Throwing food

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D1W1
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Throwing food

Post by D1W1 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:51 am

Hello all,

We have been told by many people even since our childhood to refrain from doing this or encourage to do that, but we do not always know the reason behind that. We have mixed value instilled within us.

If someone works in F&B industry or has his own business selling food & beverages products, at the end of the day, most of the time it's inevitable we have to throw away the food. The question is, is throwing food bad kamma or not? Is there occasion where the Buddha talked about this issue in the Sutta? Please share your thoughts, thank you :anjali:

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retrofuturist
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Re: Throwing food

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:55 am

Greetings,
D1W1 wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:51 am
The question is, is throwing food bad kamma or not?
I can think of no reason why throwing away expired food would constitute bad kamma.

However, before it becomes inedible, it may be advantageous to give it to another person or creature. I believe there is provision for this in the Vinaya etc. especially as it pertains to surplus food which may not be stored.

If you or anyone wishes to explore the issue from an economic or environmental perspective, such conversation would be most suitable at Dharma Wheel Engaged.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

Dinsdale
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Re: Throwing food

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:59 am

D1W1 wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:51 am
The question is, is throwing food bad kamma or not?
I don't think it's bad kamma, but I do question why so much food is thrown away - presumably it is people buying too much in the first place.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

chownah
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Re: Throwing food

Post by chownah » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:20 am

D1W1 wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:51 am
The question is, is throwing food bad kamma or not? Is there occasion where the Buddha talked about this issue in the Sutta?
It depends on your intention which leads to throwing away the food.
chownah

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Sam Vara
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Re: Throwing food

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:27 am

chownah wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:20 am
D1W1 wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:51 am
The question is, is throwing food bad kamma or not? Is there occasion where the Buddha talked about this issue in the Sutta?
It depends on your intention which leads to throwing away the food.
chownah
I agree. Throwing away food which has become harmful seems to be more like good kamma. Overproduction, over-selling, and over buying seems to be where the bad kamma lies here; a type of greed, or possibly fear that we won't have enough. Cutting down on waste would seem to be a meritorious thing to do for all concerned.

D1W1
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Re: Throwing food

Post by D1W1 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:36 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:55 am
Greetings,
D1W1 wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:51 am
The question is, is throwing food bad kamma or not?
I can think of no reason why throwing away expired food would constitute bad kamma.

However, before it becomes inedible, it may be advantageous to give it to another person or creature. I believe there is provision for this in the Vinaya etc. especially as it pertains to surplus food which may not be stored.

If you or anyone wishes to explore the issue from an economic or environmental perspective, such conversation would be most suitable at Dharma Wheel Engaged.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Greetings retrofuturist,

What do monks do when there is surplus food available?

D1W1
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Re: Throwing food

Post by D1W1 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:46 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:27 am

I agree. Throwing away food which has become harmful seems to be more like good kamma. Overproduction, over-selling, and over buying seems to be where the bad kamma lies here; a type of greed, or possibly fear that we won't have enough. Cutting down on waste would seem to be a meritorious thing to do for all concerned.
chownah wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:20 am

It depends on your intention which leads to throwing away the food.
chownah

I agree, kamma is intention. The intention is to throw away the food, it's neither harmful nor beneficial, we do not produce the food in order to throw it away but rather because it's not sold. Does anyone see if the action is more neutral rather than bad?

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salayatananirodha
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Re: Throwing food

Post by salayatananirodha » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:04 am

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/dana/index.html wrote:
"Even if a person throws the rinsings of a bowl or a cup into a village pool or pond, thinking, 'May whatever animals live here feed on this,' that would be a source of merit."

— AN 3.57
With that, there is hardly such a thing as wasting food throwing it away; you can give it to whatever beings feed off of waste.
http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts/mn/mn.003.horn.pts.htm wrote:Take a case where I, monks,
may have eaten[3] and be satisfied,[4]
(the meal) ended, finished,
I having had enough,
as much as I pleased.

But it may be that some of my almsfood is over
and is to be thrown away,
when two monks may arrive
worn out with exhaustion and hunger.[5]

If I should speak to them thus:

'I, monks, have eaten and am satisfied
(the meal) ended, finished,
I having had enough,
as much as I pleased.

But some of my almsfood is over
and is to be thrown away.

Do eat it if you (so) desire;[6]
if you do not eat it
I will now throw it away
where there is no grass
or I will drop it into water
that has no living creatures in it.'[7]

Then it may occur to one monk:

'Now, the Lord having eaten and being satisfied
(the meal) ended, finished,
having had enough,
as much as he pleased.

But this almsfood of the Lord's is to be thrown away;
if we do not eat it,
the Lord will now throw it [18] away
where there is no grass
or he will drop it into water
that has no living creatures in it.

But this was said by the Lord:

Monks, become my heirs of Dhamma,
not heirs of material things.

But this is a material thing,
that is to say, almsfood.

Suppose that I,
not having eaten this almsfood,
in spite of this hunger and exhaustion,
should pass this night and day thus?'

He, not having eaten that almsfood,
in spite of that hunger and exhaustion,
may pass this night and day thus.

Then it occurs to the second monk, thus:

'Now, the Lord having eaten and being satisfied
(the meal) ended, finished,
having had enough,
as much as he pleased.

But this almsfood of the Lord's is to be thrown away;
if we do not eat it,
the Lord will now throw it away
where there is no grass
or he will drop it into water
that has no living creatures in it.

Suppose that I,
having eaten this alms-food,
having driven away this hunger and exhaustion,
should pass this night and day thus?

He, having eaten that almsfood,
having driven away that hunger and exhaustion,
may spend that night and day thus.

