Eating after midday.

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:24 pm

It's not just about not harrassing the lay supporters and making oneself difficult to support, it is also good for one's own practice, and good for health too.

Read the Bhaddali Sutta, where the Buddha recommended just one meal a day.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Anagarika » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:27 pm

My two baht on the subject is that, first, it's not a begging round. The Bhikkhus don't beg, anymore than the laity feels forced to offer food. The monks can't ask for anything. If no one provides alms, they go hungry. The relationship is mutual, supportive, and beneficial.

In 2013, reasonable people can always suggest that Vinaya rules don't apply anymore. Why not let Bhikkhus drive cars? Why not sleep on a big, comfy bed, or wear jewelry to look nice? As Bhante suggested earlier, these precepts cultivate moral discipline and, in practice, mitigate defilements. In my view, these practices can be inspirational to the laity. There are certain practices that the monks keep that make them mindful monks. One can always rightfully suggest that a practice or ritual does not make sense in modern times, but for me, that argument doesn't take away from the value of the practice or ritual. Is it useful that we all are mindful of what we consume, and how we view our relationship to food, our cravings, wants and desires for consumption of all things? As Gil Fronsdal puts it:

Rituals, as important elements of human life, have been a significant aspect of Buddhist practice since the time of the Buddha. Rituals are a form of language that expresses many dimensions of our human condition, including our relationships to others and to our spiritual life. As actions done with others to share our common values, rituals help create community and mutual support. As a way of being mindful, they can bring a heightened awareness to aspects of our experience needing attention. Rituals often involve symbolism and speak to our subconscious. And when they are repeated frequently, they shape our dispositions. When done whole-heartedly, they help us discover and express some of our deepest feelings and aspirations. http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:39 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:It's not just about not harrassing the lay supporters and making oneself difficult to support, it is also good for one's own practice, and good for health too.

Read the Bhaddali Sutta, where the Buddha recommended just one meal a day.


It was probably common amongst śramaṇas in Magadha at the time too, but it isn't absolutely necessary, or even desirable in colder climates where regular consumption of food is probably better for maintaining warmth and health.

I personally don't see why a rule needs to exist concerning one's eating schedule. If someone wants to eat dinner, eat dinner. There's no need to feel guilty about this or even call it immoral. Nobody is harmed in the process. One might argue the Buddha established a rule against it, but then the Vinaya literature is probably a later development and largely ahistorical, even fictional. Schopen believes that the Vinaya literature and vihāra monastic system are in fact post-Aśoka (304-232 BCE):

    If the compilers of the various Vinayas considered it ‘highly important’ to regulate the lives of their monks so as to give no cause for complaint to the laity, and if considerations of this sort could only have assumed high importance after buddhist groups had permanently settled down, then, since the latter almost certainly did not occur until well after Aśoka, it would be obvious that all the Vinayas that we have are late, precisely as both Wassilieff and Lévi have suggested a hundred years ago.

    ...

    Even in the later inscriptions from Bharhut and Sanchi there are no references to vihāras, and they begin to appear—though still rarely—only in Kharosṭḥī records of a little before and a little after the Common Era, about the same time that the first indications of permanent monastic residential quarters begin to appear in the archaeological record for the Northwest, and this is not likely to be mere coincidence.


*Quoted in See Johannes Bronkhorst, Buddhism in the Shadow of Brahmanism Handbook of Oriental Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 18-19.

With that in mind, I don't see such prescriptions as all that necessary or even convincing.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:51 pm

ccc
BuddhaSoup wrote:The monks can't ask for anything.


Nevertheless they inevitably do or at least gesture strongly that they want something.

If no one provides alms, they go hungry.


According to the book this is what is supposed to happen, but prescriptive is not descriptive.


In 2013, reasonable people can always suggest that Vinaya rules don't apply anymore.


