Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/09/2019

A Son’s Flesh

“And how, bhikkhus, should the nutriment edible food be seen? Suppose a couple, husband and wife, had taken limited provisions and were travelling through a desert. They have with them their only son, dear and beloved. Then, in the middle of the desert, their limited provisions would be used up and exhausted, while the rest of the desert remains to be crossed.

The husband and wife would think: ‘Our limited provisions have been used up and exhausted, while the rest of this desert remains to be crossed. Let us kill our only son, dear and beloved, and prepare dried and spiced meat. By eating our son’s flesh we can cross the rest of this desert. Let not all three of us perish!’

“Then, bhikkhus, the husband and wife would kill their only son, dear and beloved, prepare dried and spiced meat, and by eating their son’s flesh they would cross the rest of the desert.

While they are eating their son’s flesh, they would beat their breasts and cry: ‘Where are you, our only son? Where are you, our only son?’

“What do you think, bhikkhus? Would they eat that food for amusement or for enjoyment [99] or for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Wouldn’t they eat that food only for the sake of crossing the desert?”

“Yes, venerable sir.”

“It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that I say the nutriment edible food should be seen. 161 When the nutriment edible food is fully understood, lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure is fully understood. 162 When lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure is fully understood, there is no fetter bound by which a noble disciple might come back again to this world. 163

Samyutta Nikaya 12.63


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