Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby Nori » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:39 am

I am just wondering if anybody on the forum has followed the precepts of not eating after mid-day or avoiding lofty beds (most standard beds are considered "lofty beds") continuously for many years?

If so, it would be nice if you can share your experience on how it brought some benefit or how it may have changed your disposition.

(Also - does hunger in the evenings go away after some period of time?)
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby ground » Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:43 am

Nori wrote:...continuously for many years?


I am wondering too, if there is anybody like this here :smile: Perhaps asking like this isn't the best way to get a response at all ...

Or you expect replies from ordained people only ...

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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby befriend » Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:14 pm

ive heard from people that if you skip dinner enough you get used to it. its done to keep the mind light, think about how you mind is after thanksgiving dinner. hard to meditate.
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby daverupa » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:08 pm

befriend wrote:ive heard from people that if you skip dinner enough you get used to it. its done to keep the mind light, think about how you mind is after thanksgiving dinner. hard to meditate.


A more restful night's sleep also.
    "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: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby Zom » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:28 pm

I am just wondering if anybody on the forum has followed the precepts of not eating after mid-day or avoiding lofty beds (most standard beds are considered "lofty beds") continuously for many years?


I don't use "lofty bed" for some last years, there is no problem with that (unless you prefer to sleep on a floor without a bedding -). Eating once a day is harder to observe - at first I found it almost impossible to keep. At the present time I've realized for myself that eating once a day is more than enough and that hunger is partly (or even may be "largely") produced by pure mental desire to eat something. Yes, it is true that hunger disappears when you practise this precept for quite a long period of time (even a month can be enough). The good idea is to eat after 5 hours since you get up in the morning (no matter at what time exactly you get up). And you should eat a lot of food, not little (right amount depends on each person, so this should be figured out by yourself). If you want to be ritualistic and follow the rule as it says "eat before noon" - then this will be a good idea to get up early, so to keep these 5 hours before taking food. And of course, it this case you'll have to go to bed earlier too (otherwise you will fight with hunger in the late evening).

Also, in the beginning you can practise like that: eat once a day, and then have a tea with cakes or candies or chocolate or cheese in the evening. After some time you will manage to drop cakes & candies ,) Tea is no problem - you can keep it - this is not a food -)

:stirthepot: Image
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:00 pm

Hunger goes away, as long as you get enough to eat during the one meal. I have been doing the one meal program for several years and feel much better, sleep better, and it keeps the weight off.

See also this thread: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=3045
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby ground » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:00 pm

I think it is very challenging (if not impossible) to get enough calories to cover basic caloric needs with one meal only. I would suggest to have two meals before mid-day.
I am underweight and once gave it a try for a few days only and still lost too much weight with two meals.


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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby bodom » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:05 pm

TMingyur wrote:I think it is very challenging (if not impossible) to get enough calories to cover basic caloric needs with one meal only. I would suggest to have two meals before mid-day.

Kind regards


As Bhante G says "Eat your breakfast like a king, share your lunch with a friend, and give your dinner to your enemy."

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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby Nori » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:09 pm

I think in the Tipitaka, in almost all cases, the Buddha wakes up early in the morning and goes for alms (anyone know what time that is, btw?). I am assuming that he will eat what he was given not too long after in the morning..

I am wondering if it is the case that monks will generally eat once in the morning and then once again before noon? Or is it strictly once a day? (if so, closer to morning or midday?) Is it specified in the Vinaya?
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:13 pm

Most monks I know eat two meals. As I understand it, the Vinaya specifies a time for eating (dawn to noon). Eating just one meal is an additional ascetic practice, mentioned in some Suttas.

And note that there is no prohibition on fluids, which would make it much more difficult.

:anjali:
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby Nori » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:17 pm

Zom wrote:
Also, in the beginning you can practise like that: eat once a day, and then have a tea with cakes or candies or chocolate or cheese in the evening. After some time you will manage to drop cakes & candies ,) Tea is no problem - you can keep it - this is not a food -)

Thanks for your suggestion, and thanks David for feedback.
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby Nori » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:25 pm

I wonder if sleeping on a lower bed really has any significant effect on ones ego or conceit?

Or was this precept in response to the prevalence of Guru's lounging on extravagant 'decked out' seats and beds during that period? Or an ascetic practice of taking away extreme comfort?

I am still baffled that it is one of the eight precepts.. I would figure that it would have to be very significant for it to become one of eight precepts.

Does anyone believe the effect of this precept is significant and why?

I have often considered cutting off the legs from my platform bed, but then I cannot store boxes underneath. I also do not see the reason.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
Last edited by Nori on Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby ground » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:42 am

I am interpreting the precepts beyond the first five to be a refinement of the first five, i.e. with the purpose of enhancing awareness of one's subtle self (grasping) habits and to train to "see through" these habits and thus to establish (more or less) effortless discipline. These precepts are not "an end in themselves". They are "method". To appoach them with a competitive mind or "what do I get from it" actually undermines the purpose of these precepts.


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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby alan » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:47 am

This is a perfect example of minor rules which should have been abolished.
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby alan » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:38 am

Sleep on a nice bed, and eat regularly. Don't fall into the stupid belief that following outdated rules will make you any more spiritual, or morally superior. Thinking for yourself is a better example of how to follow the path.
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby jackson » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:53 am

alan wrote:Sleep on a nice bed, and eat regularly. Don't fall into the stupid belief that following outdated rules will make you any more spiritual, or morally superior. Thinking for yourself is a better example of how to follow the path.

