Buddha Jumps Over the Wall

Context: One of my roommates, when he heard me explaining to a friend about how stressful it was to try and find folklore from different sources, offered some of the stories he knew from his childhood.

Background: This is a legend behind a certain dish that my roommate knew about.

Dialogue: The way the legend goes is that the original person who created it was cooking the soup, and on the other side of “the wall” there was, um, a Buddhist, or maybe a Buddha, since that’s what they call them when they achieve nirvana, um, meditating, and once the soup was finished it smelled so good that, uh, the Buddhist monk summoned all of his strength and leaped straight over the wall just to have a taste of the soup.

Analysis: I looked up the recipe this legend is based on (see below), and the complicated cooking process is one of the biggest clues as to what might make it delicious enough for a Buddhist monk to forsake their oath of vegetarianism (anything that takes three days to cook MUST taste amazing). While the other stories I’d heard from this roommate revolved around Vietnam, I found that this legend is of Chinese origin, and collectively these pieces then show us how the spread of Buddhism has affected lives and folklore tellings across East and South Asia (or, at least, in more than just one country).

Annotation: The recipe for Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, as well as a slightly different origin of the dish, can be found here.

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