Coffee and tea as food

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Coffee and tea as food

Postby householder » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:54 pm

Hi,

Was advised in relation to a query in advance of the intensive retreat tomorrow that coffee is considered a food because it is made from a bean, even though that bean is not edible. Even black tea is considered a food.

By that logic just about anything which is made from something solid is considered a food, leaving only water and honey. Anyone come across this before?
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Re: Coffee and tea as food

Postby Ben » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:05 pm

I think you need to go with the flow, so to speak, regarding the policies of individual retreat centres as to what is offered at and in-between meal times. Before I go on retreat, I wean myself off tea and coffee completely but gradually as I find caffeine a real hindrance to intensive practice.
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Re: Coffee and tea as food

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:24 pm

I agree with Ben. Just accept the local politics. Every group has their peculiarities. I've been told by some groups that coffee is an intoxicant and thus forbidden by the fifth precept. What is considered not "food" and therefore acceptable after noon varies. Some groups worry whether the "bits" in a juice are too large and sieve their juices. I've been with Ajahn Chah groups who have dark chocolate (and gummy bears!) in the evening, which would be frowned on by other groups.

The point of this precept, in my view, is to enhance mindfulness and concentration. I don't think that the details of exactly what is allowable are particularly important.

However, as Ben says, suddenly dropping coffee can be tricky. I gradually weaned myself off coffee onto green tea on a retreat in January... As my energy went up I didn't need the coffee anymore...

:anjali:
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Re: Coffee and tea as food

Postby householder » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:43 pm

Yes I was advised to wake up with something herbal (but it'll be before noon so technically ok, but, as you say, want to go with the flow) so will be stocking up on green tea bags. I got the e-mail just after I brewed what is now my last coffee for a month! :D
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Re: Coffee and tea as food

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:57 pm

householder wrote:Hi,

Was advised in relation to a query in advance of the intensive retreat tomorrow that coffee is considered a food because it is made from a bean, even though that bean is not edible. Even black tea is considered a food.

By that logic just about anything which is made from something solid is considered a food, leaving only water and honey. Anyone come across this before?


Honey is more of a food, it has more calories than coffee.

The monks at my Vihara take tea after midday, but without sugar.

The whole point of this rule for monks was to not wear out their welcome and overburden the community that supported them.

The downside of the religious side of Buddhism. Following a rule just because it has been followed, rather than taking care of the reason for it being made.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Coffee and tea as food

Postby householder » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:59 am

A branch meditation center in the same lineage allowed coffee throughout the day as long as there was no milk.
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