A lot of it doesn't apply any longer. In fact a lot of it never applied. Much of the Vinaya literature we have today reflects landed monastic concerns where benefactors demanded certain idealized monks to be their fields of merit. This does not really work and never has. If you know how the real world of monasticism works, you'll know the Vinaya is largely ineffective and only enforced when the powers that be feel compelled to punish someone. You might say the fault lay with the people, not the system, but pushing an unrealistic system on people is simply unreasonable.


Why not let Bhikkhus drive cars?


Why not? Plenty of bhikṣus in other traditions drive cars. In fact, the rule says a monk isn't supposed to get into a vehicle unless ill. So, flying or riding in a bus is unacceptable and a transgression, technically speaking.


As Bhante suggested earlier, these precepts cultivate moral discipline and, in practice, mitigate defilements.


With wrong view, however, they propagate the eight worldly dharmas. People become afraid of worldly scorn and shame for breaking precepts. They think of what they gain or lose by following the precepts. They might seek and enjoy praise for being well-cultivated in their precepts. They might fear punitive measures taken against them for defying ecclesiastical law and the powers that be.

Also the Vinaya based disciplinary system can be rather inhumane at times. One text, if I recall correctly from the Sarvāstivāda commentary tradition, suggests you can get a benefactor to withhold food if you suspect a monk has committed a misdeed in order to make them confess it. So, if they take food that hasn't been given, you nail them for that, but on the top of that starve them to make them confess.

That is torture in my definition. Ancient Buddhist ecclesiastical law was rather inhumane at times in my opinion after having studied the subject. However, it often reflects worldly, not spiritual, concerns, and modern scholarship often agrees with this conclusion as I've illustrated above.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Anagarika » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:13 pm

Ven. Indrajala, respectfully, this is an interesting issue and I won't address your thoughtful comments one by one. Again, I feel reasonable people can disagree on the role of Vinaya in Buddhist practice, as well as disagree on the etiology.

If you know how the real world of monasticism works, you'll know the Vinaya is largely ineffective and only enforced when the powers that be feel compelled to punish someone.


I was in robes for a time at an excellent Wat, excellent Abbot, and in the company of good Vinaya Bhikkhus in Thailand. On the contrary, the energy and the practice was itself very positive, and this energy flowed not just through the Wat but through the laity. The Vinaya were not just rules, or "discipline sticks." They were this aspect of healthy practice that Dr. Fronsdal described. I never saw the Vinaya employed as a vehicle for punishment; there was no sense of this at all. Even in the Thai tradition, the emphasis is on the monk being accountable to him/herself and to the Sangha as a whole, vs. the Sangha acting as a judge and jury over Vinaya offenses.

There are excellent monastics on all of the major traditions. Some incorporate Vinaya and some do not, as you know. My own view is that the Vinaya practices speak to an important aspect of modern practice, in a culture that is increasingly greedy, angry and deluded. The Vinaya monk is just one way that the ordained community speak to the increasing greed and consumerism among especially the young people of the west and Asia. These practices, as Dr. Fronsdal puts it, are relevant as they are symbolic and speak to the subconscious.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:25 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:I was in robes for a time at an excellent Wat, excellent Abbot...


It is good that you had a positive experience, but let's not be naive and idealistic. The sangha around the world has a lot of problems. I frequently hear horror stories, both from Theravada and Mahāyāna sources.

My own view is that the Vinaya practices speak to an important aspect of modern practice, in a culture that is increasingly greedy, angry and deluded. The Vinaya monk is just one way that the ordained community speak to the increasing greed and consumerism among especially the young people of the west and Asia.


Buddhism is statistically in decline around Asia, though. In general having monks wear robes and not eat after noon doesn't impress younger generations as it did older generations. You don't address consumerism and greed through not eating dinner. There are alternative more effective approaches to dealing with modern problems. It requires that you understand the problems for what they are and speak coherently and intelligently about them.

