Why one meal a day?

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Kumara
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Kumara » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:26 am

santa100 wrote:Indrajala, you've been giving the same kind of response whenever I cited sutta references about the importance of precepts (specifically the eating rule for monks).... I've done my part here and have nothing more to say. Peace..

Wise move. :-)
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:32 am

This is a Theravāda Forum — which not really the place to discuss Mahāyāna views.

My Last Word on the Matter
“It is true, Kesi, that it's not proper for a Tathāgata to take life. But if a tamable person does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild and harsh training, then the Tathāgata does not regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing. His knowledgeable fellows in the holy life do not regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing. This is what it means to be totally destroyed in the Doctrine and Discipline, when the Tathāgata does not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing, and one's knowledgeable fellows in the holy life do not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing.”
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Indrajala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:29 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Theravada monastics don't eat beyond noon, but as you know are allowed the 'tonics' / medicine as needed.


The other day I was at a Tibetan temple here in Singapore and a visiting Sri Lankan monk had a curry puff pastry and fruit with us. My Tibetan monk friend also took him out and a few other Sri Lankan bhikkhus for Indian grub in the evening. Eating dinner is fine with them provided they are not in a Theravadan community and/or the laity are not watching them. They clearly didn't care.

So, yes, Theravadan monastics do in fact eat past noon when it isn't an issue with the public. Once you get to know how monasticism works in any country, you quickly learn that there is what happens in public and then what happens when laity are not around.

I personally prefer upfront honesty. If you're going to eat dinner, just eat dinner.

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Indrajala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:32 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:This is a Theravāda Forum — which not really the place to discuss Mahāyāna views.


The Chinese have a Dharmagupta Vinaya lineage, which is not Mahāyāna. They eat dinner, too. They call it "medicine meal".

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby plwk » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:39 am

I guess Ven Indrajala, this thread is discussing what it should be and not what it really is happening...
I too have my own experiences with such but what's the point of repeating about the obvious elephant in the room when the elephant knows it's not suppose to be there?

Just like the late Master Xuan Hua and his Dharmaguptaka monastics in CTTB who observe the one meal a day before noon practice, yeah there were cases of some who didn't live up to this rule and other Vinaya related matters, when it came to his ears, they organised a major purification and repentance to recommit and reaffirmation of their core ascetic practices. They didn't just caved in just because a few can't manage it? I guess when one takes up a formal discipline, there's a duty of care involved and not when people are not looking thingy... Maybe that's why they have such strong admirer and friendship with the Ajahn Chah's Thai Forest Tradition circle via Ajahn Sumedho?

There's also a story of how he manage to catch one of his monastic Western disciple who was about to sink his teeth into a berry pie in a hidden corner at night... that one cracked me up lol

And remember I had that convo with a user on the sister site in your own thread 'Emotion and Reason'? What did the 'Sayadaw' told him?
A few years ago I met a friend who is a Buddhist monk at the railway station. I expressed my concern that his travel arrangements had prevented him from eating that day. He replied that I should not be too concerned because he would eat a sandwich when he finally arrived at his destination. I remarked that this would be after twelve and hence in contravention of his monastic rules, to which he smiled and said, 'Who exactly is it that sets these rules to restrict my behaviour...it's me isn't it?'

And when I was hard and tough on the user's story, this retort came back...
In my post I should have made it clear out that the gentleman in question is a legendary Sayadaw who has been a flawless monk since the age of seven.

This is what I get? Using a Sayadaw title to perhaps hint to me, 'so, what? do you know who is so and so?'
I am still an advocate for the upholding of the standards. If others can't do it, it doesn't mean the standards have to keep bending backwards, be they a Samanera, Sayadaw, Ajahn all the way into the Dharmaguptakas and Mulasarvastivada circles...
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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daverupa
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby daverupa » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:05 am

Indrajala wrote:I sincerely hope people exercise critical thinking and don't try to recreate failing Asian paradigms in the new cultures.


This is a good point, although ideally the critical thinking would be an interface between the local laity and the monastics, I think. The Buddha allowed for this interface while also legislating according to the training, and I'm of a mind to consider local input the minor, mutable aspect.

