Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

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SarathW
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Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by SarathW » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:08 am

Why many Buddhist monks are overweight?

I notice that many Buddhist monks seems overweight.
What is the reason?
The only reason I can think of is that they consume too much sweet or they consume beverage containing too much sugar.
This is a result that monks are only allowed to consume non-solids after mid day.
The objective of this post is to increase the awareness of this problem and improve the health of our most valuable treasure. (Monks)
I remember reading that diabetics is very common in Buddhist monks.
Perhaps we should make a campaign to increase the awareness of this curable disease.
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:25 am

In nearly every monastery I've visited, exercise has been discouraged by the senior monks because they tend to regard it as beautifying the body and a waste of time. Also, I have heard lay supporters criticise monks who they see exercising. It was as if the laypeople had spotted the monk doing something shameful.
The lack of exercise, combined with the sugary food, high calorie food, make for fat monks.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:39 am

SarathW wrote:
I also suffer from weight problems due to excessive sitting and insufficient walking.
Is this because monks take too much sugar drinks?
It may be in some cases, but not for me. I never have liked sugary drinks or sugar in tea and stopped adding sugar to coffee years ago. I eat almost no cakes or biscuits; my diet is high in fruit and whole grains, and I eat only one meal a day in the early morning plus some fruit etc., before midday.

The problem is always entirely due to slow down of metabolism due to age, and the bad habit of sitting too much and not walking enough.
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santa100
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:44 pm

Bhante Lucky wrote:Also, I have heard lay supporters criticise monks who they see exercising. It was as if the laypeople had spotted the monk doing something shameful.
Any lay supporter has the balls to criticize this Shaolin monk while he's exercising? :tongue: While this example is a bit too much, there's nothing wrong for monks to do some simple forms of exercise to maintain a healthy body, at least some walking at a minimum. Sickness and disease won't do any good for the mind. "A sound mind is in a sound body".

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gavesako
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by gavesako » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:43 am

You will not find so many fat monks among the forest monks in the countryside who at least walk a few kilometres every day on almsround and do sometimes hard physical work in the monastery themselves.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:00 pm

santa100 wrote: Sickness and disease won't do any good for the mind. "A sound mind is in a sound body".
I agree with the main point of your post, and indeed I know monks who exercise. The above quote might, however, be an overstatement if taken to mean that a sound mind requires a healthy body:
So it is, householder. So it is. The body is afflicted, weak, & encumbered. For who, looking after this body, would claim even a moment of true health, except through sheer foolishness? So you should train yourself: 'Even though I may be afflicted in body, my mind will be unafflicted.' That is how you should train yourself.
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:07 pm

I have not had too much contact with the Thai sangha, only a handful of thai forest bhikkhus, but from what I've seen of the Sri Lankan Sangha most monks appear to be normal sized(city or forest), at least the dozens I've met here in America.

my preceptor, Bhante Gunaratana, is almost 90 and still walks 4 miles a day unless it's bitterly cold(20 degrees and under) or very bad weather. I try to walk a few miles four times a week and do some squatting, and stretching daily, in addition to some conditioning exercises I learned from kung fu and all the normal work we do like chopping and hauling wood, maintaining kutis etc.

This western body is still trying to get use to kneeling comfortably for long periods of time, and finally after a few years It's starting to happen.

I've been taught that monks should present themselves in a dignified manner in public(which is where you see in a lot of the rules of conduct proscribing how one acts "when among the houses"), so monks don't do things like ride bikes or activities that are funny or unseemly in robes.

Bhante G does not like monks doing yoga in public or with retreatants for example, although a well known monastic, Bhante Rahula, leads yoga when he does his retreats.


and as a last comment, i was told by a buddhist friend who lived and taught in china that the majority of "monks" and "monasteries" in china are really tourist attractions , including Shaolin, so I'm not quite sure mr. stands on fingers is following any kind of actual monasticism, although as someone who use to practice kung fu for years, sometimes I wish I still could :).
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santa100
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:31 pm

Sam Vara wrote:The above quote might, however, be an overstatement if taken to mean that a sound mind requires a healthy body.
For a regular individual who has not attained any Noble attainment, a sound mind does requires a body healthy "enough" to allow the practitioner to cultivate the 3 trainings of Virtues, Meditation, and Insight. Context is everything, notice the context in the paragraph immediately preceded the cited quote in SN 22.1:
SN 22.1 wrote:Then the householder Nakulapita approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

