Uposatha & the 6th Precept

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Agent » Fri May 07, 2010 11:56 pm

For those of you who observe the Uposatha, how do you practice the 6th Precept?
Two meals before noon? One meal? Stuff your face nonstop until noon and hope to make it to dawn?
Do you have juice or anything else after noon?

I'm considering attempting one meal on the next Uposatha so I am particularly interested in hearing from people who are practicing this way or have attempted it. How do you find it affects your practice? And if you would be willing to share further, what is your reasoning for practicing in this way?

Metta,
Jason
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby bodom » Sat May 08, 2010 12:34 am

I haven't been able to observe Uposatha days since my daughter was born, but when I did I found them to be very beneficial to my meditation practice. I used the articles below as guides to my Uposatha sila practice. Im sure you'll find them as useful as I did.

Uposatha Sila The Eight-Precept Observance compiled and written by Somdet Phra Buddhaghosacariya (Ñanavara Thera)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org:80/lib/a ... ha.html#qa

Lay Buddhist Practice The Shrine Room, Uposatha Day, Rains Residence by Bhikkhu Khantipalo
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el206.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat May 08, 2010 1:20 am

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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Goofaholix » Sat May 08, 2010 1:30 am

Agent wrote:For those of you who observe the Uposatha, how do you practice the 6th Precept?
Two meals before noon? One meal? Stuff your face nonstop until noon and hope to make it to dawn?
Do you have juice or anything else after noon?

I'm considering attempting one meal on the next Uposatha so I am particularly interested in hearing from people who are practicing this way or have attempted it. How do you find it affects your practice? And if you would be willing to share further, what is your reasoning for practicing in this way?

Metta,
Jason


Not eating after noon you'll find is very easy, unless you share a living environment with people who are eating after noon.

It doesn't really matter whether you eat one meal or two, stuff your face or not, but if you think you are going to find it hard going or you are living with other people who don't want to join you then go and stay at a monastery and do it.

I find physically it's good for the body to give it a rest for part of the day so it's not constantly processing food, and it's good for the mind so you aren't getting interrupted or distracted by food.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat May 08, 2010 1:44 am

most of the time i never eat after noon, its not really a big deal at least for the majority of healthy people, if you're diabetic that's a different story.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Agent » Sat May 08, 2010 1:51 am

Bodom, thank you for the links. The first was very interesting. I learned a lot about Uposatha that was a bit unclear to me before. I'll take a look at the second one as soon as I have a chance.

Just to clarify, I have already been observing Upsotha for a few months, so not eating after noon will not be a problem. I was just interested in how others chose to observe this specific precept. And in that regard, David, the thread you pointed out was very helpful and exactly what I was looking for. After reading it I have decided to go ahead with the one-sessioner's practice. I found it odd that so many people were worried about it being detrimental to health. Technically it is a short intermittent fast, which research indicates has many health benefits. In any event, I'm not taking it up for that reason. More along the line of reasoning pointed out by Chula in the other thread:

Regardless, eating just one complete meal for the day has many benefits when one gets used to it, among them:

* Much less time of the day worrying about food, more time to practice
* Much, much less sloth & torpor since there isn't the drowsiness after the meal (this is mentioned in multiple places in the suttas)
* Great way to practice appropriate attention (yoniso manasikāra) - because even after having multiple meals, improperly attending to food can lead to sensual cravings that can be mistaken for hunger. When having just one meal for the day this is brought right into the middle of the picture - there is no running away from sensual desire - you have to deal with it right then and there. As a result mindfulness & alertness (satisampajaññā) gets a decided boost, and you start seeing the purpose of sense restraint (indriya saṃvara) - which is a cornerstone of the path.



Metta,
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby BlackBird » Mon May 10, 2010 12:50 am

I haven't had a meal after noon in quite some time. Mind you, in the Thai Forest Tradition the definition of a '
meal' is somewhat blurry, considering the amount of cheese we're running through at the Monastery...

Craving is craving is craving, it likes to disguise itself amongst an object eg. food, sex, even our perculiar habits like showering at a certain time, or sitting in a certain seat, but it's the same underlying mechanism, this desperate negative that can never be self contained and assumes a permanence - In everything it grasps at.

metta
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Anicca » Mon May 10, 2010 1:01 am

BlackBird wrote:Mind you, in the Thai Forest Tradition the definition of a 'meal' is somewhat blurry, considering the amount of cheese we're running through at the Monastery...

