44. On Cleanliness and Food.
The Pharisees and scholars from Jerusalem observed that some of his disciples did not follow all their traditional regulations regarding cleanliness and eating, and they complained to Jesus. He asked them why they went against the commandments of God to keep their tradition. Their tradition had perverted the commandment to honor father and mother by encouraging people to give gifts to the temple instead of to their parents. Washing one's hands before eating is a sensible idea for the sake of health, but these Jews had become fanatical about rules like this and had forgotten the mercy and love of God.
Isaiah had already described such hypocrites who follow the word literally and miss the Spirit because their hearts are not open; they ignore God and its word while enforcing the rules of humans.
Jesus then told everyone that the things outside of a person which go into one do not defile one, but what a person puts out through one's mouth may. This naturally offended the authoritarian Pharisees. Jesus explained that the action (plant) not sown by God would be eliminated (uprooted) as the karma was dissolved. It is better to leave them to their own devices, for they are trying to lead others while they themselves are blind; because of their stubbornness they and the ones who are blindly following them must learn of their errors the hard way (by falling into a ditch).
Peter asked to learn the implications of the teaching. Thus Jesus explained that what is outside of us that we take in as food for the physical body does not alter our consciousness but merely nourishes the body which naturally releases the waste matter to maintain physical health. What creates karma for us is the expression of our consciousness through thoughts, words, and actions which offend others or ourselves, such as murder, adultery, fornication, stealing, lying, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy and jealousy, slander, arrogance, foolishness, etc. When these things come out of our hearts, then we have corrupted our consciousness; but to eat without washing does not corrupt us.