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Events - 07.22.2023

Food as Practice | Nurturing Healthy Mind, Body & Soul

Shojin ryori dishes

07.22.2023 (Sat.)


11:00 AM - 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


JAPAN HOUSE Salon, Level 5



For centuries, the Japanese have incorporated shōjin ryōri – 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 shōjin ryōri, 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. Shōjin ryōri 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 a new series on mindful eating at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, we invite you to join the esteemed Soto Zen monk, Rev. Shumyo Kojima, to discover the essence of shōjin ryōri 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 is subject to change

Buddhist monks from Zenshuji Temple eating
People eating at Zenshuji Temple
Buddhist monk preparing shojin ryori
Shojin ryori being served
Shojin ryori food
A top-down shot of shojin ryori
A top-down shot of shojin ryori
A top-down shot of shojin ryori

Photo courtesy of Zenshuji

*All vegetarian cuisine. Each seating is the same program.
** Allergens may include: soy, wheat, sesame. Substitutions and dietary accommodations are politely declined.

About the Reverend

Rev. Shumyo Kojima is a Soto Zen monk, a head priest of Zenshuji Buddhist Temple which is the oldest Soto Zen Temple in North America. He grew up as a disciple of his father in their family temple in Saga prefecture., Japan. Upon graduating from Komazawa University where he studied Buddhist history and philosophy, he entered the Soto Institute for Buddhist Studies, education department.

Read more.

As a researcher from the institute of Soto Education Studies, he embarked to the U.S. to research American Zen, and temporarily join the staff at Zenshuji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, 1993. After he had practiced at Eiheiji Monastery, he returned to Zenshuji to become a full time minister where he has remained for 28 years. 

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