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Five Contemplations When Eating

1) I think about where the food came from and the amount of work necessary to grow the food, transport it, prepare and cook it and bring it to the table.

2) I contemplate my own virtuous nature. Is it sufficient to Merit receiving the food as offering.

3) I guard my mind against transgression, the principal ones being greed and so forth.

4) I realize that food is a wholesome medicine that heals the suffering (Dukkha)s of the body.

5) I should receive the food offerings only for the sake of realizing the way.

“I. Consider the amount of work involved to bring the food to where it is eaten.

“Think it over. How much human labor was necessary to bring even a single grain of rice to the table. It first had to be planted, then tended, then harvested and stored. And so the ancients had a poem which reads:

The farmer hoes in the midday sun; His sweat falls on the soil. Who can guess how much toil it took To bring the food to the bowl?

“II. Consider whether one's own virtuous conduct is sufficient to enable one to accept the offering.

“again, think it over. Have you cultivated any virtuous conduct? Count it up. How much do you have? Is it sufficient? Is it lacking? Are you entitled to receive this offering of food?

“III. Take as one's guiding principle the guarding of the mind against transgressions such as greed.

“Take as your principle, as your doctrine, a mind free from greed, hatred, stupidity, pride, and doubt.

“IV. Properly taken, the food is like Medicine, to keep the body from wasting away.

“If you don't eat, you body grows weak. Therefore, it is only to prevent weakness that you receive the food.

“V. This food is accepted only in order to accomplish the way.

“think to yourself, 'I only take this food in order to cultivate and accomplish the karma of the way.'” (SV 55-56)

1) Chinese: wu gwan , 4) Alternate translations: five Contemplations performed While eating.

See Also: Vegetarianism.

BTTS References: SV 54-56.

five desires

1) wealth, 2) sex, 3) fame, 4) food, 5) sleep.

When I obtain the five desires, I vow that living beings Will pull out the arrow of desire, And attain ultimate peace and security.

(FAS Ch11 99)

The Buddha said, “Those on the way are like dry grass: it is essential to keep it away from an oncoming fire. people on the way look upon desire as something they must keep at a distance.” (S42 60)

The Buddha said, ”people who cannot renounce wealth and sex are like small children who, not satisfied with one delicious helping, lick the honey off the blade of the knife and so cut their tongues.” (S42 48)

The Buddha said, “There are people who follow emotion and desire and seek for fame. But by the time their reputation is established, they are already dead. Those who are greedy for worldly fame and do not study the way wear themselves out with wasted effort. It is just like a stick of burning incense which, however, fragrant its scent, consumes itself. So, too, greed for fame brings the d[[anger of a 'fire' which burns one up in its aftermath.” (S42 47)

The Buddha said, “As to love and desire: no desire is as deep-rooted as sex. There is none Greater than the desire for sex. Fortunately, it is one of a kind. If there were something else like it, no one in the entire world would be able to cultivate the way.” (S42 51)

There was once someone who, plagued by ceaseless sexual desire, wished to castrate himself. The Buddha said to him, “To cut off your sexual organs would not be as good as to 'cut off' your mind. Your mind is like a supervisor: if the supervisor stops, his employees will also quit. If the Deviant]] mind is not stopped, what good does it do to cut off the organs?” The Buddha recited a verse for him:

desire is born from your will; Your will is born from thought. When both aspects of the mind are still, There is neither form nor activity.” The Buddha said, “This verse was spoken by Kashyapa Buddha. (S42 63)

An alternate list of the five desires is comprised of: 1) forms, 2) sounds, 3) smells, 4) tastes, 5) tangible objects. See the entry eighteen Realms.

1) Chinese: wu yu , 2) Sanskrit: Pancha-kama-Guna, 3) Pali Pancha-kama Guna, 4) Alternate translations: sense desires and enjoyments plus objects of the same.

See Also: ignorance, love.*

BTTS References: S42 47, 48-54, 57, 62-63, 61; FAS Ch11 99.

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five_contemplations_when_eating.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:11 (external edit)