In fact I'd argue being socially active with people is probably more conducive to long-term sustainability. That means having dinner on a Friday night with Buddhists and talking about life rather than abiding by social conventions that might have made sense in ancient Magadha.

Evolve or perish.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Anagarika » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:45 pm

Ven. Indrajala, again, an interesting subject. My own take on the "evolution" of the ordained community away from the Vinaya is that this evolution has lead to some of the real problems in the Buddhist ordained community. I agree with you completely that every school has had its share of tragedies and crimes. So long as we keep ordaining human beings we will have sexual abuses, financial abuses, and other crimes. Yet, my argument would be that once the Vinaya was dropped in the (8-13th century?) medieval period of Buddhist migration out of India into China and Japan in the CE, some of that 'subconscious' discipline evaporated. Monks married, ate food all day long, and drank alcohol. Monks married and had families. This evolution from a Vinaya world into the fabric of the lay society may have provided political and societal benefits ( I'm focusing on Japan here) , but in my view was the start of the slippery slope toward the erosion of the respect for the monastic community.

Here in the US, I'm starting to hear the drum beat for a return to the Vinaya ethos in the wake of the Eido Shimano, et al, scandals. I'm not suggesting that Vinaya rules are a panacea for bad conduct, but argue that once in our conscious practice or subconscious the ordained community deviate from these rather useful Vinaya sensibilities, we/they set the course for further disciplinary problems, again, in a society where it's just all to easy to find corrupt behaviors.

I've followed your travels and read your scholarship, Ven. Indrajala. I respect what you do and how you conduct your life. You may be the example of the non-Vinaya monk that makes the case for a more modern ordination platform, and who does not need the Vinaya to live an unquestioned life and has the respect of the laity around you. I just see you as the exception, rather than the rule, here in the west.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:04 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:Yet, my argument would be that once the Vinaya was dropped in the (8-13th century?) medieval period of Buddhist migration out of India into China and Japan in the CE, some of that 'subconscious' discipline evaporated.


I have to wonder how much discipline existed even in India. Now, granted, in the Tang you had figures like Yijing visiting and discussing how strict and pure their Vinaya was, but that might have been selective observations in the elite monasteries like Nalanda where you needed to know the Vinaya inside and out as part of the membership requirements.

Monks married, ate food all day long, and drank alcohol. Monks married and had families. This evolution from a Vinaya world into the fabric of the lay society may have provided political and societal benefits ( I'm focusing on Japan here) , but in my view was the start of the slippery slope toward the erosion of the respect for the monastic community.


Japan had no Vinaya for a number of centuries, yet still maintained celibate monasticism. I wrote an article about this:

http://huayanzang.blogspot.sg/2013/06/b ... inaya.html

You actually can have a living and vibrant monastic system without the Indian Vinaya. Japan's Buddhist degeneration was not a result of letting monks marry, but more to do with extreme secularization and rationalization of society. Up until the post-WWII period, Japanese Buddhism was thriving. Before WWII you had Chinese monks commenting how healthy it seemed. Then after the war the tables turned and Buddhism in Taiwan started to thrive while Japanese Buddhism went into terminal decline.

Some assume the Vinaya revivalism was responsible for the post-WWII regeneration of Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan, but that's not really accurate, just as it is incorrect to think the married clergy in Japan are responsible for the decay of Buddhism there. Of course married clergy come with a whole long list of problems, but before WWII the marriage wasn't as big a problem as people seem to think nowadays. The extreme secularization killed Buddhism in Japan.


You may be the example of the non-Vinaya monk that makes the case for a more modern ordination platform, and who does not need the Vinaya to live an unquestioned life and has the respect of the laity around you. I just see you as the exception, rather than the rule, here in the west.


