Why one meal a day?

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Indrajala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:47 pm

daverupa wrote: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?


In the west when funding from immigrants and Asia dry up, then monastics will have to be partially or fully self-sufficient. Think growing food (tilling the earth), selling speciality products (like Christian monastics: honey, cheese, etc.) and not relying on handouts. I don't see western cultures supporting Vinaya monasticism in the long-term.

How many of the big monasteries in the west are primarily funded by western benefactors, I wonder? Not many.

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Anagarika
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Anagarika » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:19 pm

I see the above as two different questions. Whether a monk should abstain from sex, not eat after midday, maintain a shaved head (and no longer than 2 fingers' length), wear robes, sleep in a low and simple bed, etc, etc is a different question than how monasteries in the west will adapt to changing support environments. Some of the minor rules or functional rules may need to be adapted to economic circumstances. I still do not see a day when good bhikkhus and bhikkhunis give up the precepts on an ad hoc bases. There are sound reasons for the maintenance of the behavioral precepts, and I and others have written enough on the issue. It's still my view that the evolution away from the Vinaya precepts (and the Bodhisattva precepts for that matter) has been a primary cause of some of the dysfunction in Buddhist communities in the west. So many of the abuses of trust and scandals have centered around disregard for the major precepts. Maintenance of the major precepts instills confidence and trust, both within the monk, and within the sangha that includes the laity. To suggest otherwise is a laissez-faire approach that leads to troublesome events.

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Indrajala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:27 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:It's still my view that the evolution away from the Vinaya precepts (and the Bodhisattva precepts for that matter) has been a primary cause of some of the dysfunction in Buddhist communities in the west.


Buddhism in the west is largely a fringe religion amongst native westerners, so it attracts fringe people, not ordinary folk. That's why you get a lot of crazies and unsettled people who with our without the Vinaya will cause trouble.

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lyndon taylor
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:39 pm

Yeah we from time to time get them on these forums!!!
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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Indrajala
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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:14 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Yeah we from time to time get them on these forums!!!


Guilty as charged. :toast:

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Re: Eating after midday.

Postby SarathW » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:04 am

Cittasanto wrote:
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!



Thanks Cittasanto. I have some further questions.

Q2:Will the lay once returner (Sakdagami) eat after midday?
Q3:Will the lay Non returner (Anagami) eat after midday?
Q4)Will the lay Arahnat eat after midday?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

primitiveresonance
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Re: Why one meal a day?

Postby primitiveresonance » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:05 pm

I don't think one meal a day is unhealthy. I think it is healthier than to have many meals a day. Of course some snacks may be needed if one is being very active physically.

I'm eating a good meal finishnig at 12:00am and having a salad in the evening. I have developed a clearer understanding about food and nutrition while following this one-meal-program (ok, I take the salad so it's not really only one meal). Food gives deeper satisfaction and I don't go after the taste (sensual craving) which is not the important part of eating. The actual substance that goes to the belly and is being digested is. One meal a day gives enough time for the digestion to finish the previous intake before next one. That's very good for health.

I have more energy because it is not wated in digesting too much food that would be the case with two or three daily meals. My mind/senses are more at ease and clear. Thinking is also more clear than with more food or with dead animals in my food.

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jungblood
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One meal a day... at night?

Postby jungblood » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:38 am

Howdy folks,

So as I understand it, Buddha said that the Vinaya should be adapted as different times and contexts required, right? I'm a lay practitioner, but I like to incorporate the Vinaya into my life in my own modest and imperfect way... one way I'm doing this is by sticking to one meal a day... Though most monasteries take this meal between sunrise and noon, I'm having my daily meal in the evening instead... this is because I exercise in the morning before work, so I need to get some fuel the night before (otherwise I might have gone without food for 17 or 18 hours, and be barely able to run to the end of the street... :shrug:

Has anyone else sought to adapt Buddha's dietary guidance in this way? I'd love to hear the experience of others...

Deep bows,
Lucas
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'Trading candy for gold': http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... candy.html

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Re: One meal a day... at night?

Postby fivebells » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:41 am

I know from experience that it's perfectly possible to run when you haven't eaten for 24 hours. I do it regularly. Have you experimented with that?

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Re: One meal a day... at night?

