Thursday, April 07, 2005

Araya's Vegetarian Place settles into new home

The chant started as a soft prayer, then rose in intensity, reaching a crescendo and falling back down to a dull hum. The eight bald men on the floor were identical, barefoot and dressed in brown robes. They were only distinguishable by their eyes -- some closed, others open in a penetrating stare -- and all with heads bowed.

Kneeling on straw mats on the new wood floor that still smelled like earth, the Buddhist monks held a roll of twine linking together their hands raised in a prayer. Seated across from the monks, the staff of Araya's Vegetarian Place prepared for their opening day at their new location on 1121 N.E. 45th St. -- not with frantic, last-minute preparations, but 20 minutes of meditation and prayer.

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