Spk: Edible food should be considered as similar to son’s flesh by way of the ninefold repulsiveness: the repulsiveness of having to go out for it, of having to seek it, of eating it, of the bodily secretions, of the receptacle for the food (i.e., the stomach), of digestion and indigestion, of smearing, and of excretion. (For details see Vism 342-46; Ppn 11:5-26;
Visuddhimagga XI 5. One who wants to develop that perception of repulsiveness in nutrimentthere ten aspects are mentioned, the additional one being “fruit,” i.e., the repulsive parts of the body produced by food.) A bhikkhu should use his almsfood in the way the couple eat their son’s flesh: without greed and desire, without pickiness, without gorging themselves, without selfishness, without delusion about what they are eating, without longing to eat such food again, without hoarding, without pride, without disdain, and without quarreling.
should learn the meditation subject and see that he has no uncertainty about
even a single word of what he has learnt. Then he should go into solitary retreat
and  review repulsiveness in ten aspects in the physical nutriment classified
as what is eaten, drunk, chewed, and tasted, that is to say, as to going, seeking,
using, secretion, receptacle, what is uncooked (undigested), what is cooked
(digested), fruit, outflow, and smearing.
Spk: When the nutriment edible food is fully understood: It is fully understood by these three kinds of full understanding: (i) the full understanding of the known (ñātapariññā); (ii) the full understanding by scrutinization (tīraṇapariññā); and (iii) the full understanding as abandonment (pahānapariññā ). Therein, (i) a bhikkhu understands: “This nutriment edible food is ‘form with nutritive essence as the eighth’ (see n. 18 [see: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=10845#p164655]) together with its base. This impinges on the tongue-sensitivity, which is dependent on the four great elements. Thus nutriment, tongue-sensitivity, and the four elements—these things are the form aggregate. The contact pentad (contact, feeling, perception, volition, consciousness) arisen in one who discerns this—these are the four mental aggregates. All these five aggregates are, in brief, name-and-form.” Next he searches out the conditions for these phenomena and sees dependent origination in direct and reverse order. By thus seeing name-and-form with its conditions as it actually is, the nutriment of edible food is fully understood by the full understanding of the known. (ii) Next he ascribes the three characteristics to that same name-and-form and explores it by way of the seven contemplations (of impermanence, suffering, nonself, revulsion, dispassion, cessation, and relinquishment—see Vism 607; Ppn 20:4).
Visuddhimagga XX.4Thus it is fully understood by the full understanding by scrutinization. (iii) It is fully understood by the full understanding as abandonment when it is fully understood by the path of nonreturning, which cuts off desire and lust for that same name-and-form.
Herein, the plane of full-understanding as the known extends from the delimitation
of formations (Ch. XVIII) up to the discernment of conditions (Ch. XIX); for in this
interval the penetration of the specific characteristics of states predominates. The
plane of full-understanding as investigation extends from comprehension by groups
up to contemplation of rise and fall (XXI.3f.); for in this interval the penetration of the
general characteristics predominates. The plane of full-understanding as abandoning
extends from contemplation of dissolution onwards (XXI.10); for from there onwards
the seven contemplations that effect the abandoning of the perception of permanence,
etc., predominate thus:
(1) Contemplating [formations] as impermanent, a man abandons
the perception of permanence.
(2) Contemplating [them] as painful, he abandons the perception
(3) Contemplating [them] as not-self, he abandons the perception
(4) Becoming dispassionate, he abandons delighting.
(5) Causing fading away, he abandons greed.
(6) Causing cessation, he abandons originating.
(7) Relinquishing, he abandons grasping (Paþis I 58). (*)
* “‘Contemplating as impermanent’ is contemplating, comprehending, formations in
the aspect of impermanence. ‘The perception of permanence’ is the wrong perception
that they are permanent, eternal; the kinds of consciousness associated with wrong
view should be regarded as included under the heading of ‘perception.’ So too with
what follows. ‘Becoming dispassionate’ is seeing formations with dispassion by means
of the contemplation of dispassion induced by the contemplations of impermanence,
and so on. ‘Delighting’ is craving accompanied by happiness. ‘Causing fading away’ is
contemplating in such a way that greed (rága) for formations does not arise owing to
the causing of greed to fade (virajjana) by the contemplation of fading away
(virágánupassaná); for one who acts thus is said to abandon greed. ‘Causing cessation’
is contemplating in such a way that, by the contemplation of cessation, formations
cease only, they do not arise in the future through a new becoming; since one who
acts thus is said to abandon the arousing (originating) of formations because of
producing the nature of non-arising. ‘Relinquishing’ is relinquishing in such a way that,
by the contemplation of relinquishment, formations are not grasped anymore; hence
he said, ‘He abandons grasping’; or the meaning is that he relinquishes apprehending
[them] as permanent, and so on” (Vism-mhþ 780).