I'm nothing special. I just want to live the śramaṇa lifestyle to pursue spiritual and scholarly aims. To me the śramaṇa lifestyle is defined not by what the Vinaya says, but what the general expectations were in ancient Magadha. To do this you just need to look at what the literature generally says and see how other schools like the Jains operated. The śramaṇa lifestyle is about celibacy, non-violence, kindness, meditation, contemplation and philosophy, plus maybe social expectations like the shaved head and robes, though those are arguably secondary. We need only recall that there was no Vinaya for the first few years of the sangha. The first monks had zero formal rules and precepts.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Anagarika » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:43 pm

Even so, in ancient Magadha among the Shramana ascetics there were some generally held principles that defined what a śramaṇa was, as opposed to a Brahmin. I did a litlt e bit of study on the history of the śramaṇa movements in northern India, and it's very interesting. Expanded my (very limited) understanding of the evolution of sramana into Buddhism and Jainism.

I noted that the sramana movement was defined as "free form," and while there were generally accepted views of sramana practices, there was, as you put it, an emphasis on renunciation, non-violence, justice, scholarship. No Vinaya per se, but from what I can tell some fairly defined attributes that separated the śramaṇa from the Vedic practices and the lay folk.

Maybe the discussion is boiling down to the need for a strict set of rules, vs. a defined sensibility for a noble, ethical renunciate life. The śramaṇa movement seems to me to be the pathway that led Gautama to his eventual enlightenment and Dhamma. It lead to the founding of the Jains. To me, it looks all good, and it was certainly good enough for Gautama until his realization of the Middle Way.

I come back to my point, Ven. Indrajala, that you and the śramaṇas posses the internal fortitude to live the noble life. Maybe because I am a lawyer I have this idea that laws are part of the glue that holds societies together, and mitigates the potential for chaos. I see the Vinaya, in part, as a set of statutes that guide the practice, and create a foundation or sensibility that is all the more useful in today's world. As it has been said, if all men were noble, ethical and good, we wouldn't need the law.

Philosophically, as our societies create more laws and regulations, we are not necessarily becoming more ethical and less violent. I understand, you as a scholar and free thinker, feel that detailed and antiquated laws are just one more maladaptive societal tool for control. If only modern man in the west possessed the ethics and renunciate sensibilities of the ancient Magadhan śramaṇa.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:28 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:I come back to my point, Ven. Indrajala, that you and the śramaṇas posses the internal fortitude to live the noble life. Maybe because I am a lawyer I have this idea that laws are part of the glue that holds societies together, and mitigates the potential for chaos.


As a lawyer you naturally understand that the laws are prescriptive and not descriptive, so we need to always keep this in mind.

I think some laws need to be in place, but increasing complexity leads to the law of diminishing returns: too many resources and man hours devoted to developing, studying and enforcing laws which do not really have the intended effect. Secular law of course is also different from ecclesiastical law. The latter is limited to a small community unless enforced by the host culture (as is the case in a few countries today, and many in ancient times where the state backed up the sangha). The vast vast commentary literature on the Vinayas in Classical Chinese is enormous, and that was just a fraction of what existed in India. Think of all the hours and palm leaves such endeavours demanded!

I like to think in the Buddha's day it was not so much about laws and rules, but more expectations. There were expectations laid upon śramaṇas rather than rules with punitive measures in place to punish anyone who violated them. In any case, how do you defrock a homeless mendicant? Even if he commits a pārājika, he can just take his bowl elsewhere. The Vinaya laws only make sense in an institutional setting where some kind of priestly privileges are in place which can be revoked by the powers that be. In the Buddha's day there was none of that. There was also minimal hierarchy and things it seems had to be voted on by a community of equals (there were no sangharajas or abbots, a monk could never order another monk to do anything or make decisions for him).

With respect to the voting mechanisms according to the Vinaya, it seems largely neglected and ignored nowadays. Most monasteries are dictatorships it seems despite the fact monks are supposed to all vote.

So, why be picky about eating after noon, but neglect essential voting procedures? Why insist on diluting your orange juice in the afternoon while neglecting the fact you're not supposed to ride in a vehicle? It boils down to social expectations, doesn't it?


I understand, you as a scholar and free thinker, feel that detailed and antiquated laws are just one more maladaptive societal tool for control. If only modern man in the west possessed the ethics and renunciate sensibilities of the ancient Magadhan śramaṇa.


It begs the question if the Vinaya in the end really produces good ethics and sensibilities in people. If they require rules and punishments to stop themselves as monks from having sex or committing homicide, they probably don't want to be monks in the first place. However, you need those rules when the majority of your monastics are in there because they were destitute or their families placed them there from a young age. I know that in many places this is the case. A lot of monks are monks because they had no choice and as adults they would be a burden to their families if they disrobed. They would also be unemployable. So, maybe strict rules are necessary for them, but others it might be a hindrance to their good works in the world and practice.

But bearing that in mind, we don't need to universally apply rules. What works in one community won't necessarily work in another. What is required in one group won't be needed in another. The Buddha apparently was fine with dropping minor rules and moreover adapting things as necessary in new lands. I take that as license to update things as needed and to exercise common sense (historically this has often been the case in many cultures though it was never framed in such wording). Be flexible like the grass which always bends unlike the stiff branches which snap in strong winds.

Returning to the matter of eating after midday, again it strikes me as unnecessary if you're not doing rounds with your bowl. If you're living in a place with a cook or laypeople giving dana, what is the big deal if you eat dinner, especially if others are happy to provide it? They gain merit from the act of giving you two meals a day rather than one.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby santa100 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:53 pm

Indrajala wrote:Returning to the matter of eating after midday, again it strikes me as unnecessary if you're not doing rounds with your bowl. If you're living in a place with a cook or laypeople giving dana, what is the big deal if you eat dinner, especially if others are happy to provide it? They gain merit from the act of giving you two meals a day rather than one.

If the Buddha dedicated at least 4 suttas in the Majjhima Nikaya (and also in other Nikayas) to specifically talk about the eating at the proper time rule, then I'd assume that yes, it IS a big deal (MN 65, MN 66, MN 69, MN 70: ~~ http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pi ... ima-nikaya ~~)

By the way, this rule is naturally observed effortless once one has become an arahant:
AN 3.70: As long as they live the arahants eat once a day, abstaining from eating at night and from food outside the proper time. Today, for this night and day, I too shall eat once a day, abstaining from eating at night and from food outside the proper time. I shall imitate the arahants in this respect and the uposatha will be observed by me ~~ http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pi ... at-chapter ~~
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby manas » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:42 pm

Whenever I tried to get all my nourishment for the day between sunrise and noon, I ended up having to eat larger servings, than if I simply allowed myself to have three more moderately sized meals, spread through the entire day. It seemed to turn out that just eating less, was better for meditation practice, than sticking with this ideal of not eating after noon, which as a layman with kids to drive around, and look after (when they come over), turned out to be a bit impractical for me.

But if I did not have many duties to perform, or many practical issues to attend to, I can see how not eating after noon would be possible and even desirable, because with less need for calories, the two servings (breakfast and lunch) would not need to be so substantial. But for a layperson, I really think that striving for this ideal is not as important, as just being more moderate with food, and stopping when one has had enough, rather than continuing to eat for the taste / because of desire. And on that note, I think I used to eat much more than I needed to. One wonderful outcome of stopping out of consideration for how much the stomach can comfortably digest (as opposed to how much one wanted to eat), is that one doesn't get bloated, or get indigestion, and ironically has more energy, than if one had stuffed oneself. It's true: eating moderately one has more energy, than if one eats a lot.

My two cents' worth :)

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:55 am

santa100 wrote:By the way, this rule is naturally observed effortless once one has become an arahant:


That sounds a bit too institutional to me, which leads me to think it was a later addition. A lot of people believe an arhat physically and literally can't violate any Vinaya rule no matter what (it is comical to imagine that). In any case, a lot of the Pali canon is simply a later production which encapsulates the essence of the Buddha's teachings rather than preserving them literally. Johannes Bronkhorst in Buddhist Teaching in India (p58):

    "It is not easy to get a clear picture of the Buddha's original teaching. Certainly, its aim was to stop suffering and rebirth.

With that in mind, it begs the question if it is really necessary or desirable to have a rule against eating past noon. Even if the Buddha did encourage disciples to just eat once a day, is it really necessary for grown adults with rational faculties and a free will to have to follow a petty rule restricting them from eating past noon? We're not juveniles. We can make decisions for ourselves about when to eat. Eating past noon is not an issue of morality because it doesn't relate to harming others.

Again, the Buddha said to Ananda to dump the minor rules and update things accordingly (according to the canon). So, again, why does there need to be a rule for grown adults?
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby daverupa » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:25 am

Indrajala wrote:Eating past noon is not an issue of morality because it doesn't relate to harming others.

Again, the Buddha said to Ananda to dump the minor rules and update things accordingly (according to the canon). So, again, why does there need to be a rule for grown adults?


Well, the Buddha is trainer of gods and grown adults, so being a grown adult simply makes one trainable, not trained.

I think you're right about minor rules; is this food business one of those? I think it might be primarily a cultural sort of thing, the way much of the Vinaya is prompted by lay concern rather than Dhammic prerogative, whereby colder climates may make dinner a quite sensible choice.

But I also think that human food production is inherently limited, and that a world comprised solely of farms is probably abhorrent, so alongside the pressing need for a global response to the human population crisis there is a pressing need to address the problem of how to ethically feed all these people, test-tube meat notwithstanding.

First world peoples generally consume far more food than they need, enough that exercise becomes possible as a hobby - exertion simply for the sake of beautification of the form, not health. Eating as a form of entertainment and socializing is truly bewildering. All this merely re-describes excess calorie consumption in a world where starvation occurs... surely this is an altogether terrible phenomenon in urgent need of an ethical response?

Perhaps modern Vinaya should begin to reflect an awareness of global human lifestyles and their environmental impact both now & in the future. Awareness of population and food production are already addressed by core Vinaya practices, after all (chastity & an emphatic food awareness), and I think these topics, heavily related to the ongoing health of our planet, make them non-minor issues of Vinaya.

Maybe we can use modernity: find resting caloric necessity in each case, chart daily activity and incorporate additional units as necessary, adjust multivitamins, define precisely that level of nutriment required for the function of the body. We could then eat that lump sum within whatever timing was convenient, since the point isn't really the time on the clock, is it, but rather that minimal impact which facilitates the training, neh?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:35 am

Indrajala, with all due respect, you may be right or not about the vinaya being later in date, but not eating after 12pm is not one of the minor rules in the Vinaya, its one of the Ten precepts, only 5 of which apply to lay people as well, Im pretty damn sure the Ten precepts date back to the Buddha, you're not just asking to break some minor rules in the Vinaya, your telling monks to break the Ten precepts for Monks, which were set by the Buddha in his Lifetime, how many other precepts do you consider insignificant and not important in the modern world?????
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby dagon » Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:28 am

Greeting All

From my limited understanding - the provision of food to monks by the lay people is one of mutual rights and obligations. The understanding of both myself and wife is that we are and should be grateful of the opportunity of providing support to the monks and receiving instruction relating to the Dhamma.

If we look at the practical side of food being given to the monks then there are several things that need to be considered. As house holders were have duties and responsibilities that we need to preform - the family farms rice and makes an early start in the day.

The food that is offered is the same food as the family eats (we should not eat anything that we would not offer to monks and we should not expect them to eat anything less than what we eat). If the food sits around to dinner time without proper refrigeration then we might be responsible for making monks sick. We would prefer monks to eat the food before midday for this reason.

