Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:51 pm

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:
santa100 wrote: Putting aside cultural differences and stuff, for someone who has not attained a "sound mind" just yet, if his body is not "sound" enough to maintain a regular practice of Virtues, Meditation, and Insight, then is it possible that s/he will be able to attain a "sound mind"?
Yes, of course.
Good, then please provide sutta references to back up your statement: "Yes, of course is is possible to attain a sound mind without regularly practice Virtues, Meditation, and Insight"?
Something can be the case without it being referenced in a sutta, but there are the Nakulapita Sutta, the Gilana Sutta, and Vakkali Sutta, as already cited. Also the Bahiya Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:10 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Something can be the case without it being referenced in a sutta, but there are the Nakulapita Sutta, the Gilana Sutta, and Vakkali Sutta, as already cited. Also the Bahiya Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
You forgot my premise to the question: "for someone who has not attained a "sound mind" just yet". You mentioned Nakulapita, Gilana, Vakkali right? Then let me give a simple description of Nakulapita:
Ven. Nyanatiloka's Dictionary wrote:[About Nakulapita and Nakulamata:]A man and his wife, householders of Sumsumāragiri in the Bhagga-country. When the Buddha visited the village and stayed at Bhesakalāvana, they went to see him. They immediately fell at his feet, calling him "son" and asking why he had been so long away. It is said that they had been the Bodhisatta's parents for five hundred births and his near relations for many more. The Buddha preached to them and they became sotāpannas. The Buddha visited their village once more when they were old. They entertained him, telling of their devotion to each other in this life and asking for a teaching which should keep them likewise together in after-life.
Oh, how about Vakkali, another simple description about him:
Ven. Bodhi's quote in Connected Discourses wrote:Vakkali was declared by the Buddha the foremost bhikkhu of those resolved through faith (etadaggam saddhadhimuttanam ; AN I 24,15)
:jawdrop:
From the highlighted infos above, I don't think neither me or you are the Nakulapita, Gilana, nor Vakkali of the suttas. Being great suttas and inspirational as they are, they don't satisfy the premise I posed to you and hence cannot serve as proofs to the point you're trying to make.

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

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:55 pm

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Something can be the case without it being referenced in a sutta, but there are the Nakulapita Sutta, the Gilana Sutta, and Vakkali Sutta, as already cited. Also the Bahiya Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
You forgot my premise to the question: "for someone who has not attained a "sound mind" just yet". You mentioned Nakulapita, Gilana, Vakkali right? Then let me give a simple description of Nakulapita:
Ven. Nyanatiloka's Dictionary wrote:[About Nakulapita and Nakulamata:]A man and his wife, householders of Sumsumāragiri in the Bhagga-country. When the Buddha visited the village and stayed at Bhesakalāvana, they went to see him. They immediately fell at his feet, calling him "son" and asking why he had been so long away. It is said that they had been the Bodhisatta's parents for five hundred births and his near relations for many more. The Buddha preached to them and they became sotāpannas. The Buddha visited their village once more when they were old. They entertained him, telling of their devotion to each other in this life and asking for a teaching which should keep them likewise together in after-life.
Oh, how about Vakkali, another simple description about him:
Ven. Bodhi's quote in Connected Discourses wrote:Vakkali was declared by the Buddha the foremost bhikkhu of those resolved through faith (etadaggam saddhadhimuttanam ; AN I 24,15)
:jawdrop:
From the highlighted infos above, I don't think neither me or you are the Nakulapita, Gilana, nor Vakkali of the suttas. Being great suttas and inspirational as they are, they don't satisfy the premise I posed to you and hence cannot serve as proofs to the point you're trying to make.
The point I am trying to make is that these people had a sound mind in an unsound body. Once their mind became sound, it was evidently capable of remaining so despite a catastrophic decline in the body. So "A sound mind is in a sound body" is disproved by these examples.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:52 pm

