Eating after midday.

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby SarathW » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:37 am

I think refraining from dinner is an ethical conduct for a Theravada Monk.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:40 am

Obviously you haven't bothered to read all the comments in the thread, as the topic of why monks don't eat after 12pm was covered in the first couple pages, to make one more alert, to build discipline, to make aquiring meals easier etc etc. If your going to go on a crusade to change Buddhism, surely you could think of something more in need of change than this.
Last edited by lyndon taylor on Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Anagarika » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:57 am

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).


Missing the point once again, and taking a potshot at the Thai people (amulets on chickens...really?). Perhaps you'll get a chance to visit Thailand one day, and experience the intellect and friendliness of the Thais, along with their amazing culture, world class business environment, and advanced medical and academic institutions. For someone who has written with some level of scholarship on the Mahayana front, there seems to be almost a juvenile effort at pejoratives toward Thai Theravada. Very disappointing, very uncool and very not-so-dharmic IMO. No matter which school one might be from on these forums, there really needs to be a modicum of respect. It's hardly fitting for the ordained, or the laity for that matter, to take cartoonish shots at another country's perceived customs.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:20 am

So, eating past noon is bad, but selling amulets and other questionable practices is okay because it is part of the culture?
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:14 am

Hi Ven. Indrajala,

All of this might even be moot. Theravada monastics don't eat beyond noon, but as you know are allowed the 'tonics' / medicine as needed. And there are varying interpretations of what makes a monk "ill". One who is very hungry and in pain might be interpreted as "ill" at some monasteries and then apparently eat some solid foods. Chocolate is also considered medicine, from what I have heard (dark chocolate without dairy). The violation for consuming food when not ill is also not considered a major offense.
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby santa100 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:18 am

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). When I cited MN 65, MN 66, MN 69, MN 70, and AN 3.70, you responded:
That sounds a bit too institutional to me, which leads me to think it was a later addition


Then a second time, regarding AN 10.31, you responded:
That sounds like a convenient narrative to justify institutionalized rules and regulations.


So beside brushing aside the Vinaya Pitaka, you're also brushing aside many important portions of the Sutta Pitaka. Here's my third and last sutta reference for you. I've done my part here and have nothing more to say. Peace..
And the Lord said to Ananda: ‘Ananda, it may be that you will think: “The Teacher’s instruction has ceased, now we have no teacher!” It should not be seen like this, Ananda, for what I have taught and explained to you as Dhamma and Discipline will, at my passing, be your teacher. ~~ DN 16: Mahaparinibbana Sutta ( http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pi ... at-passing ) ~~
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby SarathW » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:36 am

Hi Indrajala
Irrespective of Vinaya, I think there are lot of benefits for not having dinner. Please refer to the following link.
Not only Buddhism but all religions recognise the benefit of fasting.
I have never fast in my life. It is not an easy step for me. I have some practical issues, because I am a lay follower.
So now I try to have my last meal at 6.00pm.Gradually I am trying to bring that forward to 12.00 noon.
I already reap the benefit of my little effort.
So I suggest you just try and see whether there are any benefits for you by fasting irrespective of all other institutional issues.

:)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting

Metta
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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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