sex get interested in food. India has suppressed sex down the ages for various reasons and the outcome is so many spicy and pungent dishes. Nowhere else so many dishes have developed as in India.
West has been slightly different. Sex is not suppressed. But there is no fulfilment. One can suppress sex that India did, or what the west did still it lacks fulfilment. Suppression and un-fulfilment are two sides of the same coin.
This problem has to be addressed. In the past masters have taken notice of this and abstained eating food from others. But they have done nothing to offset this problem. Without this new man cannot take birth out of you. Without this all rituals, worship etc remains meaningless.
I have taken to cooking and thus bring my awareness to the vast majority who are not interested in things at higher rungs. Whether they are interested in meditation, or discourses they will definitely be interested in food. How to reach these persons was on my mind. This life I have chosen to work at all the planes.
Through my awareness I am fulfilling the missing dimension in the life of those who are either suppressed or unfulfilled as far as the sex is concerned. When I looked into the lives of all those who are interested in food somewhere or the other this needs to be fulfilled. Direct involvement method cannot be used. I have to devise system and methods that can be utilized with effective results. I have devised certain meditations as well to transform negativities at personal and cosmic levels. These incorporate breathing at body level, introspection at mental level and compassion at the level of the being. These are yet to be given the final shape through the cook book ‘COOKING TAOSHOBUDDHA WAY’.
Masters need to do this. Mere rituals, scriptures etc cannot transform them.
This is the reason I have gone into cooking. Maybe persons will be benefited to varying degrees. One thing is certain though:
‘In the barren soils of thy inner sanctum
Oft do I use the manure of compassion,
Then one day seed of awakening I sow
With the rain of thy infinite bliss
The seed shall sprout one day
And then reckoning shall reap the fruits
At the dawn of new awakening!’
Taoshobuddha [Reproduced from Letter to Swami Atmananda]
It implies each act related to cooking be an act of awareness. When you live a life full of awareness even the small happening, moments, and events become moments of great revelation. In the absence of all this even the moments of benedictions turn out to be meaningless. It is therefore transform you’re cooking into an event of benediction, joy, fulfillment, and meditation.
You can eat the most nourishing food unhappy; full of complaints, frustration, and lack of awareness in that case you are like a common fly that transforms the nourishment into putrefied food. And on the contrary if you take the non – nourishing food full of happiness, joy, celebration, awareness, and gratitude then even this non – nourishing food becomes life giving one. It all depends on you, your awareness. In that case you become like a fruit plant that is nourished with all that is rotten, and irrigated with dirty water the plants transform all this into life nourishing and healthy final result. Remember fruit juices are considered healthy and source of nourishment.
With such an understanding we enter into cooking meditatively, lovingly and full of awareness.
This is cooking the TAOSHOBUDDHA WAY or the BUDDHA WAY.
COOKING MEDITATIVELY…COOKING WITH AWARENESS!
I met Taoshobuddha in 1992 – 1993 upon the insistence of another aspirant. I had met him on the bus travelling on my way to the office in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago. He kept on talking about his master, kept talking about all that he had learnt from his master.
I was subsequently invited to one of Taoshobuddha talks and I remember trying to judge which one of the new faces I was seeing, faces I was seeing for the first time was that of Taoshobuddha.
Not this one, not that one…and then I saw him, a gentle man… a beautiful man very relaxed person and I just knew that he was the one…
It has been a life transforming experience. After this meeting I could not remain the same. Something transformed or something new born in me. Maybe I am resurrected. No more old habits instead a life full of jot and benediction.
Fast forward to present day. I always had an interest in cooking, always interested in learning more about cooking and when I was introduced to east Indian cooking I was fascinated. I always described East Indian food as ‘Food of the Gods’. The variety of spices, special blends, the aesthetic look of dishes, and the taste always enchanted and overwhelmed me.
So one day I asked Taoshobuddha to show me some techniques of Indian cooking. This was the beginning of cooking classes at the temple and I was given the job of coordinating various activities like menu planning, interacting with other participants, taking care of the taste demands of others, and finally compiling the recipes that we created at these classes.
One thing that I have learned in the company of Taoshobuddha through these classes that one should not cook when one is angry, depressed. Subtly such vibrations are transferred into the food. Cooking is never a burden. Instead it is an explosion of joy and sharing one’s being with others. One should cook lovingly as if you are meditating.
Preparing the vegetables, holding the knife in a loving manner, knowing that one is cooking for the Beloved are certain guidelines that Taoshobuddha infused into cooking. To him everything is meditation and cooking is one of the most significant acts. Whole life is meditation. Only then you can be transformed.
In the preparation of this work I got tremendous support and help at each step from many quarters. The foremost support came from Taoshobuddha who not only introduced me and all the participants and through this book to all those who seek transformation, into a unique
meditative way of cooking. And thus making meditation way of our day to day life!
Swami Anand Neelambar for his expertise in formatting the entire book into such a unique way and his usual talks! Dayani, Sandra, Peter, Shiva, and all other participants who day in and day out supported and encouraged in bringing the work to this stage!
I am thankful to … of New York Institute of Cooking for their support, review and valuable suggestions that will go a long way.