Postby cooran » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:48 am

Hello jungblood,

My understanding is that The Vinaya contains the rules for ordained sangha members - unless you are a Bhikkhu, you can eat when you prefer.

With metta,
Chris
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Re: One meal a day... at night?

Postby Paul Davy » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:50 am

Greetings Jungblood,

I used to do that at a time when I did not exercise. The reason I chose dinner time was because it was the one meal I would eat with my family during the week, whereas breakfast and lunch (and the decision whether to have them at all) were more personal decisions.

It worked well for me at the time, and I dropped from 85kg to 73kg at a rate of roughly 1.0 kg per week. Once I got to 73, I plateaud.

Now I'm actually physically active, I eat 2-3 meals a day, but always dinner. For a monk, once a day should be fine (especially given how much food they tend to get offered).

Metta,
Retro. :)
What is the final conviction that comes when radical attention is razor-edge sharp? That the object of the mind is mind-made (manomaya). (Ven. Ñāṇananda)

Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'.
(Snp 3.6)

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kmath
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Re: One meal a day... at night?

Postby kmath » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:42 am

It's important to consider why monks only eat once a day. We're told it's so as to minimize strain on the lay people. If lay people are not supporting you, I don't see the rational for it.

Secondly, from a health standpoint, not eating after exercise can be counter-productive. Your body needs calories after a work-out otherwise it start breaking down muscle, which you don't want.

I'm speaking from experience here, I strongly advise you not to go down this road, especially at your age. You're still growing. You could end up with an eating disorder. People will disagree with me here but it's not a good idea.

:anjali:

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Re: One meal a day... at night?

Postby Sokehi » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:22 pm

kmath wrote:It's important to consider why monks only eat once a day. We're told it's so as to minimize strain on the lay people. If lay people are not supporting you, I don't see the rational for it.

Secondly, from a health standpoint, not eating after exercise can be counter-productive. Your body needs calories after a work-out otherwise it start breaking down muscle, which you don't want.

I'm speaking from experience here, I strongly advise you not to go down this road, especially at your age. You're still growing. You could end up with an eating disorder. People will disagree with me here but it's not a good idea.

:anjali:


very good posting.

At least you should prepare a (green) smoothie in the morning. I do so, drinking two liters of fruits, spinach with added soy milk from the morning to midday. Then in the afternoon you can have your one meal.

But still: the buddha developed this particular rule to minimize strain on the lay people. There is absolutely no point with regards to the buddhas teaching for you to do this unless you are a monastic.

Be nice to yourself.

:anjali:
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Re: One meal a day... at night?

Postby Zom » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:16 pm

For a long time I practise moderation in food this way: I eat once a day after ~5 hours after waking up. No matter when I wake up - at 6 am, at 9 am or at 1 pm ). This works perfect for me.

PS: Yes, I do agree that this practice should be undertaken with care and only when you are ready for it - that is - when you really feel comfortable with such schedule. Forceful suppression is not a way.

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Re: One meal a day... at night?

Postby jungblood » Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:23 am

Thanks everyone for your input... some real food for thought (no pun intended).. I wasn't aware that the Vinaya guidelines on meals were intended to ease strain on lay supporters... in my case food is central sense pleasure fixation - though I'm lucky that I dont put on weight, I'm conscious that I eat for pleasure in a way that is not helpful in my spiritual practise, so I want to put some healthy discipline on the issue... I'm thinking I'll go for one small 'recovery' protein and vitamin meal after exercise, and my main meal late afternoon - that's what's best for my body.... :thanks:
'Renunciation' http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl036.html
'Trading candy for gold': http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... candy.html

'The more we really know the Dhamma, the more we can let go. Those who know a little can let go of a little; those who know a lot can let go of a lot.' - Ajaan Lee

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Re: One meal a day... at night?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:40 am

Wisely reflecting, I use this food not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening, not for beautification, but only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it healthy, for helping with the Spiritual Life; Thinking thus, I will allay hunger without overeating, so that I may continue to live blamelessly and at ease.

