Buddha in My Kitchen

Author: helga


This ceramic Buddha sat on my kitchen counter for many years. I bought it in memory of a Buddhist friend who had died young and unexpectedly.  Eventually it took on a more personal and empowering meaning.

During those years I was a stay at home mother who spent a good part of every day in the kitchen.  I found myself, sometimes, resenting those hours, especially time spent cleaning. As a feminist growing up in the 1970’s, I hoped to make an escape from the kitchen that held women in their place for centuries. I was living in a new world where earning a pay cheque in the market was the place to be. At some point I heard about how Zen monks consider cooking and cleaning as spiritual practice. These daily tasks are done with reverence.

How is it that the same activities can be holy in one context and demeaning in another?  I’ve never heard anyone use the word “housewife” with reverence.  If these tasks are holy for celibate monks then surely, these are holy tasks when done for the health and welfare of my children.

I made the choice to see kitchen work as holy work and the Buddha was there every day to remind me of my value.





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