How To Have A Buddhist Thanksgiving

How To Have A Buddhist Thanksgiving


Bringing Buddhism home for the holidays can be a spiritual practice personally as much as it is carrying the tradition of a discipline. Buddhism is rooted in thankfulness and compassion. Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to put new lessons to practice.




You have a lot to be grateful for on your first sober thanksgiving. You’ve overcome the attachment to addiction and are learning to lovingly detach from other harmful attachments. You’ve dove into a meditation practice while also practicing tools for coping. Day by day you’ve become a new person you can grow to love.




Compassion is important to practice on the Thanksgiving holiday in regards to everyone and everything involved. Have compassion for your crazy family members, the triggering presence of alcoholic beverages, and regret for holidays spent intoxicated. Additionally, try to make your holiday meal food choices compassionately. Choose food items that are organic, sustainably raised, and local. Show compassion for animals by choosing a vegan or vegetarian meal.




Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks. Buddhists practice thankfulness each day. Find thanks for each person you see, each food item you eat, and each feeling you have. All of it is part of the blessed experience of living life.

Speaking at a Thanksgiving Day at Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hahn discussed how the Buddhists give thanks to four objects:

  • To father and mother for giving life
  • To teacher for giving spiritual life and how to live in the present
  • To friends for supporting
  • To “every being in the animal, vegetable and mineral world for our support and maintenance.”


Recite The Five Contemplations


Before each meal, Buddhists recite the five contemplations as an offering of prayer and blessing. The five contemplations are recited as follows:

This food is the gift of the whole universe—the earth, the sky, and much hard work.

May we live in a way that makes us worthy to receive it.

May we transform our unskillful states of mind, especially our greed.

May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.

We accept this food so that we may realize the path of practice.


Refuge Recovery gives thanks to the many staff, clients, family members, and supporters who make our treatment center possible. Devoted to enlightening the way to recovery through spirituality, Refuge offers a Buddhism based treatment program to men and women. Call or text us today for more information, 323-207-0276.

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