I remember reading somewhere Buddha praising tasteful food? But I imagine taste of food going away also. Because Arahants itself shows not be disgusted for old porridge etc I imagine they just eat. That’s why the sort of food doesn’t matter for them anymore. I think the craving is what remembers the taste of each food. Since craving is cut there is no taste.
Does vedanā disappear for arahants, or do they just catch it before it takes root in the mind? If they still have vedanā, they still perceive pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant sensations.
If you have read this somewhere, too, could you share a reference for this?
I can’t remember now. But I think the Ratthapala sutta. The way some Arahant story is made. He asked porridge that was old being thrown away by his parents slave. And I think Sariputta explaining that he was not disgusted that a finger of the sick man fell in his bowl and after he ate without disgust. I don’t imagine him eating the finger. But I can imagine him get the finger out and keep eating without disgust. I guess they can taste that the food has good taste but in a sort of emptiness. The first taste that touch the taste bud might be the normal taste than it just cease? Maybe it happens so fast that it’s like rise and cease so fast while eating that the way we enjoy food is not possible. I think the reflection that Sangha has to do before eating was intended to train for mind to slowly lean towards how your mind becomes when Arahant. And Mindful eating is actually detecting taste also to lean towards the end goal.
Mindful eating is an interesting exercise. I don’t think we normally enjoy our food very much. A lot of the vedanā that appears in our mind goes by unnoticed because we are unaware, and we get caught up in saññā.
I would suspect that arahants enjoy their food much more because they are fully aware of the pleasant vedanā. They might also not be caught up by the unpleasant vedanā that the saññā normally interprets as “disgust” because their awareness catches it before it would turn into saññā (or into unskillful saññā).
The Ratthapala Sutta (MN 82) does recount “last night’s porridge” but does not mention disgust nor pleasure. There is no mention a finger. I would be curious if you find the original sutta!
I think it one similar to Ratthapala sutta but I think I saw the commentary explain ation of that sutta that it was porridge starting to rot something like that. So I’m just saying they don’t care to eat food like that.
And it was the verses of Mahakassapa actually in verses of the elders:
I entered the city for alms,stood courteously next to a leper
eating his meal.He, with his rotting hand,tossed me a morsel of food,and as the morsel was dropping,a finger fell off
right there.Sitting next to a wall,I ate that morsel of food,and neither while eating it,nor having eaten,did I feel any disgust.
But A monk told those verses seems written by same person. So maybe it might still give an idea of how Arahants are but maybe the elders didn’t say those poems. They where just written thinking about them. So some verses match with how each monk was.
Thank you for the reference! I indeed found the verse under Thag 18.1:
Sitting by a wall,
I ate that lump of rice.
I did not feel any disgust
while eating or afterwards.
ālopaṃ taṃ abhuñjisaṃ;
Bhuñjamāne vā bhutte vā,
jegucchaṃ me na vijjati.
Enjoyment as in “pleasure” does not seem to be directly addressed by this verse, and I definitely think that arahants retain “taste” because they have rūpa.
I think the five khandhas are a useful framework within which to think about this: rūpa (body), vedanā (sensation), saññā (perception), saṅkhāra (choices, volitional formations), viññāṇa (consciousness).
Because arahants have rūpa, my understanding is that they are subject to vedanā arising from contact. They perceive pleasant, neutral, unpleasant sensations.
Disgust is an interpretation given to sensations, some of which are unpleasant. For example, in this case the sight of the finger, perhaps the smells, the sounds, and contact with memory as well which tells you that there is a disease called leprosy which leads to decay of the body. But one can also interpret the situation in the way Mahākassapa did: the finger is not edible but the rice is. These interpretations are saññā.
In response to the saññā, whether one recoils, gags, or does any number of things refusing the alms, or one just decides to eat the rice and leave the finger aside, is saṅkhāra.
I would be glad to be corrected if my understanding is wrong!