Although, monks, that monk,
having eaten that alms-food,
having driven away this hunger and exhaustion,
should pass this night and day thus,
he, having eaten that almsfood,
having driven away that hunger and exhaustion,
may spend that night and day thus,
yet that first monk is for me
the more to be honoured
and the more to be praised.[8]

What is the reason for this?

It is, monks, that it will conduce for a long time
to that monk's desirelessness,
to his contentment,
expunging (of evil),
to his being easily supported,
to his putting forth energy.[9]

Therefore, monks, become my heirs of Dhamma,
not heirs of material things.

I have sympathy with you and think:

How may disciples become my heirs of Dhamma,
and not heirs of material things?"

Thus spoke the Lord;
when the Well-farer had spoken thus,
rising from his seat,
he entered the dwelling-place.
The buddha didn't seem to have a problem disposing of leftovers. My dear grandmother said something like it was a waste to keep or consume more than what you needed or wanted. Then if you look at DN 27, you see that hoarding food is part of a large-scale regression of beings. www.palicanon.org/en/sutta-pitaka/trans ... cloak.html
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

binocular
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Re: Throwing food

Post by binocular » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:44 am

D1W1 wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:46 am
I agree, kamma is intention. The intention is to throw away the food, it's neither harmful nor beneficial, we do not produce the food in order to throw it away but rather because it's not sold. Does anyone see if the action is more neutral rather than bad?
I think the question is whether one develops some insight from such situations, and afterwards adjusts production and consumption accordingly.

In contrast, for example, some people try to live a more healthy lifestyle, so they buy lots of vegetables and other "health foods", but then don't eat them and let them go to waste, and this can go on for years. That's an example of acting in delusion, and that is problematic. If nothing else, such a pattern indicates unwise spending which can lead to personal financial problems eventually, even more so if it spreads to other areas of a person's life.


- - -
salayatananirodha wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:04 am
With that, there is hardly such a thing as wasting food throwing it away; you can give it to whatever beings feed off of waste.
Growing Clostridium botulinum, for example, is a public health hazard ...
Then there's the issue of attracting wild or stray animals with food remains, and increasing chances of attack by them and the spreading of potentially lethal diseases like rabies.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Throwing food

Post by binocular » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:48 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:59 am
I don't think it's bad kamma, but I do question why so much food is thrown away - presumably it is people buying too much in the first place.
It would be interesting to know what foods get discarded in what amounts. There may be several groups of items there, with different reasons for being discarded.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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DNS
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Re: Throwing food

Post by DNS » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:18 pm

I was raised not to waste food, not to waste things in general. Once I went to a Zen retreat and they were extremely careful not to waste. When I finished my food on my plate one of the nuns came over to teach me how they don't waste food. You pour your tea over the plate and literally wipe it clean with your utensils or some bread. There is not even one crumb left on the plate. At first I thought "how extremist" but later reflected on it and thought that was a good idea.

It is true there is nothing really "wasted" when you throw it in the garbage, because even if it ends up in the landfill, bugs will eat it. However, it might result in an increase in population of their species and mice and rats, which humans will then later look to exterminate. Also, there is much larger carbon-footprint from the production of processed foods and other food items designed for humans, compared to naturally growing foods in the forests. But as retro noted, this might be getting more into the environmental and political impacts, suited more for Dharma Wheel Engaged:
https://dharmawheel.org/

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Kim OHara
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Re: Throwing food

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:50 am

There's a sutta about proper care and re-use of the monk's robes - to keep it, mend it, and not to throw it away when it's no longer fit to be used as a robe but to cut it and repurpose it.
Is it too big a stretch to say we should take similar care not to waste other goods like food?

:namaste:
Kim

chownah
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Re: Throwing food

Post by chownah » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:26 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:50 am
There's a sutta about proper care and re-use of the monk's robes - to keep it, mend it, and not to throw it away when it.it's no longer fit to be used as a robe but to cut it and repurpose
Is it too big a stretch to say we should take similar care not to waste other goods like food?

:namaste:
Kim
Not too big a stretch if the robes are made of spandex.
chownah

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Sam Vara
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Re: Throwing food

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:08 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:50 am
There's a sutta about proper care and re-use of the monk's robes - to keep it, mend it, and not to throw it away when it's no longer fit to be used as a robe but to cut it and repurpose it.
Is it too big a stretch to say we should take similar care not to waste other goods like food?

:namaste:
Kim
I think that's a good point. Whatever the impact on the environment, etc., the discipline involved in being painstaking and scrupulous over some some task or our relationship to the material world can be a really interesting form of contemplation. My teacher was strict about how I served food and did tasks in the garden for just this purpose. He would say that there was no "correct" way of putting material things (i.e. it didn't matter where the fork and spoon went) but there was a correct way of handling them (i.e. the spoon and fork needed to be placed rather than dumped on the table). There is a similar discipline around buying and preparing and serving food. These activities are a form of work-meditation, and can be very beneficial.

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Bundokji
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Re: Throwing food

Post by Bundokji » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:13 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:08 am
Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:50 am
There's a sutta about proper care and re-use of the monk's robes - to keep it, mend it, and not to throw it away when it's no longer fit to be used as a robe but to cut it and repurpose it.
Is it too big a stretch to say we should take similar care not to waste other goods like food?

:namaste:
Kim
I think that's a good point. Whatever the impact on the environment, etc., the discipline involved in being painstaking and scrupulous over some some task or our relationship to the material world can be a really interesting form of contemplation. My teacher was strict about how I served food and did tasks in the garden for just this purpose. He would say that there was no "correct" way of putting material things (i.e. it didn't matter where the fork and spoon went) but there was a correct way of handling them (i.e. the spoon and fork needed to be placed rather than dumped on the table). There is a similar discipline around buying and preparing and serving food. These activities are a form of work-meditation, and can be very beneficial.
:heart:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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