Eating after midday.

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:37 am

Indrajala wrote: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.


Sure and this could still be done. The precept against eating after midday is for monks and nuns, not lay people. Dhamma centers and temples could still have such functions as long as they are led by lay people or some lay teacher. There are some lay people who voluntarily choose to eat just one meal a day, but it is completely voluntary and they usually do so for health reasons or other practical reasons.

The precept is still practical in this day and age. I see no reason to throw this precept out (in my opinion). It would burden the lay people to provide multiple meals to the monastics. Even if the one meal is a large one, it is still less demanding to provide one big meal than several smaller ones. I have found this to be true even for my own meals.

Indrajala wrote:Good thing I'm not Thai and never will be.


Never? Haven't you taken a [Mahayana] bodhisattva vow? How about rebirth? :tongue:
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:53 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Dhamma centers and temples could still have such functions as long as they are led by lay people or some lay teacher.


Sure, but there tends to be a lot more faith placed in monks as confidants and teachers than laypeople, regardless of if that is really warranted or not. A monk, at least ideally, is a full-time specialist in Buddhism, which is different from most laypeople who specialize in other fields (again I know this isn't always the case, but the general model would suggest this).

So, exercising free well and skilful thinking, we might update the rules.


It would burden the lay people to provide multiple meals to the monastics.


Not really. There are often huge amounts of leftovers which can be easily reheated.

In Chinese monasteries having medicine meal (dinner) is no big deal and never has been. Theravada could learn from this.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:56 am

I can't speak for anyone else, but I personally have a lot more trouble putting any faith in monks that don't keep the precepts than ones that do, indeed if they don't keep the precepts what makes them monks, shaved heads?? robes?? that's not enough for me.......
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 Indrajala » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:09 am

lyndon taylor wrote:I can't speak for anyone else, but I personally have a lot more trouble putting any faith in monks that don't keep the precepts than ones that do, indeed if they don't keep the precepts what makes them monks, shaved heads?? robes?? that's not enough for me.......


Robes don't make the monk. I would argue precepts don't make the monk either. Renunciation of saṃsāra is what does. This arguably doesn't require precepts, and bear in mind, as the official history goes, the Buddha's first disciples had zero precepts. You can have monks with no precepts at all, as was the case in the first few years of the sangha.

The precepts can perpetuate the eight worldly dharmas. They were largely systematized at a time when landed monasticism was becoming widespread in India and monks had to demonstrate outward purity to benefactors who demanded proper fields of merit to invest their resources into.

Yes, there should be rules and expectations to maintain basic community structure and harmony (celibacy is quite sensible when you live in a monastery and can't afford for residents to have families), but these are different from dogmatically following rules to satisfy worldly concerns or abide by social conventions that made sense in ancient Magadha.

The fact of the matter, too, is that you can demand your monks follow all the precepts, and they outwardly will when you as a layperson are around just to keep you happy, but go behind the closed doors of monks and you'll see another world.

Do you want disagreeable honesty or agreeable dishonesty?
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Mr Man » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:36 am

The monastic rule is part of the tradition and symbology of the (Theravada) monk. It is also something that unifies. It is a template, which can be used skilfully, to train body, speech and mind. It can work as a brake to our personal opinions and wants. It is allows for harmonious community living and as protocol for relationships. It acts as a point of reference.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Anagarika » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:14 am

Indrajala wrote:Good thing I'm not Thai and never will be.

David wrote: Never? Haven't you taken a [Mahayana] bodhisattva vow? How about rebirth? :tongue:


Being reborn a Thai would be a very fortunate rebirth.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby santa100 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:21 pm

Indrajala wrote:Robes don't make the monk. I would argue precepts don't make the monk either


Actually the precepts not only makes the monk but also directly contribute to the survival of the Dhamma itself:
Then the Venerable Upāli approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Bhante, on how many grounds has the Tathāgata prescribed the training rules for his disciples and recited the Pātimokkha?”

“It is, Upāli, on ten grounds that the Tathāgata has prescribed the training rules for his disciples and recited the Pātimokkha. What ten?
(1) For the well-being of the Saṅgha;
(2) for the ease of the Saṅgha;
(3) for keeping recalcitrant persons in check; ... :tongue:
(4) so that well-behaved bhikkhus can dwell at ease;
(5) for the restraint of taints pertaining to this present life;
(6) for the dispelling of taints pertaining to future lives;
(7) so that those without confidence might gain confidence; and
(8) for increasing [the confidence] of those with confidence;
(9) for the continuation of the good Dhamma; and .... :thumbsup:
(10) for promoting discipline.


“It is on these ten grounds that the Tathāgata has prescribed the training rules for his disciples and recited the Pātimokkha.” ~~ http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pi ... y-iv-upali ~~
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:34 pm

That sounds like a convenient narrative to justify institutionalized rules and regulations.

