The Buddha was a wandering mendicant monk – a bhikkhu, as called in the Theravadan tradition. He did not own anything, except for a few provisions such as an alms bowl, robes, a needle, a razor, a belt, and a water filter. He spent his time wandering, practicing, teaching the Dhamma, and growing the Sangha of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis.
Most days, he would go on alms round to acquire food for his meal. He would approach total strangers and they would give him food. He did not request a particular meal or a special kind of food – that was not his practice. The Buddha would take what was given to him and make it his meal for the day.
The Buddha spent a significant portion of his life as a mendicant monk. And this means there is a significant number of nameless people who nourished him (as well as the other bhikkhus and bhikkhunis) during this time. Most of their names and personal stories are lost to history. But the effects of their immeasurable generosity shine clearly today in all of our Dharma activities!
Thank you for nourishing the Sangha and watering the seeds of the Buddhadharma – whether you lived at the time of the Buddha or you are alive right now!
(Note: The list of items mentioned above can be found in H. W. Schumann’s The Historical Buddha (tr. M. O’C. Walshe), pages 166 – 167. He goes on to add that the list changed over time as the Buddha made extra provisions for the Sangha. Lastly, it is important to note that the Buddha did not just eat anything that was given to him. For example, he would take meat unless he saw, heard, or expected that the animal was killed for him. See Schumann’s book, page 102.)