Venerable Jeong Kwan Seunim visited Stanford University on May 2 to give a demonstration of Korean temple cuisine. Buddhist nun Seon shared the monastic love for plant-based foods at an event at Stanford’s O’Donohue Family Educational Farm as part of a Stanford Food Institute Green Futures initiative ( SFI). The demonstration was organized by SFI as part of its goal to make Stanford restaurants more sustainable.
The nun is one of Korea’s best-known monastics after an episode of the Netflix series “Chef’s Table” featured her in 2017. On the show and in her demonstration this week, Ven. Jeong Kwan blended Korean cuisine with Seon Buddhism. Before starting, she meditated on the interconnectedness of all living beings.
Through her interpreter, Ven. Jeong Kwan led the attendees through a chant to “prepare our bodies and minds to receive that nourishment” that we know we are “unworthy” of but nonetheless gratefully receive “in pursuit of enlightenment.” Recounting her ability to be present and happy even away from her monastery, Ven. Jeong Kwan remarked that she felt “at home” among Stanford’s many green spaces and architecture. (The Stanford Daily)
Many of its signature flavors are inspired by the Korean practice of fermenting ingredients for months or years. Its soy sauce, for example, has aged for five years. She calls it “tears of the spirit”. (The Stanford Daily)
Fri. Jeong Kwan is the director of the Chunjinam Hermitage at Baekyangsa Temple, located on the edge of Naejangsan National Park, 270 kilometers south of Seoul. For over 40 years, she has been honing her culinary skills by following strict Buddhist vegetarian guidelines. It won the 2022 Icon Award from the guide “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022”.
As the guide says, “When she joined Baekyangsa Temple at just 17 years old, Jeong Kwan began honing her culinary skills in the temple kitchen, cooking for her fellow seunim (Korean Buddhist nuns and monks) and visitors. occasional monasteries. Cooking quickly became the nun’s religious practice, a way to embody and share Buddhist principles and honor nature and the Earth in the process. (Top 50 in the world)
On how food connected her to people, she says: “From those early years, I also learned the preciousness of sharing meals with people and with all beings. In fact, the temple kitchen was and continues to be a classroom that teaches me to appreciate everything: the world and all beings in the universe. (South China Morning Post)
Fri. Jeong Kwan teaches that the best and most delicious cuisine for our bodies comes from an intimate connection between the ingredients. She is a champion of local and seasonal ingredients, as well as a selection of sauces and spices specially made in her monastery. With time and practice, she strives to become equally intimate with each ingredient. “That’s how I best use a cucumber,” she explains through a translator. ”The cucumber becomes me. I become a cucumber. Because I personally grow them and have put my energy into them.” She sums up her culinary philosophy in words echoing her Buddhist tradition, ”Let nature take care of it.” (The New York Times)
Buddhist nun Jeong Kwan Seunim teaches Korean temple cuisine at the farm (The Stanford Daily)
The Buddhist nun spreading the gospel of Korean temple cuisine (Top 50 in the world)
Korean temple food and how to prepare it – Netflix star and Buddhist nun Jeong Kwan celebrates her healing powers (South China Morning Post)
Jeong Kwan, the chief philosopher (The New York Times)
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