Monday, October 7, 2013

Autumn Festival: story behind the cakes (sutra)

CC Liu, Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Zen Vuong (Pasadena Star-News); Pacific Asia Museum
The glorious harvest moon refulgent with yin energy (donnalewisconan)
Father and son make lantern
The Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates harvest, family reunions, and hope for another year of good fortune.

Some believe the celebration’s roots originated from the Chinese rebellion against the Mongols, who detested moon cakes. The Chinese rebel leader, Zhu Yuanzhang, had a hard time organizing a coup because large gatherings were outlawed, reports So the rebels baked a slip of paper into moon cakes. It ordered insurgents to attack on the 15th day of the 8th lunar year. Thus the Chinese eat moon cakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival to celebrate this successful overthrow.
Tea with dense, sickly sweet cakes.
Thanksgiving [means] the centerpiece for this Chinese and Vietnamese harvest celebration doesn’t include a bulky dead bird. During Zhongqiu Jie, or the Mid-Autumn Festival, people give family, friends, and colleagues moon cakes, a small but filling pastry embossed with a description of its innards or the name of a bakery. Others have patterns of clouds, the moon, or a rabbit [a lucky symbol of the moon]....
“It’s almost like a Christmas fruitcake. It’s a traditional gift...,” said Becky Sun, a Pacific Asia Museum spokeswoman. “Adult children give them to parents and seniors. Friends and business partners give them to each other...” More 

The Miserly Treasurer
Ken and Visakha Kawasaki (trans), Illisa Rebirth Tale (Jataka 78)
The miser didn't enjoy his riches either
This story was told by the Buddha while at Jetavana Grove about a tremendously rich royal treasurer.

He lived in a town called Sakkara near the city of Rajagaha and had been so tightfisted that he never gave away even the tiniest drop of oil that could be picked up with a blade of grass. Worse than that, he wouldn't even use that minuscule amount of oil for his own satisfaction. His vast wealth was actually of no use to him, to his family, or to the deserving people of the land.
Moggallana, however, led this miser and his wife to Jetavana, where they served a great meal of cakes to the Buddha and a large number of monastics. After hearing words of thanks from the Buddha, the royal treasurer and his wife attained stream-entry.

That evening the monastics gathered together in the Hall of Truth. "How great is the power of Ven. Moggallana!" they said. "In a moment he converted the miser to charity, brought him to Jetavana, and made possible his attainment. How remarkable is the elder!" While they were talking, the Buddha entered and inquired as to the subject of their discussion.
When they told him, the Buddha replied, "This is not the first time, monastics, that Moggallana has converted this miserly treasurer. In previous days too the elder taught him how deeds and their effects are linked together." Then the Buddha told this story of the past [past life].
The best cake is raw vegan berry cheesecake California-style (
Long, long ago, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benaresaranasi, there was a treasurer named Illisa who was worth 80 crores of wealth. This man had all the defects possible in a person. He was lame and hunchbacked, and he had a squint; he was a confirmed miser, never giving away any of his fortune to others, yet never enjoying it himself either.
Interestingly enough, however, for seven generations back his ancestors had been bountiful, giving freely of their best. When this treasurer inherited the family riches, he broke that tradition and began hoarding his wealth.
One day, as he was returning from an audience with the king, he saw a weary peasant sitting on a bench and drinking a mug of cheap liquor with great gusto. The sight made the treasurer thirsty for a drink of liquor himself, but he thought, "If I drink, others will want to drink with me. That would mean a ruinous expense!" The more he tried to suppress his thirst, the stronger the craving grew.
The effort to overcome his thirst made him as yellow as old cotton. He became thinner and thinner until the veins stood out on his emaciated frame. After a few days, still unable to forget about the liquor, he went into his room and lay down, hugging his bed. His wife came in, rubbed his back, and asked, "Husband, what is wrong?" "Nothing," he answered. More

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