Eating Simple, Japanese Style

I had intended to write this post earlier when I first started my winter abstinence, but during recent events, this got pushed out a little. Anyhow, my wife and I have been together for more than half our life and her eating habits have rubbed off on me over time:

I’ve written about natto before. I enjoy eating it for breakfast a lot. It isn’t very filling, but it is light and healthy. I don’t cook miso soup every day for breakfast, but I do try to cook it regularly. With the tofu, it is warm and tasty, and just filling enough.

Per Buddhist teaching, food is something we need, like a medicine, but it’s always best to eat moderately if possible. Easier said than done,1 but it is essential to consider this.

But the lack of guilt from not overeating, nor the discomfort, is a reward in and of itself. Similarly, the eating enough to be satisfied will avoid the misery of excessive fasting.

In a small sutra in the Pali Canon, there is a conversation between the Buddha and King Pasenadi of the kingdom of Kosala. King Pasenadi had become obese from overeating, and could barely stand anymore. The Buddha told him in verse:

When a person is constantly mindful,
And knows when enough food has been taken,
All their afflictions become more slender
— They age more gradually, protecting their lives.

Donapaka Sutta (SN 3.13), translation by Andrew Olendzki

This moderation in food is not limited to Buddhist teachings however. You can find such advice in the words of Plato, Epicurus and Seneca, to say nothing of Taoism, Confucianism, etc.

P.S. the secret to cooking good miso soup is having good dashi (broth). It’s hard to find in the West, but avoid the cheap, artificial stuff if you can.

1 As someone who is pretty overweight, I wish I could that I say took care of my weight, but it is still a work in progress for me. Sometimes I like to write blog posts as much for myself as I for readers. 😏

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: