By Vanette Colmenares
New York City — The most common and neutral topic in any gathering that will make people join in any conversation is about food. Yes people, even politicians, would stop their bickering on state affairs when they are at dinner parties or cocktail events. For as long as food is present, it should be respected, savored and enjoyed.
And what about religious rites or spiritual teachings on food? Did you know that the Gautama Buddha ate his way to enlightenment? Legend has it that a woman took milk from a thousand cows, milked them and fed it again to another 500 cows. She then milked the 500 cows and fed it again to half that number and so on until there were eight cows left. Now this system could be the opposite of degressing a multi-level network marketing.
Anyway, from the milk of these eight cows, the woman prepared a sweetened dish of milk-rice, which was served to the Gautama in a golden bowl. And the Gautama divided the meal into 49 rice balls. He then tossed the golden bowl in a river and declared, “if today I am to attain full enlightenment, may this golden bowl swim upstream.” And it did!
The meal of 49 rice balls sustained the Gautama for 49 days, a time when he ate nothing and sat under a bodhi tree and became Buddha.
But the story about Buddha and food does not end there. He and his monks were once invited by a man named Cunda for dinner. He served a dish called “sukaramadavva” which translated into ‘pig’s delight’. Religious scholars debated on this dish because it could indeed be a pig that they served or what the pigs would like to eat such as truffles, roots or mushrooms. However, Buddha was the only one who ate the dish. He did not share it with his monks which was so unlike him, who was known to be one so gracious and unselfish.
Soon after eating, the Buddha became ill. Was this karma because of he did not share? He said it was not the food that was to blame and Cunda should not feel guilty. In fact, Buddha said that Cunda should be honored that he had served the Blessed One’s final meal. Which indeed he had and soon Buddha died.
On a different note, we all know about Jesus and his last supper. But what did it really consist of? Well, for one, many unbelievers who would see different versions of paintings of such would depict that a bunch of Jewish guys gathered around a table having bread with oil as the amuse-gueule (sumsumans) while drinking wine. They were probably having a seder meal which the gospel story tellers Matthew, Mark, and Luke depicted it to be. But John, on the other hand, said that the supper occurred too early in the year to be a seder.
But if indeed it was seder, then the meal would consist of horse radish, parsley, hard boiled egg, celery leaves, lamb shank and haroset (a mixture of nuts and chopped fruit).
The meal given by Cunda was Buddha’s request, and when he had consumed the meal, he told Cunda not to serve it to his monks, but instead bury the leftovers for indeed he was sure that it was indigestible and did not seem right to be eaten. For indeed, if the good was good, he would have shared it. Buddha was only looking after the welfare of his followers.
So with Jesus Christ, as he gave his life like the Buddha to save humanity from their sins as he was crucified after the last supper.
Why am I writing all this? I am on a spiritual journey with food. My motto is: My taste is simple, I just like the best. I will be starting to write about my excursions and insights on anything about food.
One of Deepak Chopras’ quotes which I have often spoken to myself is : “Today I will release the past of its wounded dreams. Today I will release the future of its anxiety of the future.”
Cool saying, isn’t it? My version would be, “Today I will release the waste I ate in the past. Today I will release my plans for where I will eat in the future. Because today is today…and today is the deadline of my article.”
Have a good day!