Sam Vara wrote:The point I am trying to make is that these people had a sound mind in an unsound body. Once their mind became sound, it was evidently capable of remaining so despite a catastrophic decline in the body. So "A sound mind is in a sound body" is disproved by these examples.
Whether the sound mind's capable of remaning can be saved for another topic. Evidently, I still see no proof to the topic at hand.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:39 pm

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:The point I am trying to make is that these people had a sound mind in an unsound body. Once their mind became sound, it was evidently capable of remaining so despite a catastrophic decline in the body. So "A sound mind is in a sound body" is disproved by these examples.
Whether the sound mind's capable of remaning can be saved for another topic. Evidently, I still see no proof to the topic at hand.
The proof looks like this. Nakulapita, whose body is old and enfeebled and falls far short of the "sound body" criterion, is judged by the Buddha to be capable of further training, which meets the sound mind criterion. As the Blessed One says,
"This, householder, is how one is afflicted in body but unafflicted in mind."

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:50 pm

Sam Vara wrote:The proof looks like this. Nakulapita, whose body is old and enfeebled and falls far short of the "sound body" criterion, is judged by the Buddha to be capable of further training, which meets the sound mind criterion. As the Blessed One says,
As already mentioned, that's not a proof for Nakulapita had already attained Sotapanna before his body became old and enfeebled.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:16 pm

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:The proof looks like this. Nakulapita, whose body is old and enfeebled and falls far short of the "sound body" criterion, is judged by the Buddha to be capable of further training, which meets the sound mind criterion. As the Blessed One says,
As already mentioned, that's not a proof for Nakulapita had already attained Sotapanna before his body became old and enfeebled.
If he had attained Sotapanna, then his mind would indeed have been sound within that old and enfeebled body. And Bahiya had no time for what you term the regular practice of virtues, concentration and insight. He was killed immediately after the Blessed One spoke to him, and was not Sotapanna beforehand. Sound minds in unsound bodies.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:19 pm

Sam Vara wrote:And Bahiya had no time for what you term the regular practice of virtues, concentration and insight. He was killed immediately after the Blessed One spoke to him, and was not Sotapanna beforehand. Sound minds in unsound bodies.
Who are you kidding? Bahiya already trained rigorously as an ascetic. His background and level of practice shows that he's absolutely no run-of-the-mill like you and me:
Teacher of the Devas wrote:In the next story a brahma intervenes to help a human being receive the Dhamma. Bahiya Daruciriya was a non-Buddhist ascetic. The brahma, a non-returner (anagami) from the Pure Abodes, had been one of Bahiya's companions at the time of the previous Buddha Kassapa, when they were members of a group of monks who had made a determined effort to win arahantship. Bahiya had then failed in the attempt and was now reborn at the time of Gotama Buddha.
Bahiya had lived as a recluse for many years and he was respected by the multitude as a saint, even to such a degree that Bahiya himself almost came to believe this.

It gotta take someone already at such high potential to quickly absorb and attain the Fruits right after hearing the Buddha's teaching:
Ud 1.10Ud 1.10 wrote:Through hearing this brief explanation of the Dhamma from the Blessed One, the mind of Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance. Having exhorted Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth with this brief explanation of the Dhamma, the Blessed One left.
By the way, absolutely nowhere in Ud 1.10 did it say Bahiya body was "unsound". So, sorry to break it to you, you still got nothing.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:54 pm