i]Lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure is fully understood:[/i] It is fully understood by (i) the singlefold full understanding (ekapariññā), namely, that the craving for tastes arisen at the tongue door is the same craving that arises at all five sense doors; (ii) the comprehensive full understanding (sabbapariññā ), namely, that lust for all five cords of sensual pleasure arises even in regard to a single morsel of food placed in the bowl (for food stimulates desire in all five senses); (iii) the root full understanding (mūlapariññā), namely, that nutriment is the root for all five types of sensual lust, since sensual desire thrives when people are well fed.
Spk: There is no fetter bound by which: This teaching is taken only as far as the path of nonreturning; but if one develops insight into the five aggregates by way of these same forms, etc., it is possible to explain it as far as arahantship.
"And how is physical food to be regarded? Suppose a couple, husband & wife, taking meager provisions, were to travel through a desert. With them would be their only baby son, dear & appealing. Then the meager provisions of the couple going through the desert would be used up & depleted while there was still a stretch of the desert yet to be crossed. The thought would occur to them, 'Our meager provisions are used up & depleted while there is still a stretch of this desert yet to be crossed. What if we were to kill this only baby son of ours, dear & appealing, and make dried meat & jerky. That way — chewing on the flesh of our son — at least the two of us would make it through this desert. Otherwise, all three of us would perish.' So they would kill their only baby son, loved & endearing, and make dried meat & jerky. Chewing on the flesh of their son, they would make it through the desert. While eating the flesh of their only son, they would beat their breasts, [crying,] 'Where have you gone, our only baby son? Where have you gone, our only baby son?' Now what do you think, monks: Would that couple eat that food playfully or for intoxication, or for putting on bulk, or for beautification?"
"Wouldn't they eat that food simply for the sake of making it through that desert?"
Cittasanto wrote:The one thing I take from this simile is just how powerful mindfulness of food should be, particularly as a lay person, our choices of what to eat. is it necessary to eat something just because we have the ability to get it, and appreciation to how we ended up eating and the effort gone through in order so we are not hungry.
Spk: Just as a cow, seeing the danger of being eaten by the creatures living in the places she might be exposed to, would not wish to be honoured and venerated, or to be massaged, rubbed, given hot baths, etc., so a bhikkhu, seeing the danger of being eaten by the defilement-creatures rooted in the nutriment contact, becomes desireless towards contact in the three planes of existence.
BB: Spk explains the full understanding of contact in the same way as for edible food, except that contact is taken as the starting point for the discernment of the five aggregates. When contact is fully understood the three feelings are fully understood because they are rooted in contact and associated with it. The teaching by way of the nutriment contact is carried as far as arahantship.
Spk: The charcoal pit represents the round of existence with its three planes; the man wanting to live, the foolish worldling attached to the round; the two strong men, wholesome and unwholesome kamma. When they grab the man by both arms and drag him towards the pit, this is like the worldling’s accumulation of kamma; for the accumulated kamma drags along a rebirth. The pain from falling into the charcoal pit is like the suffering of the round.
Spk: The three kinds of craving are fully understood: The three kinds of craving are craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, and craving for extermination. They are fully understood because craving is the root of mental volition. Here too the teaching is carried as far as arahantship by way of mental volition.
Spk: The king represents kamma; the criminal, the worldling; the three hundred spears, the rebirth-consciousness. The time the king gives his command is like the time the worldling is driven towards rebirth by King Kamma. The pain from being struck by the spears is like the resultant suffering in the course of existence once rebirth has taken place.
Spk: Name-and-form is fully understood when consciousness is fully understood because it is rooted in consciousness and arises along with it. By way of consciousness too the teaching is carried as far as arahantship.