Friday, September 26, 2014

Zen Butcher

Many years ago, when just beginning formal Zen practice, I knew people who practiced  at a Zen Center farm in Maine with Walter Nowick where their samu/work included processing turkeys. At that time, in my city-bred naivete, it was surprising to me that a Buddhist group, even on a functioning farm, would do this sort of work. 

Today I was sent the following article the reflects upon about the nexus of practice, livelihood and midwest realities and raises interesting practice questions. Is it possible to be a "Zen butcher?" What is honoring food, what is honoring being nurtured, nurturing?

The Fall of the Zen Butcher by


One of the most significant differences (in this meat processing plant), though, was an easy one to overlook: the sign that hung high on the wall, out of the reach of blood splatter, which read, “We Honor These Animals, For By Their Death, We Gain Life.”

This was the house of the Zen Butcher.

Over the last seven years, a vibrant local foods community grew up around Black Earth Meats, Bartlett Durand's humane-handling slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse and retail store developed an enormous following, supplied high-end restaurants all over the Midwest, supported nearly 50 employees and 200 area farmers, opened a Madison retail location called The Conscious Carnivore, and garnered attention from the Food Network’s Andrew Zimmern....'

 For the rest of the article see: