Physical Food as Nutriment

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LittleAl2019
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Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by LittleAl2019 » Mon May 27, 2019 9:54 am

I'm working my way through "In the Buddha's Words" and have reached MN9 verse 9 "Nutriment" (page 325 of the print edition). I'm having trouble understanding the implication of the sentence "The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view...." (this appears in verse 11). I may be over-analysing or misunderstanding, but this appears to be somehow advocating the cessation of the nutriments and more problematically, "physical food" as one of them, in as much as the Noble Eightfold path and its constituents is advocated. This seems a bit, well, drastic! (But maybe that's the point). I can understand verse 12 in which a "noble disciple has thus understood nutriment" - the emphasis it seems here on the understanding leading to the abandonment of lust rather than the abandonment of the nutriment.

To put my problem in simplistic terms:

"With the arising of craving there is the arising of nutriment" = If you're hungry, you'll eat food.

"With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of nutriment." = If you're not hungry, you won't eat food.

"The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path" = Good Buddhists follow the Noble Eightfold Path and don't eat food!

Have I got it all wrong?? Is the craving in this example of physical food not hunger at all but something else? A more existential urge to eat independent of the actual physical and mental symptoms of hunger? Is the important thing to understand and abandon the craving, not the nutriment?

Please direct me to the relevant post if this has already been dealt with - I tried the search function but not much came up. Apologies if I'm just being dim and have missed something obvious.

Grateful for your thoughts.

auto
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by auto » Mon May 27, 2019 11:34 am

physical food. In physical food there is nutriment part of rupa.

you can come to know it by when you see that mind aspect and then can detach/not-identify from it, it doesn't mean you don't have to eat now own but you got a bit more pure.

The path is much longer in that respect but if you have done it, understand it and the way you do it defines are you sekha or knower of dhamma etc, i think.

When craving is ceased there is an occurrence where you are feeling malnourished because craving doesn't lead you to nourish and then you notice that aspect and use mind to nourish and get fed. Symptoms of weakness disappear. There is still attachment to dhamma.
--
just for rant,peeps who quit eat meat, but doesn't know about dhamma attachment and going through it many times and the using mind comes more prevalent..there are liquids and through fragrance you can get meat nutriment..here its difference with gross and refined, contact, consciosuenss..

sentinel
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by sentinel » Mon May 27, 2019 1:25 pm

LittleAl2019 wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 9:54 am
I'm working my way through "In the Buddha's
"With the arising of craving there is the arising of nutriment" = If you're hungry, you'll eat food.

"With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of nutriment." = If you're not hungry, you won't eat food.

"The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path" = Good Buddhists follow the Noble Eightfold Path and don't eat food!

My take is , not about solid food .
Let's see what others have to say .
:buddha1:

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Polar Bear
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Polar Bear » Mon May 27, 2019 3:10 pm

I think the end of nutriment in this case doesn’t occur until anupadisesa nibbana, I.e. at the death of an arahant. Completing the noble eightfold path brings an end to rebirth and so after this last life, one will never eat again. And of course, the other nutriments of sense impressions, volitions, and consciousness still occur for the arahant until final extinguishment as well.

:anjali:
Last edited by Polar Bear on Mon May 27, 2019 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Jerafreyr
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Jerafreyr » Mon May 27, 2019 4:14 pm

Buddha was addressing sramanas on how to subsume and remove their cravings within the practice. They do not eat because the body is hungry, they do so for ease in striving and only at the right time.

lostitude
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by lostitude » Mon May 27, 2019 9:28 pm

Calling on the native English speakers on this forum: what is the difference between a nutriment and a nutrient?
As a dietitian I have only ever come across the word nutrient when talking about actual food. Does nutriMent not refer more symbolically to any kind of nourishing factor, as an image?
nu·tri·ment (no͞o′trə-mənt, nyo͞o′-)
n.
1. A source of nourishment; food.
2. An agent that promotes growth or development.
Maybe the actual Pali could be helpful? now calling on the Pali speakers :)

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DooDoot
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by DooDoot » Mon May 27, 2019 9:37 pm

LittleAl2019 wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 9:54 am
I'm working my way through "In the Buddha's Words" and have reached MN9 verse 9 "Nutriment" (page 325 of the print edition). I'm having trouble understanding the implication of the sentence "The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view...." (this appears in verse 11). I may be over-analysing or misunderstanding, but this appears to be somehow advocating the cessation of the nutriments and more problematically, "physical food" as one of them, in as much as the Noble Eightfold path and its constituents is advocated. This seems a bit, well, drastic! (But maybe that's the point). I can understand verse 12 in which a "noble disciple has thus understood nutriment" - the emphasis it seems here on the understanding leading to the abandonment of lust rather than the abandonment of the nutriment.
Hi LittleAl2019. This is possibly one of the most difficult subjects in the suttas, due to lack of explanation. You are certainly not over-analysing. When you study sutta, it is the spirit of Buddhism to be prepared for & engage in critical analysis.
LittleAl2019 wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 9:54 am
To put my problem in simplistic terms:

"With the arising of craving there is the arising of nutriment" = If you're hungry, you'll eat food.

"With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of nutriment." = If you're not hungry, you won't eat food.

"The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path" = Good Buddhists follow the Noble Eightfold Path and don't eat food!

Have I got it all wrong?? Is the craving in this example of physical food not hunger at all but something else?
Correct. Physical hunger is not "craving" ("tanha"). "Craving" is "lust"; which is unwholesome. Where as "hunger" is merely a (neither wholesome or unwholesome) pain of the body indicating the body needs food.

Some other teachings about nutriment are below, which show what is to cease is unnecessary lust for food & taking pleasure in food. In summary, the teaching in MN 9 is about the cessation of craving & lust (tanha) for food rather than the literal cessation of food. SN 12.63 below is particularly clear in its explanation.
SN 12.64 wrote:If, bhikkhus, there is lust for the nutriment edible food, if there is delight, if there is craving, consciousness becomes established there and comes to growth. Wherever consciousness becomes established and comes to growth, there is a descent of name-and-form. Where there is a descent of name-and-form, there is the growth of volitional formations. Where there is the growth of volitional formations, there is the production of future renewed existence. Where there is the production of future renewed existence, there is future birth, aging, and death. Where there is future birth, aging, and death, I say that is accompanied by sorrow, anguish, and despair.

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.64/en/bodhi
SN 12.63 wrote:"And how is physical food to be regarded? Suppose a couple, husband & wife, taking meager provisions, were to travel through a desert. With them would be their only baby son, dear & appealing. Then the meager provisions of the couple going through the desert would be used up & depleted while there was still a stretch of the desert yet to be crossed. The thought would occur to them, 'Our meager provisions are used up & depleted while there is still a stretch of this desert yet to be crossed. What if we were to kill this only baby son of ours, dear & appealing, and make dried meat & jerky. That way — chewing on the flesh of our son — at least the two of us would make it through this desert. Otherwise, all three of us would perish.' So they would kill their only baby son, loved & endearing, and make dried meat & jerky. Chewing on the flesh of their son, they would make it through the desert. While eating the flesh of their only son, they would beat their breasts, [crying,] 'Where have you gone, our only baby son? Where have you gone, our only baby son?' Now what do you think, monks: Would that couple eat that food playfully or for intoxication, or for putting on bulk, or for beautification?"

"No, lord."

"Wouldn't they eat that food simply for the sake of making it through that desert?"

"Yes, lord."

"In the same way, I tell you, is the nutriment of physical food to be regarded. When physical food is comprehended, passion [lust] for the five strings of sensuality is comprehended. When passion for the five strings of sensuality is comprehended, there is no fetter bound by which a disciple of the noble ones would come back again to this [sensual] world.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Kind regards :smile:
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Sam Vara
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Sam Vara » Mon May 27, 2019 10:01 pm

lostitude wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 9:28 pm
Calling on the native English speakers on this forum: what is the difference between a nutriment and a nutrient?
As a dietitian I have only ever come across the word nutrient when talking about actual food. Does nutriMent not refer more symbolically to any kind of nourishing factor, as an image?
nu·tri·ment (no͞o′trə-mənt, nyo͞o′-)
n.
1. A source of nourishment; food.
2. An agent that promotes growth or development.
Maybe the actual Pali could be helpful? now calling on the Pali speakers :)
"Nutriment" means food in the broadest sense; that which nourishes. It is an archaic and obscure term which I can't recall seeing outside of suttas and Victorian novels. "Nutrient" started off meaning the same, but has developed into something more scientific; chemical components of food which are good for the body. Vitamins, minerals, etc.

In MN 9 and elsewhere the term is āhāra, which has the broad meaning of "food"', "sustenance", "fuel" or "support". I'm not sure, but I think it might be related to the verb āharati, which means brings, carries, supports, etc., so the sense is what keeps the body going along.

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Zom
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Zom » Mon May 27, 2019 11:01 pm

"With the arising of craving there is the arising of nutriment" = If you're hungry, you'll eat food.

"With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of nutriment." = If you're not hungry, you won't eat food.

"The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path" = Good Buddhists follow the Noble Eightfold Path and don't eat food!
Nutriment (ahara) is a more complicated term than just "food". As Buddha says there are 4 kinds of nutriment (SN 12.11), or, maybe even it is better to say, nutriment is fourfold:

edible food,
contact;
mental volition;
consciousness.

So, nutriment is all these four, not only 1st one. These are never explained in the suttas, however, there is one very interesting and unique passage in Commy to Suttanipata which sheds some light:

Conditioned by nutriment: conditioned by nutriment associated with kamma.
Another method: Beings are fourfold
as those who fare on to form, those who fare on to feeling,
those who fare on to perception, and those who fare on to volitional activities.
Here, the beings in the eleven planes of the
desire realm are “those who fare on to form,” for they make
use of edible food as their nutriment. The beings in the form
realm, except the nonpercipient beings, are “those who fare
on to feeling,” for they make use of contact as their nutriment.
The beings in the three lower planes of the formless realm are
“those who fare on to perception,” for they make use of the
nutriment of mental volition produced by perception. The
beings at the peak of existence are “those who fare on to volitional activities,”
for they make use of the nutriment of consciousness produced by volitional activities. Thus in this way,
too, it should be understood: Whatever suffering originates is
all conditioned by nutriment.


So, nutriment is something by which all samsaric beings, even highest immaterial gods, are sustained. Cessation of nutriment is the cessation of at least 3 paticcasamuppada links - vinnyana, sanhkara, phassa. This fits well with the Third Noble Truth of Cessasion of Suffering, all these 3 things are there in this Truth, if you take a look 8-) 4th one, edible food, is, well, also there, in "Birth" factor, I suppose .) Or, maybe, in Existence (bhava) factor. As Commy says, "the beings in the eleven planes of the desire realm are “those who fare on to form,” for they make use of edible food as their nutriment".

Srilankaputra
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Srilankaputra » Tue May 28, 2019 5:19 am

LittleAl2019 wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 9:54 am
the emphasis it seems here on the understanding leading to the abandonment of lust rather than the abandonment of the nutriment.
Yes. Nutriment can be understood as the soil, the seed as the citta(or consciousness) and craving as moisture. When there is no moisture the seed does not take root. When it does not take root it does not flower in to future renewed existence.

What does it mean 'cessation of craving is the cessation of nutriment'. It means, when there is no craving, food, contact, mental volition and consciousness no longer functions as nutriment. It does not mean an Arahant is devoid of hunger, contact, mental volition or consciousness.

imo
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

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DooDoot
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by DooDoot » Tue May 28, 2019 5:42 am

Srilankaputra wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 5:19 am
Yes. Nutriment can be understood as the soil, the seed as the citta (or consciousness) and craving as moisture. When there is no moisture the seed does not take root. When it does not take root it does not flower in to future renewed existence.
The suttas appear to say "kamma" ("intention") is the "soil" or "field". Only one nutriment is "intention" and another nutriment is "consciousness". Since AN 3.76 says consciousness is the "seed", obviously consciousness as "nutriment" cannot be both the "soil/field" and the "seed".
Thus kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of living beings hindered by ignorance & fettered by craving is established in/tuned to a lower property. Thus there is the production of renewed becoming in the future.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
:candle:
Srilankaputra wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 5:19 am
What does it mean 'cessation of craving is the cessation of nutriment'. It means, when there is no craving, food, contact, mental volition and consciousness no longer functions as nutriment. It does not mean an Arahant is devoid of hunger, contact, mental volition or consciousness.
The above does not sound correct because suttas such as AN 10.61 refer to wholesome & supramundane dhammas as "nutriment".

:smile:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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sentinel
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by sentinel » Tue May 28, 2019 7:11 am

Question ,

The four nutriments is for contemplation , to cut it off at the roots the attachment .
If one translate ahara as edible food , the other three somehow is non materiality ie contact , volition and consciousness .
Therefore , do you think is it reasonable to regard it as edible food ?

Thanks
:buddha1:

Srilankaputra
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Srilankaputra » Tue May 28, 2019 8:26 am

DooDoot wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 5:42 am
obviously consciousness as "nutriment" cannot be both the "soil/field" and the "seed".
If there is desire, relishing, and craving for solid food, consciousness becomes established there and grows...

If there is desire, relishing, and craving for contact as fuel …

If there is desire, relishing, and craving for mental intention as fuel …

If there is desire, relishing, and craving for consciousness as fuel, consciousness becomes established there and grows.
https://suttacentral.net/sn12.64/en/sujato
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

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Jerafreyr
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Jerafreyr » Tue May 28, 2019 8:54 am

sentinel wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 7:11 am
Question ,

The four nutriments is for contemplation , to cut it off at the roots the attachment .
If one translate ahara as edible food , the other three somehow is non materiality ie contact , volition and consciousness .
Therefore , do you think is it reasonable to regard it as edible food ?

Thanks
Yes.
"Sensual desire is your first army, the second is called discontent, the third is hunger and thirst, the fourth craving..."

https://accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn ... .irel.html

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DooDoot
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by DooDoot » Tue May 28, 2019 11:56 am

Srilankaputra wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:26 am

If there is desire, relishing, and craving for consciousness as fuel, consciousness becomes established there and grows.

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.64/en/sujato
Well quoted but your ideas still appear incorrect. You appear to be saying all nutriment is unwholesome. Suttas such as AN 10.61 refer to wholesome & supramundane dhammas as "nutriment". In summary, you appear to be eliminating the "uniqueness" of the teaching about Nutriment and transforming it into just another teaching about defilements. "Nutriment" appears to be a necessity or requisite of life. The Buddha appear to be teaching how to use nutriment without craving. Obviously, an Arahant must eat food, must use volition & cannot avoid contact & consciousness (unless in nirodha samapatti). Thus when MN 9 says: "With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of nutriment"; this appears to mean: "With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of nutriment mixed with craving". This would be the same as when MN 9 says: "With the cessation of [ignorant] formations there is the cessation of consciousness". This does not appear to say when ignorance ends, unconsciousness occurs. It only appears to say an ignorant consciousness no longer arises, as described in SN 22.53:
If a monk abandons passion for the property of consciousness, then owing to the abandonment of passion, the support is cut off, and there is no landing of consciousness. Consciousness, thus not having landed, not increasing, not concocting, is released. Owing to its release, it is steady. Owing to its steadiness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .ntbb.html
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
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