The Buddha and the Philosophy of Food

Like other ancient Indian thinkers, the Buddha saw that existence could be related in one way or another to food. He underlined food’s fundamental importance when he said: “All that lives subsists on food” The quest for food is the basis of all human action as it provides the energy to sustain life. Thus the Pali word for food, ahara, is derived from the Sanskrit a-hṛ, to fetch, to bring near, or to convey to oneself. The Buddha spoke of four types of food or sustenance; material, mental impressions, volition and consciousness. The first of these maintains the body and can be either gross (olarika) or subtle (sukhuma), while the three others maintain the mind. The craving for is one of the factors which creates the momentum that leads to repeated rebirth.



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