Suda Sutta - Meditation and Cooking

Buddha, the Founder of Buddhism

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"Suppose that there is a foolish, inexperienced, unskillful cook who has presented a king or a king's minister with various kinds of curry: mainly sour, mainly bitter, mainly peppery, mainly sweet, alkaline or non-alkaline, salty or non-salty.

He does not take note of1 his master, thinking, 'Today my master likes this curry, or he reaches out for that curry, or he takes a lot of this curry, or he praises that curry. Today my master likes mainly sour curry... Today my master likes mainly bitter curry... mainly peppery curry... mainly sweet curry... alkaline curry... non-alkaline curry... salty curry... Today my master likes non-salty curry, or he reaches out for non-salty curry, or he takes a lot of non-salty curry, or he praises non-salty curry.'

As a result, he is not rewarded with clothing or wages or gifts.

Why is that?

Because the foolish, inexperienced, unskillful cook does not pick up on the theme of his own master.

"In the same way, there are cases where a foolish, inexperienced, unskillful monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

As he remains thus focused on the body in & of itself, his mind does not become concentrated, his defilements2 are not abandoned.

He does not take note of that fact.3

He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

As he remains thus focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, his mind does not become concentrated, his defilements are not abandoned. He does not take note of that fact.

As a result, he is not rewarded with a pleasant abiding here & now, nor with mindfulness & alertness.

Why is that?

Because the foolish, inexperienced, unskillful monk does not take note of his own mind.4

"Now suppose that there is a wise, experienced, skillful cook who has presented a king or a king's minister with various kinds of curry: mainly sour, mainly bitter, mainly peppery, mainly sweet, alkaline or non-alkaline, salty or non-salty.

He takes note of his master, thinking, 'Today my master likes this curry, or he reaches out for that curry, or he takes a lot of this curry or he praises that curry. Today my master likes mainly sour curry... Today my master likes mainly bitter curry... mainly peppery curry... mainly sweet curry... alkaline curry... non-alkaline curry... salty curry... Today my master likes non-salty curry, or he reaches out for non-salty curry, or he takes a lot of non-salty curry, or he praises non-salty curry.'

As a result, he is rewarded with clothing, wages, & gifts.

Why is that?

 Because the wise, experienced, skillful cook picks up on the theme of his own master.

"In the same way, there are cases where a wise, experienced, skillful monk remains focused on the body in & of itself... feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

As he remains thus focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, his mind becomes concentrated, his defilements are abandoned.

He takes note of that fact.

As a result, he is rewarded with a pleasant abiding here & now, together with mindfulness & alertness.

Why is that?

Because the wise, experienced, skillful monk picks up on the theme of his own mind."

-- Samyutta Nikaya XLVII.8

Suggestions for Further Reading

Notes

1. Lit.: "pick up on the theme of."
2. Comy: the five Hindrances (niivara.na).
3. Or: "does not pick up on that theme."
4. Or: "does not pick up on the theme of his own mind."

Source:Copyright © 1997 Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Reproduced and reformatted from Access to Insight edition © 1997 For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted, and redistributed in any medium. It is the author's wish, however, that any such republication and redistribution be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and that translations and other derivative works be clearly marked as such.

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