Physical Food as Nutriment

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Pulsar
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Pulsar » Tue May 28, 2019 12:22 pm

the word
nutriment
tends to create confusion in some, a bit of an archaic word, one of those words for which you cannot find the exact fit in English, Ahara like Asava or suññatā have to be contemplated in meditation.
To understand
nutriment/Ahara
is to contemplate on what Buddha
taught in
SN 12.63 Son's flesh
which was addressed to a group of monks that were beginning to enjoy the food offered by laymen, and were looking forward to it. It was more an admonishment.
Do not feed the sense bases, carelessly, be selective.
Feed your body just enough for sustenance
(you can't let the skin and bones wither and still meditate), likewise feed your senses just enuugh so you have the right mental frame for pursuing the supra mundane path. A pretty rigorous practice, not to be taken lightly.

Above is how I interpret SN 12.63 in the simplest possible way.
For instance below is the kind of exertion to be exercised in exposing oneself to contact,
that leads to feeling etc.

Excerpt from 'Son's Flesh'
And how is the nutriment of contact to be regarded?
Suppose a flayed cow were to stand leaning against a wall. The creatures living in the wall
would chew on it. If it were to stand leaning against a tree,
the creatures living in the tree would chew on it. If it were to stand exposed to water,
the creatures living in the water would chew on it. If it were to stand exposed to the air,
the creatures living in the air would chew on it.
For wherever the flayed cow were to stand exposed, the creatures living there
would chew on it.
In the same way, I tell you, is the nutriment of contact to be regarded.
When the nutriment of contact is comprehended, the three feelings
[pleasure, pain, neither pleasure nor pain] are comprehended.
When the three feelings are comprehended, I tell you,
there is nothing further for a disciple of the noble ones to do
.
Here is a link to a post of mine
on
Nutriment
under Personal Experience on DW
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=33793&p=503895#p503895.

Another link to something I posted
on Kayanupassana that also relates to contact. The rigorous avoidance of
harmful contact, is part of the noble path, Samma Sati, and Samma Samadhi
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=34464&p=514392#p514392. Understanding
of the 4 nutrients is essential to the Noble Path.

Srilankaputra
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Srilankaputra » Tue May 28, 2019 1:25 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 11:56 am
"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


I think the word nutriment is slipping us up. Here, nutriment is meant in the sense of support or fuel for the cycle of suffering. With the cessation of craving there is the cessation nutriment, simply means they do not function as fuel to produce repeated suffering.

And what you say is also correct. In the case of an Arahant food, contact, intention and consciousness does act as supports for life until the final passing away.

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.

sunnat
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by sunnat » Tue May 28, 2019 4:31 pm

hara is 'taking away life, destructive', then nutriment ahara 'life-giving, creative'. That which gives a push to become
The way leading to the cessation of that which creates, becoming, causal
By observing food rather than eating it the food stored in the body is consumed until none is left and life ceases. Similarly the other causes. This is the path. The continuous equanimous observation of anicca sets in motion the purification rather than otherwise 'feeding the continual becoming' (ahara)
Search: also See lapis lazuli texts for a translation
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Saṃyukta Āgama

371. The Nutriments
Translated from Taishō Tripiṭaka volume 2, number 99

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DooDoot
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by DooDoot » Tue May 28, 2019 8:21 pm

Srilankaputra wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 1:25 pm
I think the word nutriment is slipping us up. Here, nutriment is meant in the sense of support or fuel for the cycle of suffering.
No. Imo, the above is a very serious error. "Nutriment" is a necessity of life that is to be used in the right way.

For example, consciousness is necessary for the development of wisdom:
MN 43 wrote:“Wisdom and consciousness—
“Yā cāvuso, paññā yañca viññāṇaṃ—

these things are mixed, not separate.
ime dhammā saṃsaṭṭhā, no visaṃsaṭṭhā.

And you can never completely dissect them so as to describe the difference between them.
Na ca labbhā imesaṃ dhammānaṃ vinibbhujitvā vinibbhujitvā nānākaraṇaṃ paññāpetuṃ.

For you understand what you cognize, and you cognize what you understand.
Yaṃ hāvuso, pajānāti taṃ vijānāti, yaṃ vijānāti taṃ pajānāti.

That’s why these things are mixed, not separate.
Tasmā ime dhammā saṃsaṭṭhā, no visaṃsaṭṭhā.

And you can never completely dissect them so as to describe the difference between them.”
Na ca labbhā imesaṃ dhammānaṃ vinibbhujitvā vinibbhujitvā nānākaraṇaṃ paññāpetun”ti.

https://suttacentral.net/mn43/en/sujato
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Sam Vara
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Sam Vara » Tue May 28, 2019 8:47 pm

sunnat wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 4:31 pm
hara is 'taking away life, destructive', then nutriment ahara 'life-giving, creative'.
Could you give a reference for this, please? "Taking away" I am familiar with, but not the idea of taking away life or destruction.