Indrajala wrote:The Chinese have a Dharmagupta Vinaya lineage, which is not Mahāyāna. They eat dinner, too. They call it "medicine meal".


So this is an example, perhaps, of a culture massaging the Vinaya into local cultural compliance, something David Snyder mentioned as a medicinal exception in certain cases here being writ large in the case of the Chinese, living in a colder climate as well as undergoing other differing laity variables.

What should we want? Enshrining the reality in local Vinayas (which I think is actually called for in the Vinaya itself), or a "unified Buddhism" with a "worldwide Vinaya"? Is it appropriate if local flavors should take on Nationalistic flavors, including local Vinaya hierarchies?

There are some key issues to do with local necessity versus global unity in Buddhism which are a Herculean task to address... this begins to approach one facet of that monster, I think.
    "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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Anagarika
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Anagarika » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:25 am

Indrajala wrote:So, eating past noon is bad, but selling amulets and other questionable practices is okay because it is part of the culture?


Respectfully, eating past midday violates the precepts. Selling amulets is a Thai custom, but the serious (esp. farang) monks in Thailand don't do this; not at my Wat in any case (serious Thai abbot w Ph.D. from Indian university). And, in many Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, the precepts still matter. To repeat my earlier post, Dr. Fronsdal's perspective on the importance of ritual resonates. Going beyond, ritual, if a practice is considered driven by the Buddha's directive, then who are we to toss it aside in favor of modern convention? I think Ven. Indrajala makes a good point suggesting that ritual should not trump common sense or upaya/skillful means, but some foundational rituals may have societal, subconscious, and/or physical benefits along with the important symbolic benefit. I don't think there will ever be a day that Theravada and some Mahayana schools will dispense with the rule against eating a meal after midday. For the same reason, I don't see the day when the ordained in these traditions are wearing chinos and golf shirts, and not shaving their heads, as Tom Peppers suggests.

Perhaps this is why when at the time of the Buddha's passing he was asked who would succeed him, and he instructed that the Dhamma would be his successor. So, in Buddhism we have no pope to tell us whether we can eat after midday or not. I might guess that the Buddha understood the Vinaya to be well enough understood that its precepts would be the roadmap for those on the path. So, it's up to all of us to determine how serious and focused we wish our own practice to be. For the ordained, I feel that disregard of the Vinaya is the classic slippery slope that will lead to the Dhamma being diluted to the point of nonrecognition, one of the Buddha's great concerns. It didn't happen in the 500 years he predicted, but it's happening now quite nicely in the west. see http://www.flickr.com/photos/kanzeon_ze ... 525009624/

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Indrajala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:35 pm

plwk wrote:I guess Ven Indrajala, this thread is discussing what it should be and not what it really is happening...
I too have my own experiences with such but what's the point of repeating about the obvious elephant in the room when the elephant knows it's not suppose to be there?


If the rules clearly don't work or have the intended effect, might as well update them accordingly. If people have become degenerate, then it is unlikely you'll whip them back into shape with archaic customs and rules. Lament that all you like, but let's be realistic and accommodating.

If the Vinaya literature is to be believed, the Buddha's sangha was democratic. The appropriate proceedings for organizational decision making were done by communal dialogue and vote (you propose something a certain amount of times and provided there are no objections the motion is considered passed). This was how things were done in various Indo-European communities in ancient India, like in the Buddha's homeland. In English we call it them republics.

I would say the Buddha would have been fine with democratically adjusting and updating rules and regulations.

However, most monasteries and Buddhist orders are effectively dictatorships or oligarchies, which Vinaya proponents often seem to overlook. They'll insist on keeping archaic social customs and precepts, but the democratic procedures are overlooked or ignored.

So, in the absence of democratic sangha models and workable procedures for intelligent reform, we can ignore illegitimate ecclesiastical authority and simply do our own thing, like update the rules, ordain women, eat dinner, etc.

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Indrajala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:40 pm

daverupa wrote:There are some key issues to do with local necessity versus global unity in Buddhism which are a Herculean task to address... this begins to approach one facet of that monster, I think.


