BE NOT ATTACHED TO FOOD
Yesam sannicayo natthi ye parinnata bhojana
Sunnato animitto ca vimokkho yassa gocaro
Akase' va sakuntanam gati tesam durannaya.
Arahants have noaccumulation;1when takingfood2they reflect well over it. They have as their objectDeliverance,3which is Void and Signless. Their destination, like the course of birds in the air, cannot be traced.
Venerable Bellatthi Sisa, after going on an almsround in the village, stopped on the way and took his food there. After the meal, he continued his round of alms for more food. When he had collected enough food he returned to the monastery, dried up the rice and stored it. Thus, there was no need for him to go on an almsround every day. Every few days, whenever he arose from jhana concentration he would eat the dried rice he had stored up, after soaking it in water. Other bhikkhus thought ill of the monk on this account, and reported to the Buddha about his hoarding of rice. The Buddha saw how the bhikkhu's action, if imitated by others, could lead to abuse and discouraged bhikkhus from hoarding food since then. He advised them that they should try to maintain the simplicity and purity of a monk's life by not having any kind of possession.
As for Bellatthi Sisa, since he stored up rice before the ruling on hoarding was introduced and because he did it not out of greed for food, but only to save time for meditation practice, the Buddha declared that the monk was quite innocent and that he was not to be blamed.
The Buddha also explained that Arahants do not hoard anything and when taking food they reflect well over it4
- There are two kinds of accumulation - namely, kammic activities and the four necessaries of life.
The former tend to prolong life in Samsara and the latter, though essential, may prove an obstacle to spiritual progress.
- To get rid of the desire for food.
- Nibbana is Deliverance from suffering (vimokkha). It is called Void because it is void of lust, hatred and ignorance, not because it is nothingness or annihilation. Nibbana is a positive supramundane state which cannot be expressed in mundane words. It is Signless because it is free from the signs of lust etc. Arahants experience Nibbanic bliss while alive. It is not correct to say that Arahants exist after death, or do not exist after death, for Nibbana is neither eternalism nor nihilism. In Nibbana nothing is eternalised nor is anything, except passions, annihilated.
- Arahants experience Nibbanic bliss by attaining to the fruit of Arahanthood in this life itself.