I am old, venerable sir, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage, afflicted in body, often ill. I rarely get to see the Blessed One and the bhikkhus worthy of esteem. Let the Blessed One exhort me, venerable sir, let him instruct me, since that would lead to my welfare and happiness for a long time.”
Had the householder Nakulapita been a young fat dude who sat on his behind all day long, the Buddha would've probably put it in a different way. Also notice Ven. Sariputta's clarification later on toward the end of the sutta:
And how, householder, is one afflicted in body but not afflicted in mind? Here, householder, the instructed noble disciple, who is a seer of the noble ones and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, who is a seer of superior persons and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, does not regard form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form.7 He does not live obsessed by the notions: ‘I am form, form is mine.’ As he lives unobsessed by these notions, that form of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of form, there do not arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.
So if one is yet to be an instructed noble disciple, a seer of the noble ones, skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma and discipline, etc. then one'd better take good care of his health, not to the level of mr. stands on fingers, but enough to maintain a regular and consistent practice schedule for Virtues, Meditation, and Insight.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:52 pm

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:The above quote might, however, be an overstatement if taken to mean that a sound mind requires a healthy body.
For a regular individual who has not attained any Noble attainment, a sound mind does requires a body healthy "enough" to allow the practitioner to cultivate the 3 trainings of Virtues, Meditation, and Insight. Context is everything, notice the context in the paragraph immediately preceded the cited quote in SN 22.1:
SN 22.1 wrote:Then the householder Nakulapita approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

I am old, venerable sir, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage, afflicted in body, often ill. I rarely get to see the Blessed One and the bhikkhus worthy of esteem. Let the Blessed One exhort me, venerable sir, let him instruct me, since that would lead to my welfare and happiness for a long time.”
Had the householder Nakulapita been a young fat dude who sat on his behind all day long, the Buddha would've probably put it in a different way. Also notice Ven. Sariputta's clarification later on toward the end of the sutta:
And how, householder, is one afflicted in body but not afflicted in mind? Here, householder, the instructed noble disciple, who is a seer of the noble ones and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, who is a seer of superior persons and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, does not regard form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form.7 He does not live obsessed by the notions: ‘I am form, form is mine.’ As he lives unobsessed by these notions, that form of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of form, there do not arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.
So if one is yet to be an instructed noble disciple, a seer of the noble ones, skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma and discipline, etc. then one'd better take good care of his health, not to the level of mr. stands on fingers, but enough to maintain a regular and consistent practice schedule for Virtues, Meditation, and Insight.
One might be advised to care for one's health, but nothing in the Noble Eightfold Path makes good health a prerequisite for practising the Dhamma. My point is not that one shouldn't strive for physical well-being and the health of the body, but that if one's kamma is such that one does not have physical health, it doesn't matter in terms of Dhamma. Your quote
"A sound mind is in a sound body"
seems to deny this option, as well as being a mistranslation of the original Juvenal quote
mens sana in corpore sano

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:01 pm

Sam Vara wrote:but nothing in the Noble Eightfold Path makes good health a prerequisite for practising the Dhamma.
Of course it doesn't spoon-feed you with every single piece of info. It automatically assumes you have to be in charge of your own health, enough so that you can implement the 8NP. If not, what's the point of teaching the 8NP and yet not able to practice it? If one's kamma doesn't allow physical health, of course in no way would it says it's impossible to practice the Dhamma, a point I already made clear by explicitly contrasted the context of Nakulapita being an old man at the last stage of his life, not some young fat dude who does not do any kind of exercises, a crucial piece of info. you did not mention when citing SN 22.1

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:35 pm

santa100 wrote: Of course it doesn't spoon-feed you with every single piece of info. It automatically assumes you have to be in charge of your own health, enough so that you can implement the 8NP. If not, what's the point of teaching the 8NP and yet not able to practice it? If one's kamma doesn't allow physical health, of course in no way would it says it's impossible to practice the Dhamma, a point I already made clear by explicitly contrasted the context of Nakulapita being an old man at the last stage of his life, not some young fat dude who does not do any kind of exercises, a crucial piece of info. you did not mention when citing SN 22.1
There was no need to mention the difference between the frailties of old age and those brought about through over-indulgence. As I said earlier, I'm not commenting on the advisability of exercise and good health for those to whom it is available. I'm commenting on the implication of your mis-rendering of Juvenal, which is that bodily health is a prerequisite for mental health.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:06 pm

Sam Vara wrote:There was no need to mention the difference between the frailties of old age and those brought about through over-indulgence. As I said earlier, I'm not commenting on the advisability of exercise and good health for those to whom it is available. I'm commenting on the implication of your mis-rendering of Juvenal, which is that bodily health is a prerequisite for mental health.
No where in my statement did I say "bodily health is a prerequisite for mental health" as you said. And no, the context makes all the difference. By not providing the exact context to SN 22.1, you actually implied there's no difference at all between the frailties of old age versus the frailties of over-indulgences. Hence brushing aside the crucial point that the Buddha's advice for Nakulapita is specifically tailored for an old man who is at the last stage of his life, not for a young guy over-indulges and not taking care of his own body. For this young guy, imagine what kind of effect that same exact quote you've just provided will have on him? He'll continue to indulge himself to death! So next time, please make sure to provide context to any quote or else even a Dhamma elixir could turn into poison when misused.
The body is afflicted, weak, & encumbered. For who, looking after this body, would claim even a moment of true health, except through sheer foolishness? So you should train yourself: 'Even though I may be afflicted in body, my mind will be unafflicted.' That is how you should train yourself.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by SarathW » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:01 pm

I can recall there is a Buddhist story that Buddha advising King Kosala to reduce his weight.
He gave some instructions how to do it. I can't find the source.
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Mr Man » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:03 pm

Donapaka Sutta: King Pasenadi Goes on a Diet

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:22 pm

santa100 wrote: No where in my statement did I say "bodily health is a prerequisite for mental health" as you said.
Your misquotation of Juvenal implies that it is so. "A sound mind is in a sound body" means that the two necessarily go together, unless you are merely referring to one unspecified mind in a body.
you actually implied there's no difference at all between the frailties of old age versus the frailties of over-indulgences.
In the context of the mind being sound, there is no difference. Both frailties are the result of kamma, and neither preclude the mind being sound, or spiritual progress being made.
For this young guy, imagine what kind of effect that same exact quote you've just provided will have on him? He'll continue to indulge himself to death!
He might, but then the indulgence itself might impede his mental health, but not the results of it.
So next time, please make sure to provide context to any quote
I linked to the whole sutta. Again, the counter example of Nakulapita disproves the general statement you made that "a sound mind is in a sound body". Here is Nakulapita's mind. It is sound and unafflicted. It is in an unsound body. Therefore, according to the Buddha, your statement cannot be true. Had it been along the lines of "A sound mind is not in the body of a fat young dude, etc, etc. then it might have been.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:26 pm

SarathW wrote:I can recall there is a Buddhist story that Buddha advising King Kosala to reduce his weight.
He gave some instructions how to do it. I can't find the source.
Mr. Man beat me to the quote, but the instructions are to eat mindfully!

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:36 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Your misquotation of Juvenal implies that it is so. "A sound mind is in a sound body" means that the two necessarily go together, unless you are merely referring to one unspecified mind in a body.
You're entitled to your own interpretation. You simply over-interpreted that statement. What exactly does a "sound body" mean to you in that statement? I already gave my position that a "sound body" is not that of mr. stands on fingers, but is "sound" enough to allow one to maintain a regular practice of Virtues, Meditation, and Insight. Was that too much to ask?
Sam Vara wrote:In the context of the mind being sound, there is no difference. Both frailties are the result of kamma, and neither preclude the mind being sound, or spiritual progress being made.
I'm surprised a long term member like you makes such a basic mistake in the understanding of kamma. It can't be any more wrong to say the frailties of an old man in the last stage of his life is the same kind as those of a young guy due to his indulgences in consumption and pleasures! Kamma is action. What did the poor old man do to cause him to fall ill or develop diseases? Nothing. That is very different compared to that young guy who over-eats, over-drinks, over-sexes, etc. And let me point out the danger of ommitting context by asking you the same question again: for a young guy who over-indulges, what kind of effect that same exact quote you've just provided will have on him? Please give a brutally honest answer, an answer from a typical un-enlightened being like you and me:
The body is afflicted, weak, & encumbered. For who, looking after this body, would claim even a moment of true health, except through sheer foolishness? So you should train yourself: 'Even though I may be afflicted in body, my mind will be unafflicted.' That is how you should train yourself.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:48 pm

santa100 wrote: You're entitled to your own interpretation. You simply over-interpreted that statement.
I may have interpreted it differently from how you intended, but the English language means what it means. "A sound mind is in a sound body" is a generalisation which is open to refutation by means of citing specific instances.
It can't be any more wrong to say the frailties of an old man in the last stage of his life is the same kind as those of a young guy due to his indulgences in consumption and pleasures!
Possibly, but I'm not saying that. I'm saying that both are due to kamma, which I believe determines our physical condition and our life-span. Not that the kamma is the same, or that the frailties are the same.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:55 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Possibly, but I'm not saying that. I'm saying that both are due to kamma, which I believe determines our physical condition and our life-span. Not that the kamma is the same, or that the frailties are the same.
But if all you intended to say both cases are due to kamma and not that the kamma is the same, then I don't quite see whether you have made your point to counter my position that the context to your quote is extremely important. You seem to say quite the opposite. I did not ask you the last question just to be argumentative but to simply prove the importance of context, that's all.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:09 pm

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Possibly, but I'm not saying that. I'm saying that both are due to kamma, which I believe determines our physical condition and our life-span. Not that the kamma is the same, or that the frailties are the same.
But if all you intended to say both cases are due to kamma and not that the kamma is the same, then I don't quite see whether you have made your point to counter my position that the context to your quote is extremely important. You seem to say quite the opposite. I did not ask you the last question just to be argumentative but to simply prove the importance of context, that's all.
Because my point about kamma is intended to be universally true, so no context is required. Your point about body and mind is not universally true, but is phrased as if it were, whether you intended it or not.

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