Buddhist Cosmology in Food

In 2014/15 Dr Rita Langer made six documentaries on food offerings in Sri Lanka as part of a one year project "Feeding humans and non-humans in Theravada Buddhism". The project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and British Academy. The short videos show how Buddhists in Sri Lanka relate to the visible and invisible beings around them including gods, animals, hungry ghosts and monks by way of providing food. The result is a cosmology in food which emerges from the kitchens of Sri Lanka. Some of the offerings are made to avert misfortune, others are made in fulfilment of a vow. They range from very private feeding of crows to large scale public generosity stalls distributing free food to 3000 people. In Sri Lanka cooking is still largely, even though not exclusively, the domain of women and their voices are rarely heard.  A narrator was decided against in order to let the food makers tell their stories in their own words. The videos are in Sinhala with English subtitles. We are grateful to all the families and friends who shared their stories and let us film in their kitchens and backyards. Dr Rita Langer did the filming and rough cuts but had great help with editing from Azita Ghassemi. The music was composed by Stathis Kampylis and Kostas Andrikopoulos. Thanks also to Upali Perera (tabla).