Five Tonics & Conjey

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Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby Chula » Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:55 am

I've been practicing the eight precepts recently and what constitutes the five tonics came up... I was having dark chocolate with no milk in it, but was reading through the relevant section in the Vinaya and was struck by this:

"According to Mv.VI.16.1, even if the sugar has a little flour mixed in with it simply to make it firmer — as sometimes happens in sugar cubes and blocks of palm sugar — it is still classed as a tonic as long as it is still regarded simply as "sugar." If the mixture is regarded as something else — candy, for instance — it counts as a food and may not be eaten after noon of the day on which it is received."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#NP23

Doesn't this mean all chocolate is out? It also doesn't seem to be open to interpretation.

On a somewhat separate note, I know conjey is praised in the Vinaya (http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... _of_conjey) and even in those days when monks only had one meal-a-day they used to have conjey in the mornings.. I was wondering if something similar (like oatmeal for example) is used in the West using the Great Standards.. This is obviously within the allowable time (sunrise to midday) - but I was interested since taking the Eight Precepts constitutes being a one-mealer (ekabatthika as the Arahants):

"'As long as they live, the arahants live on one meal a day, abstaining from food at night, refraining from food at the wrong time of day [from noon until dawn]. Today I too, for this day & night, live on one meal, abstaining from food at night, refraining from food at the wrong time of day. By means of this factor I emulate the arahants, and my Uposatha will be observed."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:36 pm

Hi Chula,

Chula wrote:I've been practicing the eight precepts recently and what constitutes the five tonics came up... I was having dark chocolate with no milk in it, but was reading through the relevant section in the Vinaya and was struck by this:

"According to Mv.VI.16.1, even if the sugar has a little flour mixed in with it simply to make it firmer — as sometimes happens in sugar cubes and blocks of palm sugar — it is still classed as a tonic as long as it is still regarded simply as "sugar." If the mixture is regarded as something else — candy, for instance — it counts as a food and may not be eaten after noon of the day on which it is received."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#NP23

Doesn't this mean all chocolate is out? It also doesn't seem to be open to interpretation.


Among bhikkhus the allowability of chocolate is a disputed point.

On a somewhat separate note, I know conjey is praised in the Vinaya (http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... _of_conjey) and even in those days when monks only had one meal-a-day they used to have conjey in the mornings.. I was wondering if something similar (like oatmeal for example) is used in the West using the Great Standards.. This is obviously within the allowable time (sunrise to midday) - but I was interested since taking the Eight Precepts constitutes being a one-mealer (ekabatthika as the Arahants):

"'As long as they live, the arahants live on one meal a day, abstaining from food at night, refraining from food at the wrong time of day [from noon until dawn]. Today I too, for this day & night, live on one meal, abstaining from food at night, refraining from food at the wrong time of day. By means of this factor I emulate the arahants, and my Uposatha will be observed."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


I think you've been misled by a translation of ekabhattika that is faithful to the wording (eka = one, bhatta = meal) but not to the meaning, for it conflates ekabhattika with ekaasanika.

Ekabhattika: "one-mealer" means eating only during one part of the day (from dawn to midday), but despite the wording it doesn't actually set any limit on how many meals are consumed during this period.

Ekaasanika: "one-session-eater" means eating just one meal a day.

And so all ekaasanikas are ekabhattikas, but not every ekabhattika is an ekaasanika. Ekaasanika is an optional dhutanga observance undertaken (chiefly) by the gluttonous, while ekabhattika is what the sixth precept entails and what arahants practise.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando
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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:28 pm

Bhante,

Thank you for the clarification of that point. Chula and I have been observing the 8 precepts every uposatha day and for the last week and we have decided to err on the side of caution by eating just one meal. I believe I'll continue the practice during the uposatha days and whenever I'm observing the 8 precepts but it's good to be clear about what is actually said. Incidentally, can you give any pointers as to where one might look for guidance on the issue of chocolate?
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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby alan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:16 pm

I understand that once the Sangha grew very large, it would have been necessary to limit how much to ask of any town they were visiting. But what is the inherent virtue in eating only once a day? It is obviously not the healthiest way to live...

Hope this question does not come off the wrong way, but it is another little thing that has been bugging me. I'd really like to understand it.
Thanks
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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:26 pm

alan wrote:Hope this question does not come off the wrong way, but it is another little thing that has been bugging me. I'd really to understand it.

Please start another thread for this topic.

The five tonics are for one who is sick, not for one who is not sick. The allowance was made for bhikkhus who were suffering from jaundice, and thus vomited all solid food. If one is in good health, and able to eat regular meals there is no need to take the five tonics.

Sweet drinks are allowable for one who is not sick, as well as for one who is sick. ("Sick" may be extended to include famished as a result of missing a meal, or on occasion of heavy manual labour).

Nissaggiya Pacittiya 23 is the relevant rule regarding the five tonics.