There never will be unified Buddhism for obvious reasons. For most of Buddhist history even in India we're well aware that unity never existed, hence all the different sects, Vinaya traditions and schools of thought, to say nothing of differing team colours. Even within modern Theravada there are sects which exist due to minor differences.

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Indrajala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:09 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:Respectfully, eating past midday violates the precepts.


Riding in a car or airplane likewise violates a precept (unless ill), but I don't see a fuss made over that.


I might guess that the Buddha understood the Vinaya to be well enough understood that its precepts would be the roadmap for those on the path. So, it's up to all of us to determine how serious and focused we wish our own practice to be.


He also said update things as they spread to different lands, and to get rid of the minor rules.

Again, the Buddha was fine with reforming the precepts. They were never meant to be set in stone forever.

It was apparently Mahākassapa that, undemocratically, said nothing would be changed and that all the precepts from before had to be followed, but what authority did he have to do that? What about the democratic procedures in the sangha for voting on things? Did Mahākassapa have the authority to make decrees as he purportedly did?

If we conclude in fact he lacked the authority to make such a decree, then we can consider such a decree unlawful and thus proceed with reforms.

For the ordained, I feel that disregard of the Vinaya is the classic slippery slope that will lead to the Dhamma being diluted to the point of nonrecognition, one of the Buddha's great concerns. It didn't happen in the 500 years he predicted, but it's happening now quite nicely in the west.


Do you realize that the Vinaya(s) as we have it now in Theravada, Tibetan Buddhism and East Asia is a reflection of heavily modified and even brahmanized Buddhism already? The part in the Vinaya about taxation of farmers -- do you think that honestly reflects the Buddhadhamma of the Buddha's time?

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daverupa
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby daverupa » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:18 pm

Indrajala wrote:However, most monasteries and Buddhist orders are effectively dictatorships or oligarchies, which Vinaya proponents often seem to overlook. They'll insist on keeping archaic social customs and precepts, but the democratic procedures are overlooked or ignored.

So, in the absence of democratic sangha models and workable procedures for intelligent reform, we can ignore illegitimate ecclesiastical authority and simply do our own thing, like update the rules, ordain women, eat dinner, etc.


This is an interesting call to action. I wonder how we can make an even-handed assessment of illegitimate ecclesiastical authority...in any event, a move to local democratic Sanghas is certainly preferable.
    "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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Indrajala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:25 pm

daverupa wrote:This is an interesting call to action. I wonder how we can make an even-handed assessment of illegitimate ecclesiastical authority...


It isn't even a call to action, but just a recognition of the reality.

Since there is no overarching Buddhist authority or union, perhaps deciding on things locally is best. Outside of the essential śramaṇa expectations (celibacy, non-violence, truth, kindness and so forth), everything else can be decided according to the community and prevailing local conditions. This is how it works in real life as it is.

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Anagarika » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:00 pm

It was apparently Mahākassapa that, undemocratically, said nothing would be changed and that all the precepts from before had to be followed, but what authority did he have to do that? What about the democratic procedures in the sangha for voting on things? Did Mahākassapa have the authority to make decrees as he purportedly did?

If we conclude in fact he lacked the authority to make such a decree, then we can consider such a decree unlawful and thus proceed with reforms.


The story of Upali yields this history of the democratic procedures in the Sangha: "Mahakassapa was leading a number of monks to Kushinagara when news of the Buddha's death reached him. The news caused some monks to grieve, but one monk said he was glad to be able to do as he wished. Mahakassapa was disturbed by this remark and worried for the future of the Sangha and the Buddha's teaching. So he convened a great assembly of senior monks, all arhats, to consider how to preserve the teachings and the order. It was at this assembly that the disciple Ananda recited all of the Buddha's sermons from memory. And then Upali was asked to recite the monastic rules. The assembled monks agreed that the recitations were accurate. These recitations became the basis for the Sutta-pitika and the Vinaya-pitika of the Pali Tipitika."