Could you explain? I understand cheese and sunflower seeds and other ?not-foods? are eaten in the afternoon - early evening. You can drink filtered fruit juices, but something like v-8 juice is a food?
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon May 10, 2010 1:16 am

Hello Agent,

When I'm feeling fine (not sick and/or my wife or son aren't sick) I keep to the one sessioner's practice on the uposatha. I eat one meal before noon and take only tea with sugar or honey for energy afterwards. On days when I'm feeling ill I will eat a little meal at sunrise and another little meal before noon. I used to eat dark chocolate until Ven Pesala Bhikkhu pointed out tonics are to be used only when one is ill. Metta.
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Monkey Mind » Mon May 10, 2010 1:29 am

I do not know to what extent my experience applies to your situation... If I do "calorie loading" during the one meal, i.e. eat a lot of food, then I find myself starving later in the evening. If I eat a moderate portioned meal, then I have zero problems with hunger later in the evening.
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Anicca » Mon May 10, 2010 1:42 am

Monkey Mind wrote:then I have zero problems with hunger later in the evening.

Couldn't say "zero" problems - but restraint helps. What's amazing is the next morning - no where near as hungry as the night before... but then it is legal to eat.

That is why i am curious to find out what is really considered legal to eat after noon - maybe just knowing i could eat cheese and sunflower seeds would make it easier to eat nothing!
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby BlackBird » Mon May 10, 2010 1:52 am

Anicca wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Mind you, in the Thai Forest Tradition the definition of a 'meal' is somewhat blurry, considering the amount of cheese we're running through at the Monastery...

Could you explain? I understand cheese and sunflower seeds and other ?not-foods? are eaten in the afternoon - early evening. You can drink filtered fruit juices, but something like v-8 juice is a food?


I was being a bit tongue in cheek about how much cheese we eat and consequently how full everyone's stomachs are in the evening. As far as V-8 goes, I'm no expert on how they're doing the Vinaya-dance here, but I would suspect it would be unallowable.

metta
Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby mikenz66 » Mon May 10, 2010 8:04 am

BlackBird wrote:I was being a bit tongue in cheek about how much cheese we eat and consequently how full everyone's stomachs are in the evening. As far as V-8 goes, I'm no expert on how they're doing the Vinaya-dance here, but I would suspect it would be unallowable.

Dark chocolate is quite common in some quarters. Ajahn Tiradhammo (Abbot of the Ajahn Chah monastery in Wellington) has a preference for Gummi Bears... :anjali:

Image

Since they are soft and basically sugar + colouring, I guess that's not much different from honey...

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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby altar » Mon May 10, 2010 1:14 pm

Yes I recently did an experiment in which I melted them. It looked something like a fruit roll-up afterwards so I wanted to see if I could harden it and eat it like one and put it in the freezer because I was too impatient to let it happen overnight. The problem was it got stuck to the plate, and I was afraid of letting it harden too much because of that.
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Agent » Mon May 10, 2010 3:49 pm

Hmmm. I often wonder about the different "allowable" snacks, beverages, etc. It seems like there can be a tendency to obsess over and put more thought and energy into that than the average person puts into just simply eating 3 meals a day. I would prefer to contemplate why I feel such a strong need for food after noon than think of technicalities and justifications that would allow me to eat some sort of food.
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Agent » Fri May 14, 2010 1:17 pm

Just wanted to do a quick follow up since yesterday was Uposatha.

I went ahead with the one-sessioner's practice, taking my meal at 11am. I used the time I would have spent cooking and eating breakfast to extend my morning meditation. I was a bit hungry when I started but by the end of the meditation I felt fine. I've noticed when skipping meals that the body seems to just be conditioned to eat at certain times, if I ignore the hunger it goes away fairly quickly.

Overall I found it to be well worth it and plan to continue this practice.
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Sobeh » Fri May 14, 2010 6:22 pm

Agent wrote: I've noticed when skipping meals that the body seems to just be conditioned to eat at certain times, if I ignore the hunger it goes away fairly quickly.


This is a long website detailing various meal habits from various times and places across the planet; such information can help to dislodge the idea that "three square meals a day" is somehow an objective human need.
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby PeterB » Fri May 14, 2010 6:39 pm

For health reasons I cant do the 6th precept observance now, but following the Chithurst example I used to find a few squares of dark chocolate kept me going on Uposatha days... :smile:
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Vardali » Fri May 14, 2010 8:46 pm

As I don't usually eat much afternoon/evenings anyway, the "no meal" after noon isn't usually a problem; though I do drink a bit of watered fruitjuice usually. My normal eating rythm is having my main meals around 10am and 2 pm, so shifting to noon time isn't too hard unless I am at work as our cantina opens just around noon-time. But then I am not too fussed if it's a few minutes past, as this would strike me as obsessive and defeating the principle idea ;)
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Re: Uposatha & the 6th Precept

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Sat May 15, 2010 4:18 pm

For me I go for 2 meals a day.
As for non foods after midday,my understanding,as instructed by my teacher,non chunky drinks are ok,(so I guess V8 is cool)as are foods that you do not have to chew.Don't know how gummi bears fit into this catorgory.Must buy some and see.Cheese---not sure,but hey,I am not here to judge,just to try and learn. :reading:
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