Elder Upasaka Pan Rou-shr, the head teacher of tai ji chuan, shadow boxing, at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas had met a Japanese monk who was healthy and long-lived. He had no special formula for healthy living; but when eating he always chewed each mouthful of rice two hundred times.
Upasaka Pan specializes in experiments and also tried to chew the rice two hundred times. However, he would swallow it after chewing only a hundred times. Ah! He not only experienced the taste in his mouth as sweet, but needed no food to go with the rice, and also felt that the nutrition in the rice was completely absorbed by the intestines.
According to elder Upasaka Pan, most people eat in a hurry. Even though the food is nutritious and delicious, under such circumstances the food has not been tasted and absorbed fully. To the contrary, it causes a burden to our organs. By eating slowly, one not only enjoys the wonderful flavor but also can reduce the amount of the food intake, which makes the body more relaxed.
I think it does make sense to try to attentively chew every mouthful. Lacking sufficient in patience, I can only manage to chew thirty times. However, that already provides me with great benefit.
In order to count the number of times I chew, I concentrate my mind and have no false thoughts. Naturally I feel the energy calm down and my spirits at ease which serves a wonderful function similar to counting breaths in sitting meditation. The taste is simply wonderful and endless. No wonder people in the past said, "With a calm mind, even vegetable roots are delicious." It is a real experience and you’re not fooling yourself.
Single-mindedly performing one's actions is the simplest principle. However, intelligent people seldom have this honest and stupid attitude and thus fail to taste the true flavor of the simple life.
Actually, among people who eat, how many of us have really carefully tasted the flavor of a mouthful of rice?