santa100 wrote: Who are you kidding? Bahiya already trained rigorously as an ascetic. His background and level of practice shows that he's absolutely no run-of-the-mill like you and me:
The sutta says that he was not sotapanna. A deva prompts his visit to the Buddha thus:
"You, Bahiya, are neither an arahant nor have you entered the path to arahatship. You do not follow that practice whereby you could be an arahant or enter the path to arahatship."
By the way, absolutely nowhere in Ud 1.10 did it say Bahiya body was "unsound". So, sorry to break it to you, you still got nothing.
I'm not claiming that Bahiya's body was unsound. As I tried to make clear in my last post, this is in response to your request to
please provide sutta references to back up your statement: "Yes, of course is is possible to attain a sound mind without regularly practice Virtues, Meditation, and Insight"?
Bahiya has practised according to the Dhamma, but not immediately before he meets the Buddha. He is not following a path that could lead him to become an arahant. And he has no time for the regular practices which you specify, before being killed. He hears the Buddha, and by understanding is liberated. And why should this not occur for anyone whose parami are sufficiently well-developed, whatever their physical condition? And likewise, a sound mind - capable of making progress, keeping the precepts, gaining concentrated states, and gaining insight - why should this mind not manifest in a sick or dying body? It's perfectly possible for the progress to have been made while the body was sound, and not to be lost when the body becomes unsound. Sickness and decrepitude and injury affect one khanda, but don't have to affect the mental khandas.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:38 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Bahiya has practised according to the Dhamma, but not immediately before he meets the Buddha. He is not following a path that could lead him to become an arahant. And he has no time for the regular practices which you specify, before being killed. He hears the Buddha, and by understanding is liberated. And why should this not occur for anyone whose parami are sufficiently well-developed, whatever their physical condition? And likewise, a sound mind - capable of making progress, keeping the precepts, gaining concentrated states, and gaining insight - why should this mind not manifest in a sick or dying body? It's perfectly possible for the progress to have been made while the body was sound, and not to be lost when the body becomes unsound. Sickness and decrepitude and injury affect one khanda, but don't have to affect the mental khandas.
Since you have not been able to defend your original statement: ""Yes, of course is is possible to attain a sound mind without regularly practice Virtues, Meditation, and Insight"?", I'm not sure if I should ask you to defend more wild claims of yours from above. Not able to find the path to arahantship is one thing, claiming that "he has no time for regular practices" is quite a wild claim. Were you there with Bahiya and saw exactly what he did 2,500 years ago? So, I have no choice but to ask you, beside providing the proof to your original statement, to back up your most recent claim below:
Sam Vara wrote:He[Bahiya] has no time for the regular practices which I[santa100] specify.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:24 am

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Bahiya has practised according to the Dhamma, but not immediately before he meets the Buddha. He is not following a path that could lead him to become an arahant. And he has no time for the regular practices which you specify, before being killed. He hears the Buddha, and by understanding is liberated. And why should this not occur for anyone whose parami are sufficiently well-developed, whatever their physical condition? And likewise, a sound mind - capable of making progress, keeping the precepts, gaining concentrated states, and gaining insight - why should this mind not manifest in a sick or dying body? It's perfectly possible for the progress to have been made while the body was sound, and not to be lost when the body becomes unsound. Sickness and decrepitude and injury affect one khanda, but don't have to affect the mental khandas.
Since you have not been able to defend your original statement: ""Yes, of course is is possible to attain a sound mind without regularly practice Virtues, Meditation, and Insight"?", I'm not sure if I should ask you to defend more wild claims of yours from above. Not able to find the path to arahantship is one thing, claiming that "he has no time for regular practices" is quite a wild claim. Were you there with Bahiya and saw exactly what he did 2,500 years ago? So, I have no choice but to ask you, beside providing the proof to your original statement, to back up your claim below:
Sam Vara wrote:He[Bahiya] has no time for the regular practices which I[santa100] specify.
I think I have been defending the statement about regularly practising virtues, meditation, and insight rather well, as I have given examples from suttas where exactly this was happening. As for Bahiya, he did not have time to practice regularly because he was killed by a cow almost immediately after his conversation with the Buddha. He was enlightened due to listening. There is no reason why a person (like those in the suttas) should not have gained a sound mind by means of practice, which they maintain when the body sickens, ages, or is injured. Indeed, there is the possibility that sickness provides an enhanced opportunity for practice, especially by means of insight and relinquishment. As Upasika Kee Nanayon puts it in one of my favourite dhamma talks:
People lying in bed ill are lucky because they have the opportunity to do nothing but contemplate stress and pain...So see yourself as lucky. Lying here, dealing with the disease, you have the opportunity to practice insight meditation with every moment. It doesn't matter whether you're here in the hospital or at home...You should see yourself as fortunate, that you're lying here ill, contemplating pain, for you have the opportunity to develop the Path in full measure, gaining insight and letting things go. Nobody has a better opportunity than what you have right now. People running around, engaged in their affairs: Even if they say their minds are disengaged, they're really no match for you. A person lying ill in bed has the opportunity to develop insight with every in-and-out breath. It's a sign that you haven't wasted your birth as a human being, you know, because you're practicing the teachings of the Lord Buddha to the point where you gain clear knowledge into the true nature of things in and of themselves.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ddose.html
Similarly, Ajahn Chah thought that the elderly, sick, and dying could develop insight:
Today I have brought nothing material of any substance to offer you, only Dhamma, the teachings of the Lord Buddha. Listen well. You should understand that even the Buddha himself, with his great store of accumulated virtue, could not avoid physical death. When he reached old age he relinquished his body and let go of its heavy burden. Now you too must learn to be satisfied with the many years you've already depended on your body. You should feel that it's enough.