Paṭisaṅkhā yoniso piṇḍapātaṃ paṭisevāmi: neva davāya na madāya na maṇḍanāya na vibhūsanāya, yāvadeva imassa kāyassa ṭhitiyā yāpanāya vihiṃsūparatiyā brahmacariyānuggahāya iti purāṇañca vedanaṃ paṭihaṅkhāmi, navañca vedanaṃ na uppādessāmi, yātrā ca me bhavissati anavajjatā ca phāsuvihāro cā’ti.
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Paul Davy
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Re: One meal a day... at night?

Postby Paul Davy » Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:17 am

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
What is the final conviction that comes when radical attention is razor-edge sharp? That the object of the mind is mind-made (manomaya). (Ven. Ñāṇananda)

Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'.
(Snp 3.6)

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amity2kok
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Re: Why one meal a day?

Postby amity2kok » Sat May 24, 2014 4:25 pm

Dear Friends,

This is a very interesting Question.

As per tradition, meals were taken at 6:30 am and then at 11:00 am. After that there were no meals. Understand the reason for this.

As per the Buddha, the food that we take is only for sustenance of this body. And when one is living the holy life, meditation being his major activity for the entire day, one hardly feels hungry as there is no physical labor. The above mentioned meals are sufficient for the whole day and it assists in the meditation practice.

Lay people eat in the evening / night also. It depends. If you are doing lot of physical work, then it makes sense to have meals spread across the day. But if you are not into too much physical labor then there is no need to have the evening meal. Hunger pangs will come in the evening, but they will subside after one or two hours.

I have tried it. I used to eat at 6:30 am (fruits) and then meals at 11:00 am. (That also whatever came into the plate in 1st serving only that much, I did not take second serving). During this time, i was not working, and was studying for my competitive exams. I did this for almost 6 months. It helped me immensely.

If you don't eat in the night and go to sleep at (9:00 pm), you wake up fresh in the morning (at 4:00 am) feeling light and you can meditate successfully. Then at 6:30 am you can have your breakfast, which is supposed to be a heavy meal. Then again at 11:00 am (Before noon). That's it. You are done for the day.

If one is not doing too much physical labor, then one's body does not require the night meals. It is just that one is slave of one's habit that one have to take the night meals.

As per Buddha "Hunger is the worst illness"

Be Happy,
Amit

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Biija
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I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Postby Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:26 pm

Sawadee krap! _/\_

Recently, I lived 3 months in Thai monasteries with the intention to go forth. I really enjoyed the lifestyle and I was invited to become an anagarika. Except for one thing I could not continue: nutrition. I got sick after one month of eating only one meal a day (09h30 AM), so I decided to go to Bangkok to see a doctor. I was with anemia and the doctor said I couldn't come back immediately to the monastery. So, I stayed in Bangkok for 15 days to recover. Then, I went to another monastery and I had the same problem. The symptoms were: [1] trembling, [2] lack of energy, [3] extreme muscle loss, [4] extremely thin body. I was feeling "dead". It was difficult to climb up the kuti's stairs. I was cadaverous to the point that the monks started to notice and worry about my condition. They tried to help me by offering natural medicines which helped but were not enough. Normally, I'm too skinny and small-boned: an ectomorph, indeed. The physical appearance does not annoy me too much, but I couldn't live minimally well. I was far from the "middle way". After analyzing the exams' results, the doctor said that I burn way more calories than an average person. Now I am in my homeland and I did a battery of exams and the doctor told me basically the same things. So, I have a special condition. I need to eat normally or almost normally to keep a minimally healthy body, unfortunately. My body is similar to an old V8 engine, burns fuel for nothing. Having said that, I have some questions:

1) Could I eat after noon, considering that I have a special condition that demands a different eating habit? I'd like to try again.
2) Should I write to the abbot explaining my condition? Or should I talk in person? I'm asking because I am from overseas. Too far...
3) Is there any similar case in the suttas?

English is not my first language. Hope you understand.
Any suggestions are welcome.

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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:03 pm

How was it at the monastery you were at? Did the monks have juice or any food in the evenings? The reason I ask, is I have heard that many monks do eat some of the allowable tonics in the evening when the hunger pains are too strong. This is considered allowable for an ill monk and some have interpreted that more liberally to include hunger.

It may be some medical condition that requires you to keep your blood sugars normal or higher and they can drop significantly with fasting. Check with the physician's report.


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