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Events - 01.27.2024

Food as Practice | Nurturing
Healthy Mind, Body & Soul

Two trays full of shojin-style food


01.27.2024 (Sat.)


10:30 AM - 12:15 PM, 2:00 PM - 3:45 PM


JAPAN HOUSE Salon, Level 5



For centuries, the Japanese have incorporated shojin ryori – a type of cooking that embodies Buddhist principles from the choice of ingredients, to the methods of preparation, to the experience of eating itself – into their culinary practice. In shojin ryori, all dishes are vegetarian and emphasize simplicity, but also contain layers of philosophical meaning and nuanced flavor. In particular, tofu holds a significant role as a versatile and protein-rich ingredient that is used in subtly different ways. Shojin ryori encourages us to step back, examine food and our relationship to it, and gain a new perspective on our bodies, lives, and world.

As part of an ongoing series on mindful eating at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, we invite you to join the esteemed Soto Zen monk, Rev. Taiga Ito, to discover the essence of shojin ryori through an intimate lecture and tasting session. Guests will learn the foundational elements of this culinary tradition and its profound embodiment of Zen philosophy and aesthetics, illustrated by film clips showcasing traditional monastery life. The discussion of this culinary heritage will be followed by the chance to sample many dishes while experiencing the same quiet contemplation observed by monks in ascetic training. Let the flavors and textures transport you to a realm of introspection as you connect with the profound principles woven into every bite.

Program Schedule

  • Welcome
  • Explanation of Zen cuisine
  • Introduction to Tableware and Table manners
  • Tasting Experience
  • Q&A

*Program subject to change
**Each seating is the same program. Note, this is a repeat of the July 22, 2023 and September 2, 2023 programs.
***All vegetarian cuisine. Allergens may include: soy, wheat, sesame. Substitutions and dietary accommodations are politely declined.

Rows of vegetarian food *Concept image © JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles

Buddhist monk serving shojin ryori *Concept image © JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles

Reverend Kojima sitting at a desk in front of a projection slide about shojin ryori *Concept image © JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles


About the Reverend

Reverend Taiga Ito 
Rev. Taiga Ito received his training from Daihonzan Soji-ji, one of the head monasteries of Soto Shu (Soto Zen in Japan). In 2016, Rev. Ito became a Kokusai fukyoshi (international teacher of Soto Shu). He served as the secretary of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center between 2016 and 2018 and became the Assistant Director in 2019.

Read more.

His work includes visiting Soto Zen centers all over the world to present Dharma talks, hold zazen classes, and help temples with their ceremonies. Rev. Ito also creates teaching materials such as zazen how-to booklets, brochures about Soto Zen, and other topics.

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