You can compare it to household utensils you've had for a long time — your cups, saucers, plates and so on. When you first had them they were clean and shining, but now after using them for so long, they're starting to wear out. Some are already broken, some have disappeared and those that are left are deteriorating; they have no stable form, and it's their nature to be like that. Your body is the same way — it's been continually changing right from the day you were born, through childhood and youth, until now it's reached old age. You must accept that. The Buddha said that conditions (sankharas), whether they are internal conditions, bodily conditions, or external conditions, are not-self, their nature is to change. Contemplate this truth until you see it clearly.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/chah/bl111.html
So they are both also talking about soundness of mind - sufficient to realise insight - in an unsound body. And why should that not be so? Body is one thing, mind another.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:45 am

Sam Vara wrote:I think I have been defending the statement about regularly practising virtues, meditation, and insight rather well, as I have given examples from suttas where exactly this was happening.
You have not defended your your statement at all. Let me break it down for you. This is your statement that needs to be proven:
Person X can attain the state of Y (meaning Y has not existed) without requiring Z
All the suttas that you've provided (we'll save personal opinions of Buddhist teachers for another occasion): Nakulapita, Gilana, Vakkali, and Bahiya suttas only proved the statement below:
Person X can maintain the state of Y (meaning Y has already existed) without requiring Z
That's a completely different statement.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:23 am

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:I think I have been defending the statement about regularly practising virtues, meditation, and insight rather well, as I have given examples from suttas where exactly this was happening.
You have not defended your your statement at all. Let me break it down for you. This is your statement that needs to be proven:
Person X can attain the state of Y (meaning Y has not existed) without requiring Z
All the suttas that you've provided (we'll save personal opinions of Buddhist teachers for another occasion): Nakulapita, Gilana, Vakkali, and Bahiya suttas only proved the statement below:
Person X can maintain the state of Y (meaning Y has already existed) without requiring Z
That's a completely different statement.
You're right - it is different, because you have wandered away from my original point. My original point is that "A sound mind is in a sound body" is incorrect. If it were correct, it would not be possible to find a sound mind in an unsound body. But the suttas give evidence of monks and lay people who are able to practice to very high levels, and who have sound minds by almost any criteria, while sick, elderly, or dying. Widely-respected Dhamma teachers think it is possible to practice while sick. I have known monks who practice when sick, including one who practices while old and infirm. My teacher tells me to practice when sick, and indeed my soundness of mind has not been compromised by illness. In addition, there is no reason why the mental factors of virtue, concentration, and wisdom should not persist when the body breaks down. To lower the bar to something that Juvenal or non-Buddhists would recognise, there are many everyday examples of people who maintain mental health while cumbered with illness, disability, or extreme old age.