I'm fine with rules. We just need to update accordingly and, as rational free-willed people, make strategic decisions in our behaviour.

I think being dogmatic and attached to scriptural precepts are cause for the Dhamma's decline, not its increase.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby equilibrium » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:03 pm

Indrajala wrote:Robes don't make the monk. I would argue precepts don't make the monk either. Renunciation of saṃsāra is what does.

The above is the most amazing reading in this website so far for me.....
It is not on the surface.....it is not what you follow.....it is whether you have crossed the line!.....the main point of it all!
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby fabianfred » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:41 pm

equilibrium wrote:
Indrajala wrote:Robes don't make the monk. I would argue precepts don't make the monk either. Renunciation of saṃsāra is what does.

The above is the most amazing reading in this website so far for me.....
It is not on the surface.....it is not what you follow.....it is whether you have crossed the line!.....the main point of it all!

all those who are practicing determined to reach Nibbana are renouncing samsara....but that doesn't make them monks.....in fact there are probably more lay people aiming for release than monks since most monks do not practice.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:43 am

Simply put, I don't think precepts really have the intended effect.

In an institutionalized setting, you go through the motions of "receiving precepts" and this somehow makes you into a field of merit. The laity then feel happy to bow down and make offerings, maybe getting some kind of religious high from the act of piety. However, once you know how monasticism really works and what goes on when laypeople are not around, then you see how efficacious precepts really are.

I'm well aware people are emotionally invested in a system that doesn't work as well as they believe it does, so my views are fringe and ultimately won't matter so much. In any case, as Buddhism develops in the west, I sincerely hope people exercise critical thinking and don't try to recreate failing Asian paradigms in the new cultures.

Also, if you look at things from an objective perspective, there are often curious historical examples of deviation from prescription. While Theravada has presumably always had precepts, for the longest time China and Japan got by in their monasticism with minimal and/or absolutely no Indian Vinaya system. I wrote something about this:

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2013/06/ ... inaya.html

That means you can have vibrant and sustained Buddhism without strict adherence to scriptural precepts.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby SarathW » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:59 am

Hi Indrajala
I am just trying to understand what your message is.
Are you suggesting that I can realise Nirvana without following Eight Noble Path and not knowing Four Noble Truths?
:)
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:01 am

Indrajala, If you are as it seems a Mahayana buddhist, what are you doing on a Therevada forum putting down our scriptures and traditions, I think the Dharma wheel might be more receptive to this. Buddhism is built on a foundation of moral behaviour as exemplified by the precepts, further progress beyond the basics is not really possible without the ground work of the precepts and moral behaviour, If you think you have a better way perhaps you should start your own order.
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 Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:03 am

SarathW wrote:Are you suggesting that I can realise Nirvana without following Eight Noble Path and not knowing Four Noble Truths?
:)


I'm suggesting it doesn't require refraining from dinner.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:11 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Indrajala, If you are as it seems a Mahayana buddhist, what are you doing on a Therevada forum putting down our scriptures and traditions, I think the Dharma wheel might be more receptive to this. Buddhism is built on a foundation of moral behaviour as exemplified by the precepts, further progress beyond the basics is not really possible without the ground work of the precepts and moral behaviour, If you think you have a better way perhaps you should start your own order.


You've clearly misunderstood what I've been saying.

I'm not putting down anything. I'm proposing critical thought and strategic reforms rather than dogmatic attachment to rules and forms. Where have I said that we can do away without morality? Morality is about not harming others. Dietary regulations are another matter.

I'm simply saying that refraining from dinner, at least out in public in front of laypeople, isn't really relevant in today's world, at least outside Theravada countries where people maybe become emotionally compromised seeing a monk eat past noon (meanwhile they're testing out their new amulets on chickens).

We don't need that kind of neurosis in western countries.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:17 am

So your saying we need monks with less discipline, not more???? If being a monk was supposed to be easy, there would be eating after 12pm, sleeping with converts, jewelry and loud music playing at temples, some how I think things are just fine in Therevada traditions, maybe you should take your ideas to the mahayana community, they are much more likely to eat after 12 etc.
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 SarathW » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:19 am

So what you are saying is refraining from dinner is just an ethical requirement and not a virtue (Sila)?
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby SarathW » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:22 am

So what you are saying is refraining from dinner is just an ethical requirement and not a virtue (Sila)?
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:32 am

Not eating after noon is a social convention.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:34 am

lyndon taylor wrote:So your saying we need monks with less discipline, not more???? If being a monk was supposed to be easy, there would be eating after 12pm, sleeping with converts, jewelry and loud music playing at temples, some how I think things are just fine in Therevada traditions, maybe you should take your ideas to the mahayana community, they are much more likely to eat after 12 etc.


Eating dinner does not necessarily entail sleeping with converts, wearing jewellery and playing loud music in the temple.
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