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:16 pm

SarathW wrote:Q1:Will the lay Stream-winner eat after midday?
This question is based on :
===========================

Verse 11: Scrupulous Integrity
Another special quality of a Stream-winner is transparent honesty and scrupulous integrity. Although they are not yet free from greed, hatred, and delusion, Stream-winners are completely free from immorality. A monk who is a Stream-winner may sometimes fall into offences due to heedlessness, but when reminded that such an action is an offence against a training rule laid down by the Buddha, or realising this by himself on reflection, he does not conceal it, but makes amends in the prescribed way. One who wishes to attain Stream-winning should be equally scrupulous, seeing fear in the slightest fault.

For example: to eat after midday is an offence for a bhikkhu. Each mouthful taken is an offence to be confessed (pācittiya). If he thinks it is before midday when it is not, it is still an offence. If it is before midday, but he thinks it is after midday, or he is doubtful, it is an offence of wrong-doing (dukkata). A Stream-winner would not take a single morsel of food if he thought it was after midday, as to do so would be shameless. Due to unmindfulness he might do so, but afterwards he would confess his offence. Stream-winners have a keen desire to follow the training rules and readily confess their offences if they do fall into any — they are not disobedient.
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Pesala/Ratana/ratana.html

yes if they have undertaken the eight precepts, but no if they have undertaken the five!
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:01 am

BuddhaSoup wrote: The assembled monks agreed that the recitations were accurate. These recitations became the basis for the Sutta-pitika and the Vinaya-pitika of the Pali Tipitika."


Even if we accept this, it still doesn't address the autocratic decision made by Mahākassapa. Ānanda provided a reliable testimony where the Buddha is said to have stated the minor rules were to be dropped. The Buddha was fine with reform.

I don't understand the level of attachment a lot of members here show towards archaic regulations. Most Theravada bhikkhus I know are pretty relaxed.

No need to be more Catholic than the Pope. :sage:

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby plwk » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:34 am

Errr Ven, even Pope Francis got a correction by the Vatican recently, no? :mrgreen:
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
VSM VMM WBB TBHT WTBT My Page

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:40 am

For the second time, Indrajala, NOT EATING AFTER 12PM IS NOT A MINOR RULE, its one of the ten precepts, THE MAJOR RULES.
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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daverupa
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby daverupa » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:40 am

Indrajala wrote:
BuddhaSoup wrote: The assembled monks agreed that the recitations were accurate. These recitations became the basis for the Sutta-pitika and the Vinaya-pitika of the Pali Tipitika."


Even if we accept this, it still doesn't address the autocratic decision made by Mahākassapa. Ānanda provided a reliable testimony where the Buddha is said to have stated the minor rules were to be dropped. The Buddha was fine with reform.


It's quite true, and I think Buddhist monasticism will need to look different in the future in order to best exist alongside lay support... unless, you think monasteries should seek moderate self-sufficiency as a general rule? Farming, investment, etc. alongside donations?
    "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 dagon » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:49 am

Indrajala wrote:
BuddhaSoup wrote: The assembled monks agreed that the recitations were accurate. These recitations became the basis for the Sutta-pitika and the Vinaya-pitika of the Pali Tipitika."


Even if we accept this, it still doesn't address the autocratic decision made by Mahākassapa. Ānanda provided a reliable testimony where the Buddha is said to have stated the minor rules were to be dropped. The Buddha was fine with reform.

I don't understand the level of attachment a lot of members here show towards archaic regulations. Most Theravada bhikkhus I know are pretty relaxed.

No need to be more Catholic than the Pope. :sage:


Ven Indrajala - perhaps you could help me - i was taught that The Buddha said that the minor rule could be dropped, whereas you have stated were to be dropped. i think that there is a very significant difference between to two options.

paul

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:35 pm

There are about 227 rules in the Vinaya, an example of a minor rule might be the rule aginast picking flowers or killing plants for monks, that's a minor rule, perhaps, The 10 precepts for monks are not minor rules at all, and when the Buddha said some minor rules could be left behind, I'm fairly certain he wasn't in any way refering to the 10 precepts, which are Major rules. In any case as I remember it the monks had a council after the buddha made this statement and decided not to change any of the rules, obviously the buddha didn't tell them outright to drop the minor rules, otherwise they would have done so.
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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