The time has come to talk about fruit, specifically Durian. Many of the monks who have been to the East come back to talk of many things, temples, jungle, chanting, Dharma connections, Buddha statues, great hospitality, the heat… I have talked about some of this however now is the time to bring you up to speed on the Queen of Fruit.
Yesterday my host offered me ice cream and I jumped at the chance, privately hoping for chocolate. My options were corn, red bean or durian flavour and, since vegetable ice cream was a bit of a stretch, I chose durian. Many an evening tea at Shasta Abbey has been taken up on discussing Durian, mostly the discussion is about the smell. Typically remembered as smelling like sweaty socks. So…when first in Asia, Taiwan I think, I was determined to give it a try just to be brave. In order to by pass the smell I took a deep breath in and then downed the flesh while breathing out. It worked! The taste is good although the texture described on a web site I just looked at is ‘creamy’. I would not be so…kind. I’ve since enjoyed durian on several occasions and seeing a Westerner eat it seems to bring a mixture of both joy and amazement to those who are watching, closely!
There is a concept called ‘heaty’ and durian is ‘heaty’. Not got to the bottom of what that actually means but presume its about being heating to the blood. One can antidote the ‘heaty’ effect of durian by running fresh water into the husk and drinking the water. Another tip is to run fresh water over the husk and wash ones hands in that water, hands that do not smell so good after handling the fruit.
Below is a paragraph from a web site that you might like to visit.
Eating a good durian is such a satisfying experience, blissful. As Mark Twain declared the cherimoya “deliciousness itself,” I say the durian is “blissfulness itself!” I think it perhaps not coincidental that so many of the buddha statues in Southeast Asia have been created with the head covered with points that very much resemble a durian. (And I say that knowing full well that in some countries the creation of those statues pre-dated the durians arrival.) Eating a good durian can be a spiritual experience, giving quite literally an exquisite taste of bliss.
Visit the web site at: http://www.durianpalace.com/
So there you have it, the Buddha statue connection and, since Durian is held in such high regard, the fact that the covering of the Buddha’s head resembles the husk of a durian can only be positive and even elevate the fruit even higher in the Asian mind and heart.
And the ice cream mentioned earlier? OK, although I missed having a husk to help wash off the smell and antidote the ‘heatie’ effect.