Food is the worst slavery

«The reason people do not attain Tao is because their minds are confused and deluded, and the reason their minds are confused and deluded is because external things disturb them. The three greatest disturbing factors are ambition, sex, and food. Although ambition may occupy the mind daily, the essential thing is to avoid a moment-by-moment enslavement to it. Sex is of course a relatively more serious matter. But food is the worst slavery of them all. These three are the root out of which all other evils grow, like branches and leaves. The Buddha understood that if these three are not eradicated, there is no point from which one may begin to seek enlightenment, so he had to find a method for making the eradication as simple and easy as possible. He could have just said. “These three things are the root of all evil and are therefore strictly forbidden.” But these three are precisely the things about which human feelings are most deluded, and hence they are extremely difficult to dismiss by mere conscious thought. Even if the Buddha had wanted to prohibit them, in the end enforcing the prohibition would have been well-nigh impossible. It’s like a raft of lashed boats crossing a river. Not that the boatman would not want to cross directly to the opposite shore. But since the current is swift there is no possibility of crossing directly. So he has no choice but to cross diagonally with the current, and only after a long time finally to reach the other side… For this reason, the evening meal was moved up to before midday. Thus, after midday the monks can be pure and free from distractions. Because of this freedom their conscious thoughts become simpler. At first, they may still not be entirely single-minded, but after a while they become habituated to it… [Eating before midday] might be called the “fish-trap and rabbit-snare” for getting rid of enslavement to food, the “direct path” to Tao. There are of course some who think there is nothing more to it than just not eating [after midday]. But this is simply a failure to understand where the path leads…»

– Shen Yueh (441-513 d.C.), “On Keeping the Tradition of the Monks’ Midday Meal” (“Shu seng chung-shih lun”), a tract about the single pre-meridian meal of Buddhist Shangas. Source.


«Consumimos os alimentos ou somos consumidos pelos alimentos (bhutani atti adyatê cha)».

– Taittiriya Upanishad, sobre a alimentação (annam) como cura (aushadhih).


«Interessa-me de modo bem diferente um problema do qual, muito mais do que qualquer curiosidade de teólogos, depende a saúde da humanidade: o problema da nutrição. Em forma corrente, pode cada homem pôr-se tal problema nestes termos: “Como hás-de alimentar-te para chegar a possuir o mais alto grau de “virtude””, segundo o estilo do Renascimento, de virtude liberta de todo o elemento moral?”. (…)»

– Nietzsche, “Ecce Homo”


«Digestion means making the body function. So let it sleep – almost dead, no function».

– Osho (about his prison).


«A thousand other evils might be mentioned, but all put together, in their bearing upon the problem under discussion, they could not equal a single one, the want of food, brought on by poverty, destitution, and famine. Millions of individuals die yearly for want of food, thus keeping down the mass. Even in our enlightened communities, and not withstanding the many charitable efforts, this is still, in all probability, the chief evil. I do not mean here absolute want of food, but want of healthful nutriment. How to provide good and plentiful food is, therefore, a most important question of the day. On the general principles the raising of cattle as a means of providing food is objectionable, because, in the sense interpreted above, it must undoubtedly tend to the addition of mass of a “smaller velocity.” It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarious habit. That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory, but a well-demonstrated fact. Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superior physique and strength. There is no doubt that some plant food, such as oatmeal, is more economical than meat, and superior to it in regard to both mechanical and mental performance. Such food, moreover, taxes our digestive organs decidedly less, and, in making us more contented and sociable, produces an amount of good difficult to estimate. In view of these facts every effort should be made to stop the wanton and cruel slaughter of animals, which must be destructive to our morals. To free ourselves from animal instincts and appetites, which keep us down, we should begin at the very root from which we spring: we should effect a radical reform in the character of the food. There seems to be no philosophical necessity for food. We can conceive of organized beings living without nourishment, and deriving all the energy they need for the performance of their lifefunctions from the ambient medium. In a crystal we have the clear evidence of the existence of a formative life-principle, and though we cannot understand the life of a crystal, it is none the less a living being.»



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