2

Is there a Buddhist tradition or practice, which involves developing or showing metta towards a non-sentient entity ... for example, towards a jar of rice?

If not, why not?

Is it theoretically possible (according to Buddhist theory) that such a practice might have an effect, an effect not only on the mind of the practitioner but also on the object ... for example, might speaking kindly to a sealed jar of cooked rice cause it to rot more slowly (as suggested by Masuro Emoto's rice experiment)?


Masuro Emoto's rice experiment was to put cooked rice in three sealed jars: then say hateful words to one jar, loving words to another, and ignore the third. Allegedly the rice jar to which were said loving words does well (rots more slowly), and the ones you ignore and say bad words to will do less well (they rot or grow mouldy more quickly than the other one).

Edit : the experiment didn't work - i also added two slices of the same apple next to the rice - and even the "good" rice and apple got rotten a bit faster

1

Is there a Buddhist tradition or practice, which involves developing or showing metta towards a non-sentient entity ... for example, towards a jar of rice?

Not that I know of.

If not, why not?

This essay says,

These four attitudes are said to be excellent or sublime because they are the right or ideal way of conduct towards living beings (sattesu samma patipatti). They provide, in fact, the answer to all situations arising from social contact.

Rice isn't a "living being", and one does not have "social contact" with rice.

Also I don't think that rice is capable of "suffering" (because it isn't sentient; it's inanimate), and so it's not a suitable object for "metta".

Is it theoretically possible (according to Buddhist theory) that such a practice might have an effect, an effect not only on the mind of the practitioner but also on the object

I don't think so. I think you're asking that the rice last longer before spoiling, that it be less impermanent; and I don't remember seeing doctrine which I could construe as saying that "wishing that something were less impermanent is enough make it so".

Conversely there's doctrine about doing rather than wishing: saying e.g. if you want a long life then you should do things which are conducive to long life (not just wish for it).

Perhaps being careful about preparing the rice you care for, and doing something such as cleaning the jar more carefully or sealing the jar more tightly, might show an experimental effect.

| improve this answer | |
  • thank you for uploading the question again - I added apples next to the rice doing the same thing (its a known variation of the rice experiment) and until now they are both in similar shape and the one i say good words to is even a bit worse – breath Aug 15 '17 at 21:13
1

Metta is practitioner's consciousness that thinking to make happy consciousness arise in the other lives. (sukhī attānaṃ pariharantu)

Rice never have happy consciousness arising.

Masuro Emoto's rice experiment was just utuniyāma. That experiment was just regular of nature. It doesn't mean rice has consciousness arising.

| improve this answer | |
1

Metta is practiced in order to overcome the feeling of negativity and alienation towards the world in the practitioner's mind. The grudge towards the world is replaced with compassion for the people. If this negativity is not removed it remains a drain of emotional energy and precludes attainment of Jhanas.

Since no-one normally has grudge against rice or apple, Metta towards it is a nonsensical concept.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.