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oryoki (ōryōki 應量器)

Literally a "vessel" (ki 器) that contains an "appropriate amount" (ōryō 應量) of food. In India, Buddhist monks carried a bowl (S. pātra) when soliciting alms food from the laity that was supposed to be large enough to hold a nourishing meal but small enough to prevent gluttony. The bowl was one of the few personal possessions allowed a Buddhist monk. It was received upon ordination as a novice monk and was, together with the patchwork ochre robe (S. kāṣāya), emblematic of membership in the monastic order. As Buddhism evolved in India, it became the accepted norm for monasteries to have stores of food, kitchens, and dining halls for communal meals, but the bowl (or set of bowls) in which the meal was received and eaten remained the personal property of individual monks. In Soto Zen today, monks receive a set of nested bowls (made of lacquered wood) upon ordination and use them for formal meals when residing in training monasteries. →"bowl."