Daigo (dairy product)

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Daigo (醍醐), or ghee, was a type of dairy product made in Japan during the 10th century.[1]


In Buddhism, ghee is used metaphorically to mean concepts such as "ultimate truth", "great nirvana" or "Buddha-nature". Ghee is thus mentioned in the Nirvana Sutra: [2]

譬如從牛出乳 從乳出酪 從酪出生酥 從生酥出熟酥 從熟酥出醍醐 醍醐最上

— 『大般涅槃経』

For example, from cows comes fresh milk; from fresh milk comes cream; from cream comes curdled milk; from curdled milk comes butter; from butter comes ghee (daigo), and Ghee is the best. - Nirvana Sutra

In Japanese, this is the origin of the word, daigo-mi (醍醐味), which means a superb flavor.[1]

Emperor Daigo is named after daigo, with the origin thought to be based on the above text. The Japanese Dairy Association claims that he encouraged the production of so and other cheese-like products during this reign. [1] Japanese daigo is thought to have come from China: the Compendium of Materia Medica quotes Song dynasty pharmacologist Kui Zongshi (寇宗奭)'s description of the method for making ghee. However, ghee (daigo) is not commonly made in either Japan or China today.

See also[edit]