Are you a layperson or monk? Now I remember I think your right because when Buddha for example feel a painful feeling but it’s just the mind is not effected to see as something against “self” . Feeling are there but it doesn’t become a personal thing. I think many meditators can confirm that maybe in higher attainments must be close what they feel when suddenly meditation becomes comfortable with no former pain etc. There is feeling but they are seen as tools to progress in meditation. But is there a recorded cases of people coming out of meditation with the normal taste of food gone?
I am a layperson, too.
I don’t know if there is but I am curious if so! In the jhānas, sensations from the body are said to completely disappear. But when one is eating or walking or engaging in any other activity, the body is not still, and I presume vedanā would be necessarily present.
OK. Nice to meet you.
Maybe whoever have seen a glimpse of Nirvana get different experience. And like in suttas the bliss can last week or month. It all depends on the person skills. But I think it must be like close to Nibbana but it’s just a glimpse so it doesn’t last until the person gets fully enlightent.
It would be rather extraordinary for a Bodhisatta to go to all the trouble of acquiring such an inordinately long tongue and super-powered taste buds (as related in the Lakkhaṇa Sutta) and then not be able to taste!
“Mendicants, in some past lives the Realized One was reborn as a human being. He would never hurt any sentient being with fists, stones, rods, or swords. Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in a heavenly realm. When he came back to this state of existence he obtained this mark: he has an excellent sense of taste. Taste-buds are produced in the throat for the tongue-tip and dispersed evenly.
Possessing this mark, if he stays at home he becomes a wheel-turning monarch. And what does he obtain as king? He is rarely ill or unwell. His stomach digests well, being neither too hot nor too cold. That’s what he obtains as king. And what does he obtain as Buddha? He is rarely ill or unwell. His stomach digests well, being neither too hot nor too cold, but just right, and fit for meditation. That’s what he obtains as Buddha.” That is what the Buddha said.
On this it is said:
“Not with fist or rod or stone,
or sword or beating to death,
or by bondage or threats
did he ever harm anyone.
For that very reason he rejoiced in heaven after passing away,
finding happiness as a fruit of happy deeds.
With taste-buds well formed and even,
on his return here he has an excellent sense of taste.
That’s why the clever visionaries said:
‘This man will have much happiness
as householder or renunciate.
That’s the meaning shown by this mark.’”
Suttas like that change the reality of what is to be truly Enlightenment I think.
For me I think there must have been phases in using Buddha as part of the Vedas marks.
As is seen in suttas itself the Brahmins was good in knowing the marks. Constantly referred to them. But real Buddha how do we know these things they say of him? Well it’s easy failing. Description of Buddha being bald many times. And one mark described the hair right? How can that mark be seen? I will tell what might have happened. And how it seems to happened. Or if did happen itself it’s still more acceptable to me. In the ARTHAPADA SUTRA in chinese translation there is the story of Buddha showing a dobbel of himself, and it probably started from that story that had the marks but it was dobbel of himself which had all the marks. But not himself. That is also a story in Pali Canon he himself dobbel and show the stages of life until old age and death for a woman to remove her Self beauty attachments. It’s very difficult to see how Buddha legends developed since we didn’t live in that time. But you can have an idea by reading the AṬṬHAKAVAGGA Of pali canon first and you see how more simple it is, then they started to add different beliefs behind it, some things Buddha is not even said in Sutta Nipata to have said himself. But a deva etc. For example one said A Bodhisattva was born. Only once. So here you respect not to put into Buddha what he himself didn’t say. Then it slowly started to change and the different names and legends they added becomes more obvious in the nikayas. There it’s a mix of old and new legends of Buddha. It’s the final work of Art. Meant to Inspire you towards enlightment. So I don’t such suttas to imagine how it would have been. But I did remember sutta Buddha explaining one person taste and passion arise and other one don’t. But the experience of passion not arising one have to experience for oneself.