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DooDoot
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by DooDoot » Wed May 29, 2019 12:29 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:47 pm
Could you give a reference for this, please? "Taking away" I am familiar with, but not the idea of taking away life or destruction.
Buddhism obviously appears to have become so distorted with obsession with hatred of life & annihilationism of imagined reincarnation (as shown my the majority of the negative posts on this thread & by Nyanaponika's essay) that the meaning of "ahara" appears misunderstood.
hāra
that which may be taken; grasping, taking; grasp, handful, booty. In cpd. -hārin taking all that can be taken, rapacious, ravaging

https://suttacentral.net/define/h%C4%81ra
Ahara in Hinduism

Āhāra (food) is the prime need of every individual & human-beings are the reflection of a sort of food which has been ingested by them. Today the food & food habits are changing according to changing life-style of present inhabitants. Āhāra is the prime need for the sustaining of life. In the concept of Trividha Upastaṃabha, Āhāra has its own importance, without Āhāra , life would not continue for very long.

Āhāra can be broadly divided in two types i.e.

Hitāhāra
and Ahitāhāra.
Hitāhāra, which is responsible for the normal growth and development of the Śarīra (body) and Ahitāhāra, also called as Viruddhāhāra, interferes with normal body function and their by causes many diseases or ill health.

https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/ahara
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Sam Vara
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Sam Vara » Wed May 29, 2019 12:43 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:29 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:47 pm
Could you give a reference for this, please? "Taking away" I am familiar with, but not the idea of taking away life or destruction.
hāra
that which may be taken; grasping, taking; grasp, handful, booty. In cpd. -hārin taking all that can be taken, rapacious, ravaging

https://suttacentral.net/define/h%C4%81ra
Yes, thanks. The taking aspect I know about (and referred to upthread) but there doesn't seem to be anything about taking life or destruction. The compound comes nearest to it, but only by virtue of intensification; it doesn't seem to be what the term āhāra negates. The latter seems closer to "takes", or "uses", from āharati. Either the food that is taken, or what we use and which sustains or carries us along, depending whether the term is used actively or passively.


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Sam Vara
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Sam Vara » Wed May 29, 2019 6:19 am

If you are referring to the last entry in the link:
-- hara taking away life, destructive M i.10=iii.97; S iv.206; A ii.116, 143, 153; iii.163.
then it only means taking away life or destructive of life because it is a compound word pana (life, breath) + ahara (the "taking away" bit). That's what the two little dashes before hara means. The existence of the English compound "life-denying" or "lifestyle" doesn't mean that "preserving" is always the preservation of life, or that a style is always about life.

Perhaps a Pali expert is needed here, but I haven't yet seen a convincing link between the bare term ahara and the notion of destruction or taking away life.

sunnat
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by sunnat » Wed May 29, 2019 7:17 am

Thank you.

LittleAl2019
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by LittleAl2019 » Wed May 29, 2019 8:14 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 9:37 pm
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.
Thank you. That clears it up - I see now that these are two different things.

As for the wider context you provided in the other teachings, this makes it clear it's probably about the cessation of craving and lust for food rather than the nutriment itself.

However, in the light of this, (and sorry for being pedantic) but why then does MN9 read, "The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path..." and not, "The way leading to the cessation of craving for the nutriment..." ? I know that just "nutriment" is consistent with the formula used throughout the rest of the sutta and that "craving" itself is dealt with later in it.
"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".

There are quite a lot of assumptions here - and I say this as a complete wide-eyed beginner so most certainly not critically, forgive me. You have clearly demonstrated why this assumption would be sensible however given the wider context. It just seems to me that it's a pretty big ambiguity in the original text (is it there in the Pali?). It seems it could give rise to erroneous interpretations (like mine!) that one should work towards the cessation of nutriment in the same way as one should work towards the cessation of "ageing and death", "birth", "clinging", "craving", "suffering" etc as appear elsewhere in the sutta, all of which come about as a result of exiting samsara (don't they?? Have I got that wrong...) Perhaps the emphasis on "working towards" is all mine and it's more a statement of fact, e.g. "If you practice the Noble Eightfold Path this is what will happen".

Anyway everyone, thank you for your ongoing responses. I had no idea there would be so many - it's all really interesting.

sunnat
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by sunnat » Wed May 29, 2019 9:20 am

"There are four nutriments which benefit sentient beings, causing them to abide in the world... "https://lapislazulitexts.com/tripitaka/ ... nutriments

" The way leading to the cessation of nutriments (which results in nibbana) is just this Noble Eight fold path. "

"by observing food rather than eating it the food stored in the body is consumed until none is left and life ceases" describes the process. It's the same for the causes where becoming ends. This is the path. The ardent patient continuous equanimous observation of anicca purifies the mind. The defilements rise and pass away until there are no more. This is to be experienced to be understood. To experience it (activate anicca) follow the path as described in the MahaSatipatthana Sutta.

