Mutih comes from the word putih, which in Indonesian means ‘white’. In the context of fasting, mutih refers to a method of practice in which the practitioner is allowed to eat only white rice (‘nasi putih‘). During a period of mutih fasting one should refrain from eating tasty meals, which often include several spices. Even the most basic flavors of salt and pepper are not allowed when one upholds this fasting method.
Besides the sober meals, however, drinks are permitted as well. Though the same principle as for food applies for drinks; the practice of mutih is a form of renunciation, aimed at living a life in simplicity and relying solely on the basic necessities, therefore drinking only plain water should suffice.
If, however, someone with a Western cultural background would like to undertake mutih, then, of course, this person is allowed to implement some slight changes to the traditional diet that is prescribed for mutih fasting. For example, one may very well choose to eat only plain bread or cereals instead of white rice. Sometimes it is important to alter some of the external features of a particular form of practice in order to make it more suitable to one’s own characteristics. In this way, the practitioner enhances the effectiveness of his practice; thus, he or she will be capable of achieving the same inner goals as in the traditional form of practice.
Different rules apply for the number of meals allowed during a day of fasting, depending on the personal reasons for practising mutih. Someone who does mutih as a preparatory practice for performing some sort of ritual often tends to minimize his intake of nutrition. Whereas someone intending to use mutih merely as a means of enhancement for his individual practice, then, that type of person is more likely to adjust the amount of nutrition and the frequency of its intake according to his or her personal needs.
Again, it is important to consider one’s mental and physical strength and condition, for if one engages in intensive practice whilst unaware of his or her weaknesses, the practice may even cause that person a lot of harm. Without skillful means the practice is bound to fail. Thus, a certain amount of wisdom and understanding is essential at all times.