Meat: To Eat It or Not

A Debate on Food and PracticeShakyamuni Buddha, Stuart Smithers, John McClellan, John Stevens, Gelek Rinpoche, Philip Glass, Bodhin Kjolhede, Zen Master Ryokan, Kate Wheeler, Lama Shabkar

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What the historical Buddha ate for his last meal has been the subject of much debate. The controversial passage from the  Mahaparinibbana Sutta, the sutta that recounts the Buddha's final days, tells us that on his last night the Buddha rested in the home of Cunda, a metalsmith apparently known to the Buddha. In honor of his guest, Cunda prepared (probably not personally) "hard and soft delicious food, and also a large quantity of sukaramaddava." The difficulty lies in the translation of sukaramaddava. The amateur mycologist Gordon Wasson studied the available literature on the problem and admirably summarized it in his essay "The Last Meal of the Buddha":

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