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DooDoot
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by DooDoot » Wed May 29, 2019 10:43 am

LittleAl2019 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:14 am
However, in the light of this, (and sorry for being pedantic) but why then does MN9 read, "The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path..." and not, "The way leading to the cessation of craving for the nutriment..." ?
The above is exactly the same thing. The way leading to the cessation of craving is this Noble Eightfold Path. Whether it is "craving", "[craving for] nutriment", "kamma", "self", "suffering", defilement", "ignorance", etc, the suttas say the way to the ending of these things is this Noble Eightfold Path.
LittleAl2019 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:14 am
I know that just "nutriment" is consistent with the formula used throughout the rest of the sutta and that "craving" itself is dealt with later in it.
Yes, but as I have tried to point out to others, the teaching of "Nutriments" is a unique teaching or subject; therefore it receives special attention. "Nutriment" is a necessity of life where as craving is not a necessity of life. Thus it appears the Buddha provided a teaching about "Nutriment" rather than promoting or demonising these nutriments. The Buddha appears to be essentially saying nutriment is to be utilised without craving for the maintenance of the spiritual life.
LittleAl2019 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:14 am
There are quite a lot of assumptions here - and I say this as a complete wide-eyed beginner so most certainly not critically, forgive me. You have clearly demonstrated why this assumption would be sensible however given the wider context.
I advised the teaching of Nutriment is not clear in Buddhism because Buddhists have the tendency to make this teaching entirely "negative" or "unwholesome". I already quoted SN 12.63, for you, where the Buddha said to eat physical food like eating your own son's flesh when crossing the desert. The Buddha did not teach to avoid nutriment completely. He said nutriment "ceases" to be a problem when there is no craving for nutriment. This also applies to the links of Dependent Origination in MN 9. When MN 9 refers to the cessation of consciousness, for example, this does not mean becoming unconscious. It means a consciousness that arises conditioned by ignorance ceases when ignorance ceases. It means consciousness tainted or coloured by "asava" ("taints") ceases. It does not mean clear, bright, undefiled consciousness ceases (refer to SN 22.53).
LittleAl2019 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:14 am
It just seems to me that it's a pretty big ambiguity in the original text (is it there in the Pali?).
Its not ambiguous. SN 12.63 is not ambiguous. Please read SN 12.63 & SN 12.64. .
LittleAl2019 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:14 am
It seems it could give rise to erroneous interpretations (like mine!)
No. Your interpretation was normal. Even the most famous scholars & commentators misinterpret this teaching. It took many years for the penny to drop for me about what this teaching is about.
LittleAl2019 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:14 am
that one should work towards the cessation of nutriment in the same way as one should work towards the cessation of "ageing and death", "birth", "clinging", "craving", "suffering" etc as appear elsewhere in the sutta, all of which come about as a result of exiting samsara (don't they?? Have I got that wrong...)
No. Exiting samsara does not result in ending birth, aging & death. It is ending birth, aging & death that results in ending samsara. However, what birth, aging & death and samsara really mean is another topic. Similar to most Buddhists & scholars, you appear to conclude that "birth, aging & death" are something "physical" rather than mental ideas of egoism, such as "I am born, I am getting old & I will die".
LittleAl2019 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:14 am
Perhaps the emphasis on "working towards" is all mine and it's more a statement of fact, e.g. "If you practice the Noble Eightfold Path this is what will happen".
The Noble Eightfold Path is most briefly summarised as the abandoning of craving (MN 56.11; MN 37). When craving ends, "birth" ends. MN 38 appears to say (at the very end of the sutta) that "craving" & "birth" end while the mind remains consciousness of sense objects.
LittleAl2019 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:14 am
Anyway everyone, thank you for your ongoing responses. I had no idea there would be so many - it's all really interesting.
Whenever we struggle with a subject in sutta, in my experience, we need to look for the simplicity rather than for complexity. The Buddha said his Dhamma is well-spoken, plain, open, unconvoluted, free from patchwork, nothing hidden (MN 22 at the end). Dhamma is about giving up craving, as most briefly described in MN 37. I suggest to always hold to the "ending of craving" as the core teaching, as described in SN 56.11 (the 1st Sermon) and MN 37. In his very 1st Sermon, the Buddha said Nibbana or Cessation is the cessation of craving (3rd noble truth).

Kind regards & best wishes with your studies :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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Srilankaputra
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Re: Physical Food as Nutriment

Post by Srilankaputra » Wed May 29, 2019 11:23 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 10:43 am
Thus it appears the Buddha provided a teaching about "Nutriment" rather than promoting or demonising these nutriments. The Buddha appears to be essentially saying nutriment is to be utilised without craving for the maintenance of the spiritual life.
Can you provide some sutta references to corroborate your assertion?

I have seen instruction on using food in moderation for the maintenance of the spiritual life. But using contact and consciousness is not a teaching I have come across.

How would one use contact and consciousness?

And how should some one in training, who still hasn't uprooted craving utilise your intepretation?
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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