But if you consider the reason they're happy to eat once a day, which is that the Buddha says it will help to reach enlightenment by not clinging to it, it becomes dogmatism because you only have his word to go on. And you would consider it selfish of me to not want to be hungry all the time because everyone is so excited and absorbed in doing something they perceive will aid in their quest for enlightenment while completely ignoring the fact that there isn't any proof. (Which I must add is rather ironic as a goal of Buddhism is to become wiser.)
But you see, there is proof. Once you have done it for a while, you see that you get sharper, less dull in the afternoon and evening, have more time to do other things. Meditation in the evening, after having no dinner, is WAY better than with dinner. There are lots of benefits it turns out. At least, that's my experience. So it's not just dogmatism, it's an experienced thing which seems to have benefits for the monks who do it.
For me, having a sharp clear mind in the evening, plus an extra hour, is more valuable than a full belly.
And, to be honest, those feelings of slight hunger give us something to be aware of, a small tiny suffering we can use as a reference and reminder.
zgott333 wrote:Would it not have made more sense for the Buddha to simply ask us not to over eat because it makes us crave it? Ah, but maybe he didn't trust our judgement enough to make the rule so subjective... huh.. that still doesn't justify the dogmatism of the rule though, as he could have just put more emphasis on being absolutely sure you're eating a correct amount. He surely didn't have to resort to dogmatism. A good idea as far as my example is concerned is just to make a second, optional lunchtime later in the evening, any reason why that wouldn't work
That's a fair point. My guess for why he put it that way is just the style of the times back then, and what would work in terms of being an easily understood, easily remembered, easily chanted guideline. Plus needing to be a guideline that wouldn't be too badly bent by thousands of years of lazy hungry monks wanting to justify eating more.
The monastic rules are short, concise, compact, and to the point. Any rule phrased like that is going to sound pretty dogmatic.
One final thing before I go to bed...
Part of the reason for all the rules, is to help monks in giving up.
Giving up their preferences, giving up their desires and wants, and letting them go.
This practise of giving up, following the trainings, helps us when we are giving up more serious things. Not just giving up the desire for a full stomach, but giving up lust, relinquishing anger, letting go of negative thought patterns and behaviours, etc.
Letting go, submitting to the rule about food, all the hundreds of silly little dogmatic rules, is good practise for the bigger letting-go that must happen later.
And at that point, the rules themselves are let go of.
And I am sooo looking forward to that.