My understanding is that food from the lay community should be accepted with a certain attitude. The exemplification of this was shown by the Buddha in his last meal and his instruction relating to both the provider of that food as well as what was to happen to the food that remained. However I think that there is also a lesson to those fortunate enough to be able to provide food to monks.

As far as I understand the Monks should also be grateful to the Buddha for the food they receive in that he taught householders of their responsibilities to those who take orders. Did the Buddha teach that the monks should propagate the Dhamma – Buddha taught the Dhamma both by his words and actions. Where householders see the Monks upholding the Vinaya they respect them more and are more attentive to what they teach.

I know that my wife had the fortune to be influenced by a monk with high standards (Luang Ta Maha Bua) through his discourse on the Dhamma and his presence. It was this exposure that she credits with her maintaining the morals and ethics that she has always shown. What conduct of a monk is more highly valued by Buddha than one who teaches the Dhamma in this way?

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:09 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Indrajala, with all due respect, you may be right or not about the vinaya being later in date, but not eating after 12pm is not one of the minor rules in the Vinaya, its one of the Ten precepts, only 5 of which apply to lay people as well, Im pretty damn sure the Ten precepts date back to the Buddha, you're not just asking to break some minor rules in the Vinaya, your telling monks to break the Ten precepts for Monks, which were set by the Buddha in his Lifetime, ...


Not eating past noon makes sense if you take a bowl out to gather food for the day. It would be time consuming and potentially chaotic to have a lot of monks going out at any time of the day to gather food. However, if you live inside a monastery with a cook or laypeople giving dana, is there really a need to restrict people from eating past noon? I don't see any good reason. In fact, if you live in a cold climate then eating past noon and regularly is advisable for health reasons. Likewise if you live in a diseased land with poor sanitation. You need to keep your immune system in constant good order.

The Buddha was fine with changing precepts as needed. We can exercise the right to reform, and we should.


...how many other precepts do you consider insignificant and not important in the modern world?????


If you exercise common sense and maintain sensible behaviour as a śramaṇa, then as far as precepts go you only need a few, and even then if you are a true practitioner and have any wisdom, you don't need precepts at all (there was a time in the Buddha's teaching career that the sangha had zero precepts keep in mind). Precepts are for those who need the fear of punitive measures to behave themselves. For the rest of practitioners, you just behave yourself naturally and don't cause disturbances.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:24 pm

dagon wrote:Where householders see the Monks upholding the Vinaya they respect them more and are more attentive to what they teach.


That might work in some countries, but not all. What works in one country is not necessarily applicable to another.

Again, I would argue you'll teach more Dhamma to folks over dinner on a Friday night in a lot of western countries, or even places like Singapore or Japan.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby fabianfred » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:25 pm

The Thais have a saying...' One meal a day supports life; a second meal supports work; a third meal supports the kilesa (gives the energy to go out at night and have fun)..
The prime work for a monk is to get himself to at least the state of Sotapanna and leave the state of worldly being ....meditation....doing the practice.....walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
One who spends most of the day meditating does not need much sustenance since not much energy is being expended. Too much food makes you sleepy....fasting makes you light and energetic in your meditation....no wasting time involved in the process of having a meal....no being too much of a burden upon the laity.
ALL Buddhists should be trying to diminish the defilements, and over eating is a big problem around the world for those who are not poor.
If you cannot stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.....if you don't like the vinaya rules...then disrobe.
Looking for excuses to bend the rules.....complaining that the rules are irrelevant nowadays...that they were added later...etc. etc. :zzz:
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:15 am

fabianfred wrote:The Thais have a saying...


Good thing I'm not Thai and never will be. Their cultural paradigms and norms don't apply to me. Also Buddhism in Thailand isn't actually in a pristine condition, so be careful what you take from it and/or emulate.



Looking for excuses to bend the rules.....complaining that the rules are irrelevant nowadays...that they were added later...etc. etc. :zzz:


Ever consider that rules can be dismissed if it is for the benefit of people?
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