|Eat well. We are what we eat: "All You Can Eat" (Sean Norvet/stay-gallery.com)|
|Big Buddha high in the Himalayas of Thimphu, Bhutan (D.A. Scott/dascayman/flickr)|
|Life of the Buddha (moviepilot.com)|
|Gilded Buddha, Thailand (hezbunch/flickr.com)|
|Golden Buddha (Herward J Bunch/flickr)|
And he saw that there were some offspring of good families, recently ordained, who ate almsfood without due reflection. Seeing this he thought: "When I practiced the perfections (parami) for four incalculable periods and 100,000 kalpas (ages, either normal lifespan or aeons), I did not do so for the sake of monastic requisites -- such as robes, alms food, and so on -- but for the sake of the highest fruition, of sainthood (arhatship, enlightenment), did I practice them. Also these monastics who went forth under me did not go forth for the sake of these requisites, but for the sake of attaining sainthood did they go forth. And now they take the unessential for the essential, the worthless for what is worthy!"
Such concern arose in him and he further thought: "If it were possible to declare a fifth grave offense (parajika), monastics partaking of food without due reflection should be made a fifth grave offense. It is, however, not possible to do so, because food is constantly used by beings.
"But I shall speak to them in such a way that they will consider (such thoughtlessness) as if it were a fifth grave offense. I shall place before them a 'mirror of the Dharma' for their self-control and restraint so that contemplating it again and again, the monastics of times to come will make use of the four requisites only after due reflection." [This is why he gave the ghoulish and strange simile of the son's flesh. Eat with care and reverence, with consideration and for the sake of enlightenment.] More