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The relationship between Buddhism and food in Sri Lanka

Traditional fishermen at the evening near Galle in Sri Lanka. The relationship between Buddhism and food in Sri Lanka

If you stand in the middle of a market in Sri Lanka your senses will be dancing. The dry heat and brightness of the sun radiate off the bright colours of fabrics. Merchants voices ring out over the crowds promoting their wares. Amongst this buzz of the market, the spices are the real star of the show.

Cloves, cardamoms, nutmeg, pepper, vanilla, ginger, lemongrass, citronella, turmeric, and curry leaves will be laid out in colourful displays that fill the air with their heavenly aromas. What you may also see is the sight of silent monks doing what appears to be begging for food. In the religion of Buddhism, monks relieve themselves of wealth and worldly possessions and commit their life to the spiritual paths of their community. What we may see as begging is actually a sacred and respected practice of giving and receiving. In Buddhist communities, monks are responsible for the spiritual well being of the community members and the community is responsible for the physical well being of the monks.

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