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 » 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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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:46 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
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"! 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.
Ah, but the "sloppy" is a pre-conception, a papanca on your part that made you jumped to conclusion. A careful reader would replied and asked for clarification and definition of the terms, which I clearly did. Fact is I don't even understand your pre-conception for you have never explicitly defined your criteria of a "sound body". All you did was accusing me of "sloppy" use without even defining your own criteria of what you think the word means. It just doesn't make any sense at all to be honest. Speaking about papanca, I've just realized how much papanca have been generated by both you and me, how far away we have strayed from the main OP with our countless posts centered around one single statement. This is papanca in action. Realizing it now and I will stop here.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:21 pm

santa100 wrote: Ah, but the "sloppy" is a pre-conception, a papanca on your part that made you jumped to conclusion. A careful reader would replied and asked for clarification and definition of the terms, which I clearly did. Fact is I don't even understand your pre-conception for you have never explicitly defined your criteria of a "sound body". All you did was accusing me of "sloppy" use without even defining your own criteria of what you think the word means. It just doesn't make any sense at all to be honest. Speaking about papanca, I've just realized how much papanca have been generated by both you and me, how far away we have strayed from the main OP with our countless posts centered around one single statement. This is papanca in action. Realizing it now and I will stop here.
I suppose I ought to respond to the details, but this is becoming so hugely enjoyable that you must forgive any minor inaccuracies - I'm laughing too much!

A papanca, you say? Well, that sounds suitably Dhammically reprehensible, but I suspect is a paraphrase for the fact that you don't agree with it. No conclusion was jumped to. English means what it means, and we can't expect to be understood if we make up our own meanings.

As for a careful reader asking for clarification and definition of the terms: of a cliched line misquoted from Juvenal? Go back to my original post, and you will see that it is careful to the point of conditionality. "If you mean this, then..."

Read back through the thread and you will see that I have in fact explicitly defined my criteria for a "sound body". Go on, have a look!

You'll stop here? Don't feel you have to - that last post was a tour de force!

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:35 pm

Sam Vara wrote:I suppose I ought to respond to the details, but this is becoming so hugely enjoyable that you must forgive any minor inaccuracies - I'm laughing too much!

A papanca, you say? Well, that sounds suitably Dhammically reprehensible, but I suspect is a paraphrase for the fact that you don't agree with it. No conclusion was jumped to. English means what it means, and we can't expect to be understood if we make up our own meanings.

As for a careful reader asking for clarification and definition of the terms: of a cliched line misquoted from Juvenal? Go back to my original post, and you will see that it is careful to the point of conditionality. "If you mean this, then..."

Read back through the thread and you will see that I have in fact explicitly defined my criteria for a "sound body". Go on, have a look!

You'll stop here? Don't feel you have to - that last post was a tour de force!
The feeling is mutual. I'm laughing my behind off. Anyway, per your suggestion, I'll post again and have some more laugh, how about that?

I did search thru your post and no, did not find where you explicitly defined "sound body". Please provide the exact post just like I have provided you repeatedly with mine.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:08 pm

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:I suppose I ought to respond to the details, but this is becoming so hugely enjoyable that you must forgive any minor inaccuracies - I'm laughing too much!

A papanca, you say? Well, that sounds suitably Dhammically reprehensible, but I suspect is a paraphrase for the fact that you don't agree with it. No conclusion was jumped to. English means what it means, and we can't expect to be understood if we make up our own meanings.

As for a careful reader asking for clarification and definition of the terms: of a cliched line misquoted from Juvenal? Go back to my original post, and you will see that it is careful to the point of conditionality. "If you mean this, then..."

Read back through the thread and you will see that I have in fact explicitly defined my criteria for a "sound body". Go on, have a look!

You'll stop here? Don't feel you have to - that last post was a tour de force!
The feeling is mutual. I'm laughing my behind off. Anyway, per your suggestion, I'll post again and have some more laugh, how about that?

I did search thru your post and no, did not find where you explicitly defined "sound body". Please provide the exact post just like I have provided you repeatedly with mine.
Oh! you're back! Isn't there a risk of some of that, er, papanca stuff happening?

The exact post is here:
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 20#p419010

You might note that you had acknowledged it. Don't you go criticising and carping about it now, though. Saying that it doesn't meet your special criteria, or somesuch. It was apparently fine before when you acknowledged it, and you don't want any more of that papanca stuff.

I'm happy to keep reading your posts, but don't lose the comedic edge. This one was a bit derivative. The last one - particularly the juxtaposition of what you said compared to what you "meant to say" - was a tough act to follow.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:29 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Oh! you're back! Isn't there a risk of some of that, er, papanca stuff happening?

The exact post is here:
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 20#p419010

You might note that you had acknowledged it. Don't you go criticising and carping about it now, though. Saying that it doesn't meet your special criteria, or somesuch. It was apparently fine before when you acknowledged it, and you don't want any more of that papanca stuff.

I'm happy to keep reading your posts, but don't lose the comedic edge. This one was a bit derivative. The last one - particularly the juxtaposition of what you said compared to what you "meant to say" - was a tough act to follow.
Per your last post, you seem to point to some un-finished business between us and so I simply obliged. If that's the definition you've got, accusing me of my "sloppy" use doesn't make any sense whatsoever. I'm happy to keep reading your posts too.So lets pick up what we left off. I'm still waiting for you to prove your statement right here:
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).
The statement has been modified and is as clear as it gets. No more deliberate excuse from now on ok. This is so much fun. It's a deal. 'Til the end dude.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:20 pm

santa100 wrote: Per your last post, you seem to point to some un-finished business between us and so I simply obliged. If that's the definition you've got, accusing me of my "sloppy" use doesn't make any sense whatsoever. I'm happy to keep reading your posts too.So lets pick up what we left off. I'm still waiting for you to prove your statement right here:
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).
The statement has been modified and is as clear as it gets.
Please be assured there is no "unfinished business between us".

And that isn't my statement. It's yours. I have no interest in it, thanks; I've already said that the limit of my interest is in correcting your sloppy expression that might mislead.
No more deliberate excuse from now on ok. This is so much fun. It's a deal. 'Til the end dude.
Perfectly portentous papanca! You're recovering your form...

santa100
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by santa100 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:23 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Perfectly portentous papanca! You're recovering your form...
As already mentioned, per your last post, I simply obliged. And the limit of my interest is in correcting your sloppy conclusion about my expression. If that's my form, it's simply a mirror reflection of yours, which's been there all along... :jumping:

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Trindolex2 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:26 am

I'm surprised the five factors of striving haven't been brought up. One of them requires a good digestion, the basis of most health, the other requires strong energy. How the individual obtains those is up to them and will vary in different cultures and people. I see in the vinaya vestiges of the Ayurvedic system so I would suggest that's where the details are. One thing that is interesting in ayurveda is that you have different constitution types and they all require different things to stay heathy, so it's up to the yogi to be smart in looking after their health. Having tried to practice for more than a decade with bad health I can see that both health and energy are essential to be able to meditate. The instruction given to Nakulapita is more of an outlier, since he had no way of being healthy at his age.

From AN 5.35 and other places too, implying it's not a minority teaching:
.“Bhikkhus, there are these five factors that assist striving. What five?

(1) “Here, a bhikkhu is endowed with faith. He places faith in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata thus: ‘The Blessed One is an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.’

(2) “He is seldom ill or afflicted, possessing an even digestion that is neither too cool nor too hot but moderate and suitable for striving.

(3) “He is honest and open, one who reveals himself as he really is to the Teacher and his wise fellow monks.

(4) “He has aroused energy for abandoning unwholesome qualities and acquiring wholesome qualities; he is strong, firm in exertion, not casting off the duty of cultivating wholesome qualities.

(5) “He is wise; he possesses the wisdom that discerns arising and passing away, which is noble and penetrative and leads to the complete destruction of suffering.

“These, bhikkhus, are the five factors that assist striving

Sroberto
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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by Sroberto » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:24 pm

With some exceptions, the human body becomes overweight (fat) when calories ingested exceed those needed for metabolism. In plain English, because of over eating. Thus the many overweight monks you see are overweight because they are almost certainly eating too much. Why is anyones guess.

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Re: Why many Buddhist monks are over weight?

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:51 am

Sroberto wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:24 pm
With some exceptions, the human body becomes overweight (fat) when calories ingested exceed those needed for metabolism. In plain English, because of over eating. Thus the many overweight monks you see are overweight because they are almost certainly eating too much. Why is anyones guess.
Yep afaik there is not other way to get fat other than Intake calories exceeding the expended calories.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

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