How To Prevent Drowsiness From Overeating

With right mindfulness
is there skilful restraint from evil.
With right mindfulness
is there skilful diligence in good.


This instruction was given by the Teacher (Buddha) while he was in residence at Jetavana with reference to King Pasenadi of Kosala. At a certain period of his life this king used to eat boiled rice cooked by the bucketful, and sauce and curry in proportion. One day after he had his breakfast, unable to shake off the drowsy feeling occasioned by overeating, he went to see the Teacher and paced back and forth before him with a very weary look.

Overcome by drowsiness, unable to lie down and stretch himself out, he sat down on one side. Thereupon the Teacher asked him, “Did you come, great king, before you were well rested?” — “Oh no, reverend sir,” replied he king, “but I always suffer greatly after eating a meal.” Then said the Teacher to him, “Great king, overeating always brings suffering in its train.” So saying, he pronounced the following stanza (of the Dhammapada) 325:

A dullard drowsy with much gluttony,
Engrossed in sleep, who wallows as he lies,
Like a great porker stuffed with fattening food,
Comes ever and again unto the womb.

At the conclusion of the lesson the Teacher, desiring to help the king, pronounced the following stanza:

If a man is ever mindful,
If moderate in taking food,
His sufferings will be but slight,
He ages slowly, preserving his life.

The Teacher taught this stanza to Prince Uttara and said to him, “Whenever the king sits down to eat, you must recite this stanza to him, and by this means you must cause him to diminish his food.” In these words the Teacher told him just what means to employ. The prince did as he was directed. After a time the king was content with a pint-pot of rice at most, and became lean and cheerful. He established intimate relations with the Teacher and for seven days gave “the gifts beyond compare.” When the Teacher pronounced the words of rejoicing for the gifts presented to him by the king, the assembled multitude obtained great spiritual advantage.

A Treasury Of Buddhist Stories From The Dhammapada Commentary
Translated By E.W. Burlingame

1 Comment

  • Thanks for the Stanza: I love it a lot
    It help us to mindful of the food we are taking in and at the same times, This may inspire me to lose some weight, good for my health and meditation.
    It also helps us to live longer so that we can lengthen our Buddhist practice

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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