Your point about the difference between attaining and maintaining is a red herring, I'm afraid. The statement "A sound mind is in a sound body" does not mean the same as "it is difficult to practice without good physical health". That statement is in the present tense, whereas "to attain" is in the unspecified future. I think it possible that you actually meant that practice and attainment are difficult without good physical health. I don't know whether this is true or not, but it is not an issue I am engaging with. It is not what your statement means. I am merely correcting what I believe to be an overstatement in your misquotation of Juvenal. Sound minds are found in unsound bodies - in suttas, Theravadan teachings, and in everyday life - so this is what I'm correcting.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:00 pm

Sam Vara wrote:You're right - it is different, because you have wandered away from my original point. My original point is that "A sound mind is in a sound body" is incorrect. If it were correct, it would not be possible to find a sound mind in an unsound body. But the suttas give evidence of monks and lay people who are able to practice to very high levels, and who have sound minds by almost any criteria, while sick, elderly, or dying. Widely-respected Dhamma teachers think it is possible to practice while sick. I have known monks who practice when sick, including one who practices while old and infirm. My teacher tells me to practice when sick, and indeed my soundness of mind has not been compromised by illness. In addition, there is no reason why the mental factors of virtue, concentration, and wisdom should not persist when the body breaks down. To lower the bar to something that Juvenal or non-Buddhists would recognise, there are many everyday examples of people who maintain mental health while cumbered with illness, disability, or extreme old age.
I didn't wander away from your original point. I already explicitly defined my criteria of a sound body and asked you to define yours. But you have not. I even asked you specifically if my criteria was "too much to ask?". You didn't reply either. About your sutta evidences, as already pointed out, all you did was proving a different point quite different from your original claim. All the venerables in all your cited suttas were way advanced in their practice and already attained very sound mind, hence has no relevance to the statement you need to prove. I afraid the red herring on your part is to lump together the 2 statements, specifically the keywords I highlighted, those who need to "attain" and those who can "maintain" as one and the same. But apparently they are not. I thought I have made it quite clear with all the premises, for if I give any more details, the statement will be too long to read, it'll be something like this:
A regular person (not at the level of Nakulapita, Vakkali, Bahiya) can attain the state of sound mind (a state that is yet to exist) without requiring a decent physical body (decent enough to allow him or her to maintain a regular practice to cultivate virtues, meditation, and insight).
I'd be glad if you could find a sutta instance that support the statement above 'cuz I have not.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:41 pm

santa100 wrote: I didn't wander away from your original point. I already explicitly defined my criteria of a sound body and asked you to define yours. But you have not. I even asked you specifically if my criteria was "too much to ask?". You didn't reply either. About your sutta evidences, as already pointed out, all you did was proving a different point quite different from your original claim. All the venerables in all your cited suttas were way advanced in their practice and already attained very sound mind, hence has no relevance to the statement you need to prove. I afraid the red herring on your part is to lump together the 2 statements, specifically the keywords I highlighted, those who need to "attain" and those who can "maintain" as one and the same. But apparently they are not. I thought I have made it quite clear with all the premises, for if I give any more details, the statement will be too long to read, it'll be something like this:
A regular person (not at the level of Nakulapita, Vakkali, Bahiya) can attain the state of sound mind (a state that is yet to exist) without requiring a decent physical body (decent enough to allow him or her to maintain a regular practice to cultivate virtues, meditation, and insight).
I'd be glad if you could find a sutta instance that support the statement above 'cuz I have not.
Ah, a change of position, from "A sound mind is in a sound body", to "A regular person (not at the level of Nakulapita, Vakkali, Bahiya) can attain the state of sound mind (a state that is yet to exist) without requiring a decent physical body (decent enough to allow him or her to maintain a regular practice to cultivate virtues, meditation, and insight)" They mean something very different, don't they? As suggested earlier, I'm not criticising your understanding of what the Buddha taught. I'm merely criticising your sloppy use of the Juvenal quote in a way that is misleading. Clear expression often obviates the need for being a Dhamma-lawyer!

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