According to legend, the last meal of the Buddha, the same of which effectively killed him, was something called sukaramaddava, meaning boar’s delight, and was given to him by the village goldsmith.(1) As others have speculated, sukaramaddva is a likely allusion to a sclerotia or truffle of some variety. For, truffles are a favorite food among wild boar, and specially trained pigs are employed to this day in order to locate these culinary delicacies.
Psilocybe tampanensis and P. mexicana are two species of psychedelic mushroom that are prone to producing sclerotia. In Amsterdam, where psilocybin-containing sclerotia are not controlled, these are known as Philosopher’s Stone Truffles and have in recent times become all the rage since psilocybin-containing fruiting bodies were outlawed there a number of years ago.(2) Even Tuber melanosporum, the so-called black truffle, arguably the most sought after delicacy of the culinary world, is possessed of a certain “bliss molecule” called anandamide which, according to enthusiasts, offers a THC-like high.(3)
Sclerotia are formed by arresting the life-cycle of sclerotia-prone mushroom species before they’re able to produce fruiting bodies. This makes sclerotia cultivation significantly easier than the delicate cultivation of fruiting bodies as, up until the sclerotia are harvested, the production process never goes beyond the inoculation stage.
Mike Crowley, author of Secret Drugs of Buddhism, has suggested that a further proof of the identification of sukaramaddava as a psilocybin-containing mushroom lies in the fact that it was offered to the Buddha in an attempt to save his life. For, the Buddha was suffering from dysentery. According to Vedic scriptures, Soma is said to confer upon its drinker the gift of immortality. As McKenna observes in his classic Psilocybin Mushroom Grower’s Guide, in 1984 heterodox Bengali Hindus announced the identification of the Vedic intoxicant Soma as being Psilocybe cubensis, one of the many psilocybin-containing fungus species. What better way to reverse the Buddha’s ill fate than a purported elixir of immortality?
Considered allegorically, on the other hand, the story of the Buddha’s demise may not refer to an actual death at all, but rather to the so-called ego death (comparable to the Buddhist concept of Anata or No-Self) which is commonly reported by users of psilocybin. This effect is believed to be caused by the silencing of the brain’s ‘central hub,’ resulting in a decreased sense of self as well as in the “hyperconnection” of certain portions of the brain which do not normally communicate.(4)
Whatever the case of sukaramaddava and the death of the Buddha may be, almost two-thousand five hundred years after his death, one cannot help but be repeatedly amazed by the persistent relevance of the Buddha’s life and teachings.
- www.buddhanet.net (The Life of the Buddha Pt. II)
Crowley, Mike Secret Drugs of Buddhism
Fleming, Nick Truffles Contain ‘Bliss’ Molecule
Ghose, Tia Magic Mushrooms Create a Hyperconnected Brain
McKenna, Terence Food of the Gods
McKenna, Terence Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide
Morris, Hamilton Hamilton and the Philosopher’s Stone