How will Buddhism adapt from this point on? One new connection that's becoming clear in the modern world is the link between physical exercise, diet and meditation. Monks, reliant on alms-food, have never been well positioned to manage a healthy diet. Nor do cultural norms see them engaged in exercise. Yet we now know that these practices all support each other.
On this point monks living in the West are much better positioned than those in Asia -- we get healthy food and can have plenty of exercise as well, not being constrained by the social norms so much.
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Take status for an example. As soon as people gain status and rank, they start swelling up larger than they really are. You don't have to look far for examples of this sort of thing. Look at monks. When they start out as ordinary junior monks, they can go anywhere with no trouble at all, along highways and byways, down narrow alleys and back streets, anywhere they like. But as soon as they start getting a little ecclesiastical rank, they start getting abnormally large. The roads they used to walk along start feeling too narrow. They have trouble walking anywhere — their legs are too long and their feet too heavy. Their rears are too large for ordinary seats. (Of course, not all high-ranking monks are like this. You can find ones who don't swell up.) As for lay people, once they're hit by the edge of status, they start swelling up too, to the point where they can hardly move. Their hands get too heavy to raise in respect to the Buddha. Their legs get so big they can't make it to the monastery to hear a sermon or observe the precepts — they're afraid they'd lose their edge. This is how one of the edges of the world kills the goodness in people.
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