As a rule, take food for nutrition, not for pleasure or just out of boredom. If you feel hungry in the evenings while observing eight precepts, then take a sweet drink. If you're famished due to not eating sufficient food at midday, then the five tonics may be taken. It is not easy to tell the difference between need and greed. If you want to eradicate craving then it is best to err on the side of abstemiousness.
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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:31 pm

Thank you Bhante, especially for the link! :anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:21 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Incidentally, can you give any pointers as to where one might look for guidance on the issue of chocolate?


Ven. Gavesako and I once discussed the chocolate question on an old E-sangha thread, but I don't know if it is cached anywhere. Here is what used to be the link for it: http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index.php?showtopic=68796

Best wishes,
Dhammanando
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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby Chula » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:34 pm

Thanks Bhante Dhammanando for the thoughtful interpretation..

The reason I took Ekabhattika to mean one-meal was two-fold. One was as you point out because of the literal meaning, and the other was that I found suttas where Arahants just have one meal for the day.

The Ratthapala Sutta (MN 82) really clarifies this:
"Just then a slavewoman belonging to one of his relatives was about to throw away some day-old porridge. So Ven. Ratthapala said to her, "Sister, if that is to be thrown away, pour it here into my bowl." While she was pouring the day-old porridge into this bowl, she recognized his hands, feet, & voice. So she went to his mother and said, "May it please you to know, my lady, that master-son Ratthapala has arrived."
"Hey, if what you say is true, I give you your freedom!"
Then Ven. Ratthapala's mother went to his father and said, "May it please you to know, householder, that they say the clansman Ratthapala has arrived."
Now at that time Ven. Ratthapala was sitting by a wall, eating the day-old porridge. His father went to him and said, "Ratthapala, my dear, isn't there — What? You're eating day-old porridge? Don't you have your own home to go to?"
"How could we have a home, householder? We have gone forth from the household life into homelessness. We are homeless, householder. We went to your house, but — instead of receiving a gift or a polite refusal — we got nothing but abuse."
"Come, dear Ratthapala. Let's go home."
"Enough, householder. My meal for today is finished.""
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

in Pali: “Alaṃ, gahapati, kataṃ me ajja bhattakiccaṃ”

In this case Ven. Ratthapala refuses more food because he has finished his meal for the day. I think this clearly shows the intention when the eight precepts state that Arahants were ekabhattika (one-mealers). This doesn't mean that it was the one-sessioner's practice because after going on alms round they might not get enough for the day - in which case as I understand it (from the Vinaya) it's ok to eat again to quell hunger (within the allowable time).

So as I see it, Ekabhattika is when you have just one complete meal in the allowable time (not necessarily in one sit). Ekāsanika is when you only eat during one sit.

Dhammanando wrote:I think you've been misled by a translation of ekabhattika that is faithful to the wording (eka = one, bhatta = meal) but not to the meaning, for it conflates ekabhattika with ekaasanika.

Ekabhattika: "one-mealer" means eating only during one part of the day (from dawn to midday), but despite the wording it doesn't actually set any limit on how many meals are consumed during this period.

Ekaasanika: "one-session-eater" means eating just one meal a day.

And so all ekaasanikas are ekabhattikas, but not every ekabhattika is an ekaasanika. Ekaasanika is an optional dhutanga observance undertaken (chiefly) by the gluttonous, while ekabhattika is what the sixth precept entails and what arahants practise.
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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:53 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Incidentally, can you give any pointers as to where one might look for guidance on the issue of chocolate?


Ven. Gavesako and I once discussed the chocolate question on an old E-sangha thread, but I don't know if it is cached anywhere. Here is what used to be the link for it: http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index.php?showtopic=68796

Best wishes,
Dhammanando


Bhante,

Unfortunately, it's not cached anywhere I can see. It would have been an enlightening discussion to be sure. Thanks anyway. :anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:22 pm

I recall the chocolate discussion! There was mention of debate on whether milk chocolate qualified or if only dark chocolate counted, also if chocolate was medicine or food. As I recalled, this thread also brought into discussion the topic of urine as medicine. Too bad it was lost.

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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:31 pm

Bubbabuddhist wrote:I recall the chocolate discussion! There was mention of debate on whether milk chocolate qualified or if only dark chocolate counted, also if chocolate was medicine or food. As I recalled, this thread also brought into discussion the topic of urine as medicine. Too bad it was lost.

J


Man, people were discussing urine as a medicinal drink within the context of the Vinaya. I always seem to miss the good stuff. :tongue:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Five Tonics & Conjey

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:38 am

Medicine: A bhikkhu's life depends on fermented urine as medicine. So he should take fermented urine as medicine and make an effort to practise dhamma. But there are special allowances: they are ghee, fresh butter, oil, honey and molasses. Having formally accepted them, he is to take them as medicine within seven days at most. On the seventh day he shall give them away. However, he may use them externally after the seventh day.

He can also take any allowable indigenous or Western medicine donated by devotees out of their faith in the Buddha sasana.
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