Greetings Alan, everyone,
I don't think that not eating after noon makes one more spiritual, but it's a great way to observe craving. As I see it, the first five precepts are about morality, the rest are means of frustration so we can see where we're attached and learn to let go. Just my opinion of course.
May you be well, happy, and peaceful. :smile:
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby appicchato » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:40 pm

alan wrote:Don't fall into the stupid belief...


Tightly wound it would seem... :popcorn:
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby Cilla » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:06 pm

I must say this has just become interesting. Can i have popcorn too. But...

Alan for the most part i agree with you entirely but then I also agree that this is probably accurate too.

but it's a great way to observe craving. As I see it, the first five precepts are about morality, the rest are means of frustration so we can see where we're attached and learn to let go. Just my opinion of course.


But is it the point of the precept. I suspect not really. The reason i say that is because the buddha noticed himself that it was hard to meditate while one was half starved. Secondly, some teachers i have read say you've got to be comfortable if you want to meditate well. (not that you meditate in bed) but comfort is obviously a factor and so is health and being well rested. IN fact i read about the importance of being well rested. Only you don't need a high or low bed for that.

That must be to do with the ego. Or maybe its cultural.

Don't forget that these rules were invented in different times. A lot of modern buddhism has recognised that some adjustments for our cultural context is in order. Tonight i heard one from my own monk. He is a zen monk but has trained in all traditions. He said that its now common to teach meditation with borrowings from all traditions. I figure he takes the best of them all. or what he thinks is the best rather than sticking to the hard and fast rules of centuries ago or times when cultures were the same as centuries ago.

The fact is if you have grown up in a modern culture, following some of the rules of other cultural traditions will be pretty tricky adn you may not get as much out of the whole exercise as you could do if you were either born into an old culture or followed an adjusted method.

That said, are you a monk yourself. If not why are you trying to follow the precepts of a monk.

Another point, in a book i read recently, about this one meal a day thing that the monks were asked to do in buddhas time, they could also eat fruit at any time. I think that is because fruit could be found ripe on the trees or in the forest . I suppose the meal given in the old days in india would have consisted of rice and/or bread and some vegetables or beans/lentils. I figure the buddha thought this amount of food was enough. But today we know how much food we need for good health. For men its about 1800 calories per day minimum if you are about average height. And most men on that calorie intake will lose weight for quite a while anyway. So it might be more like 2300 to sustain a healthy weight. That's actually quite a lot of food. It is not too smart to eat it all in one sitting. And there is no reason that the monks in the buddha's day would have eaten their food in one sitting. They could have made it last longer if they were given a lot of food. The thing is to eat enough food to sustain you in whatever activities you are doing. If you are on a retreat you won't need much food. If you are walking around and teaching people you will need more. Quite a bit more.

That said, it would be interesting to try it for a while but why go overboard. Do the two meals before noon and see how you go. Do'nt try to be too active if you are doing this.
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby Pondera » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:47 pm

[quote="alan"]Sleep on a nice bed, and eat regularly. Don't fall into the stupid belief that following outdated rules will make you any more spiritual, or morally superior. Thinking for yourself is a better example of how to follow the path.[/""quote]

"Sleep on a nice bed"...sure, no problem. But "eat regularly"...isn't going to work for insight. The rules aren't in place as if to say that those who abstain from eating after noon and avoid lofty, comfortable beds are somehow morally superior. The rules are there for a good reason. The path is there for you to follow. But assuming that certain parts of it aren't necessary is just an assumption. Discipline is for the purpose of restraint. Restraint is for the purpose of non-remorse. Non-remorse is for the purpose of gladdening. Gladdening is for the purpose of happiness. Happiness is for the for the purpose of tranquility. Tranquility is for the purpose of bliss, and so on and so forth until we reach; knowledge and vision of deliverance is for the purpose of the complete extinction of craving through not clinging. Yet non of this comes without first practicing restraint.

Read this one...http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Dhammadayada_Sutta

I followed the practice of eating one meager meal a day for half a year. I felt the non-remorse which cannot be understood for a person who fails to restrain themselves in the case of over eating. When you overeat you simply miss out on everything that might follow, such as gladdening, happiness and so on. Of course if your life is busy you must eat regularly to stay healthy. If you have the time and desire and lack of interruption to do so, practice eating but once a day. Hunger will strike at 3:00 or 4:00 almost without exception. A person gets used to this. The stomach tightens. When that happens people admit to feeling hungry. The pain is so exceedingly harsh that they simply must eat or they will just roll over and die. But this is not the case. After you feel the pains of hunger tightening your stomach that pain simply vanishes. At the most hunger pains will last an hour. After this they go away. However expect them to come back the following day. Remember to eat as well. Hunger should be the least of anyone's worries.

Restraint leads to non-remorse; non-remorse to gladdening, and so on. But you must have the discipline to restrain your self. Otherwise there are no results.
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Re: Precepts: Not eating after mid-day / Avoiding lofty beds

Postby Zom » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:47 pm

Or was this precept in response to the prevalence of Guru's lounging on extravagant 'decked out' seats and beds during that period? Or an ascetic practice of taking away extreme comfort?


Probably yes. The idea is to decrease extreme comfort. And another extreme (as I see it) would be sleeping on a plain floor with no bedding, or even worse than that - like sleeping on a mat with spikes or smth like that.
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