Recently, (Dec. 26, 2019), Tamura Atsushi (田村 淳), one-half of a of a comic tag- team who call themselves London Boots, sent out a tweet commenting on the discipline of a public school teacher at Sakai High School in Sakai, Osaka. Atsushi protested that this teacher was ever disciplined for taking home food that was left over from the day’s lunch. This teacher happens to be a 62-year old senior instructor. In June of 2019, an anonymous person reported to school officials that this instructor was taking home bread and milk that were uneaten by the students. On any given day, you will have students who are absent, and it is normal that there will always be some leftover food. This teacher believed that it was mottai-nai, meaning “a waste”, for lack of a comparable word in English, to let good food be thrown away. The word mottai-nai is often used when one envisions something having more value than how it is being used or assessed. The instructor admitted to having taken home bread and milk for four years. By this, the school board estimated that he was liable for a thousand individual packets of bread and 4200 cartons of milk. He was fined an equivalent to three month’s pay. The instructor was also placed on suspension. The instructor has since voluntarily paid 3,100,000 Yen (a little over $2,800 USD, Jan. 16, 2020). And, he has also tendered his resignation. Although there is an issue that this bread and milk was paid for by the parents of the students, ultimately anything left uneaten is simply disposed. This teacher was consuming what would end up in the waste bin. Atsushi questioned on Twitter, “Is this a bad thing? What’s the problem of wasting food these days . . . Shouldn’t we be teaching how to decrease wasting food?” (「悪い事なのかな?食品ロスが問題になってる昨今…教 えるべき事はどうやってロスを無くすかじゃないんですかね?」). Atsushi does have a point. There is some merit of truth in Atsushi’s question. In our Nichiren Shu Jiki-ho or grace that we chant before our meals, there is the following phrase:「たとえ一滴の水、一粒の 米も功徳と辛苦によらざることなし。」 It can be translated as follows: “Be it merely a drop of water or a grain of rice, they are the result of great merit and hard work.” Both water and grains are necessary for human nutrition and survival. Ages ago, securing potable water was not an easy thing. Water needed to be carried for long distances from rivers and wells. As such, even a drop of water is precious and should not be wasted. Rice was considered just as vital. In Japan, the financial valuation of fiefs were described in terms of how much rice they could procure, which exemplifies just how important rice was. A 1000 square-meter plot of land produces 500 kilograms of rice. So, a square meter of arable soil produces 500 grams of rice. One bowl of rice is considered to hold approximately 200 grams of cooked rice. It is thought that when rice is cooked it doubles in weight. So, by calculation, approximately 100 grams of rice in uncooked form is necessary to make a bowl of rice. From this, we can posit that a square meter of land will produce only 5 bowls of rice. It is believed that a square meter of land holds about 20 stalks of rice, meaning that each bowl of rice requires 4 rice stalks. In our training as Buddhist priests, we were taught not to leave any food uneaten. If you cannot eat it all, we would need to give our food to someone who can eat it before we starteating. What nature provides to us should not be taken for granted. Each bit of food is a precious and integral life that provides us with energy to realize the practice of Buddha’s teachings. That the 62-year old teacher had shown respect and thanks by not wasting what nature had provided is, in some respects, a gesture that deems to be upheld. (Eisei Ikenaga)