The four natural elements that makes us who we are, are made of earth, wind, water and fire, with a soul possessed inside us since birth. These things together are the things that made up a figure which the Buddha calls ‘Rooprakan.’ Rooprakan has errors all the time, mainly from hungerness and thirst. When I was walking through the old town of Bari, I saw something that is suffering, which is the street of pasta. There were rows of them, drying in the sun, some were ready to be taken home, some women were still rolling the dough to make them. This reminds me of the teaching of the Buddha of seeing suffering with one grain of rice. So I would like to write about what I seen, why is pasta suffering? Because of the reason it was made for, the processes to make it, and our effect of having it. When you eat one piece of pasta, is what you are eating happiness or suffering? So before you eat, what must you do? Before the pasta become cooked pasta, it was a dry pasta. What work do you have to do before it becomes cooked? You must find a stove, gas, pot, water, find pasta to put in. Then you sit and watch to control it, to see when this pasta will be cooked. These procedures are suffering or happiness? Because it has to use labour. Instead of us sleeping still, and be full from hungerness just by the thought of it, or be full and never been hungry. The hungerness is the suffering. Where does the pasta come from? Wheat that has grown from seeds. There is a hard process of farming wheat, ploughing it into the soil. When fully grown and picked, it is grounded into semonila, germinated, steamed, dried, crushed and cut, then broken into parts at the mill. The farmers who made this had to put up doing this work through all weather conditions- hot, cold, rain. If you don’t put up with it then you will not have anything to eat. You have to use all the energy you’ve got. Normally you want to rest more than work. However, with this type of work, if we don’t do it, then we will not have anything to eat. So is this condition happiness or suffering? Once the crop grows, are there enemies to the crops? Instead of just leaving it in the soil to grow, we cannot just relax and sleep, we have to watch out for the insects, repel them away from the food. Not only in this stage we have to care for, but also in the later stage when it actually becomes pasta. No proper rest. Is this the condition of happiness or suffering? Nowawadays people may use machinery to harvest the crops, but when it is time to harvest crops, they have to bend down, kneel down, despite their aches and pain in the body. This is the condition of happiness or suffering? Then you would ask, how did you acquire the land? If you had money then you would purchase the land. If not then you would have to chop down some forests. To get money, you have to get through labour right? Our punya/wisdom will answer yes. Is finding money
suffering or happiness? The equipment and machines that you buy to harvest, do you find them with suffering or happiness? In conclusion, even one mouthful of pasta that we eat, it comes from tiredness like this. So you must use your punya to analyse that everything that we have, all the necessities that people in this world has to use like blankets, houses, tools, medicine, all of these things comes from the labour that we have to risk with suffering, have to have with the power of suffering, and risk with dangers. Even if you are a farmer, a lawyer, doing everything you can for wealth, you have to do it with the risk of your own life. We might get bitten to death by a snake or attacked by somebody, perhaps by accident even. You have to swap it with your own life. Tiredness is not enough, you have to risk your life and be tortured with the symptoms that we don’t want. We get achy, tired and we want to stop but the work is not yet done. You cannot stop yet, so you have to put up with it and do it. You have to torture your own body until it is finished. Otherwise there will be no result.
So you must evaluate that everything that we have received in this world, we have received from suffering, especially, the things that are important to us, that is the food that we eat today, we eat suffering. Italy is centered around pasta which means it is centered around suffering.