How do you approach food? Do you love it, or do you hate it? Some people like food so much that they develop strong attachment in eating, while others dislike food so much that they develop an aversion to eating. The Buddha himself suggested the middle way: After going through both extremes, as a prince and as an ascetic, He concluded that neither is the ultimate way, and resumed regular food intake after 6 years of ascetic practices.
In the beginning of this sutra, we can see the Buddha himself demonstrating the middle way as a normal human in the world: He works (sharing blessings in exchange for food), eats, cleans (washing feet), and rests (sit). Here we see the same normalness as described by Laozi in Daodejing Chapter 70 – “saints can look like a normal person living a normal life, while living with wisdom and everlasting peace.”
Borrowing and applying the famous Chinese cook Martin Yan’s famous phrase: If the Buddha can eat, so can we!
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THE REASONS FOR THE DHARMA ASSEMBLY, ONE
Thus I have heard. Once upon a time, the Buddha sojourned in the Jetavana park near Sravasti with an assembly of twelve hundred and fifty bhiksus. One day, at mealtime, the World Honored One put on His robe, took His bowl, and entered the great town of Sravasti to beg for His food. He had begged from door to door, He returned to His place. When He had taken His meal, He put away His robe and bowl, washed His feet, arranged His seat and sat down.