Why one meal a day?

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amity2kok
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Re: Why one meal a day?

Post by amity2kok » Sat May 24, 2014 4:25 pm

Dear Friends,

This is a very interesting Question.

As per tradition, meals were taken at 6:30 am and then at 11:00 am. After that there were no meals. Understand the reason for this.

As per the Buddha, the food that we take is only for sustenance of this body. And when one is living the holy life, meditation being his major activity for the entire day, one hardly feels hungry as there is no physical labor. The above mentioned meals are sufficient for the whole day and it assists in the meditation practice.

Lay people eat in the evening / night also. It depends. If you are doing lot of physical work, then it makes sense to have meals spread across the day. But if you are not into too much physical labor then there is no need to have the evening meal. Hunger pangs will come in the evening, but they will subside after one or two hours.

I have tried it. I used to eat at 6:30 am (fruits) and then meals at 11:00 am. (That also whatever came into the plate in 1st serving only that much, I did not take second serving). During this time, i was not working, and was studying for my competitive exams. I did this for almost 6 months. It helped me immensely.

If you don't eat in the night and go to sleep at (9:00 pm), you wake up fresh in the morning (at 4:00 am) feeling light and you can meditate successfully. Then at 6:30 am you can have your breakfast, which is supposed to be a heavy meal. Then again at 11:00 am (Before noon). That's it. You are done for the day.

If one is not doing too much physical labor, then one's body does not require the night meals. It is just that one is slave of one's habit that one have to take the night meals.

As per Buddha "Hunger is the worst illness"

Be Happy,
Amit

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Biija
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I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:26 pm

Sawadee krap! _/\_

Recently, I lived 3 months in Thai monasteries with the intention to go forth. I really enjoyed the lifestyle and I was invited to become an anagarika. Except for one thing I could not continue: nutrition. I got sick after one month of eating only one meal a day (09h30 AM), so I decided to go to Bangkok to see a doctor. I was with anemia and the doctor said I couldn't come back immediately to the monastery. So, I stayed in Bangkok for 15 days to recover. Then, I went to another monastery and I had the same problem. The symptoms were: [1] trembling, [2] lack of energy, [3] extreme muscle loss, [4] extremely thin body. I was feeling "dead". It was difficult to climb up the kuti's stairs. I was cadaverous to the point that the monks started to notice and worry about my condition. They tried to help me by offering natural medicines which helped but were not enough. Normally, I'm too skinny and small-boned: an ectomorph, indeed. The physical appearance does not annoy me too much, but I couldn't live minimally well. I was far from the "middle way". After analyzing the exams' results, the doctor said that I burn way more calories than an average person. Now I am in my homeland and I did a battery of exams and the doctor told me basically the same things. So, I have a special condition. I need to eat normally or almost normally to keep a minimally healthy body, unfortunately. My body is similar to an old V8 engine, burns fuel for nothing. Having said that, I have some questions:

1) Could I eat after noon, considering that I have a special condition that demands a different eating habit? I'd like to try again.
2) Should I write to the abbot explaining my condition? Or should I talk in person? I'm asking because I am from overseas. Too far...
3) Is there any similar case in the suttas?

English is not my first language. Hope you understand.
Any suggestions are welcome.

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DNS
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by DNS » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:03 pm

How was it at the monastery you were at? Did the monks have juice or any food in the evenings? The reason I ask, is I have heard that many monks do eat some of the allowable tonics in the evening when the hunger pains are too strong. This is considered allowable for an ill monk and some have interpreted that more liberally to include hunger.

It may be some medical condition that requires you to keep your blood sugars normal or higher and they can drop significantly with fasting. Check with the physician's report.

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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by lyndon taylor » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:24 pm

It would seem you meet the medical criteria for being given special exemption to eat after 12pm, however finding a monastery that accepts that and allows it may not be as easy, a note from your doctor would help, I would talk to the monastery before taking up residence and make sure they allow you the medical exemption.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Mkoll » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:26 pm

I'm curious: is there a name for your condition? I'd like to know more about it.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Biija
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:27 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:How was it at the monastery you were at? Did the monks have juice or any food in the evenings? The reason I ask, is I have heard that many monks do eat some of the allowable tonics in the evening when the hunger pains are too strong. This is considered allowable for an ill monk and some have interpreted that more liberally to include hunger.

It may be some medical condition that requires you to keep your blood sugars normal or higher and they can drop significantly with fasting. Check with the physician's report.
Hi, David. Thanks for the comments. In the monastery I was in (Wat Pah Nanachat), monks drink sugary drinks only at nan-pana (afternoon tea) and also eat chocolate (without milk) when it's available (not everyday) and tonics such as herbs, oils, etc. I could also use tonics during the day such as honey, molasses and coconut oil, which helped a lot to keep the energy, but they're not "complete" foods and sometimes I used to feel weak even taking these tonics. Seems that my body asks for solid and substantial foods. I would like to believe that it was just a poor mental state, but it is not. Detail: I didn't feel hunger pains. Only weakness and extreme weight loss. Normally, I'm 1,72cm high and 55 kg which is already low, but it's ok, I feel good. My weight dropped to 48 kg at the end of the first month!

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purple planet
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by purple planet » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:34 pm

just want to add that unless someone here in the forum will find another solution
I would talk to the monastery before taking up residence and make sure they allow you the medical exemption.


seems like the best idea - to write to some monasteries you like and ask them (by E-mail maybe) if they would allow you the medical exemption
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance

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Biija
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:37 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:It would seem you meet the medical criteria for being given special exemption to eat after 12pm, however finding a monastery that accepts that and allows it may not be as easy, a note from your doctor would help, I would talk to the monastery before taking up residence and make sure they allow you the medical exemption.
Hi, Lyndon. Yes, I do agree with you. I think that the decision depends also on the way the abbot interpret the rules. If I were an abbot, I would accept such person in the monastery since his needs are based on medical criteria and the food would not be used for other purpose other than maintaining a minimal good health. I try to imagine what the Buddha would say about this episode.

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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:42 pm

Depending on what your condition actually is (with reference to Mkoll's question) if you are anaemic, it is possible that some form of supplement, such as folic acid may be permissible. it is one of the Vitamin B complexes.... But that would depend on whether your condition actually has a name, and whether your doctor feels such a supplement would be effective to help balance your condition.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Biija
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:44 pm

Mkoll wrote:I'm curious: is there a name for your condition? I'd like to know more about it.
The second doctor did not mention a name for my condition. He said that I have no problem, it's just a physical characteristic. He said that I stayed under catabolic state for long periods of time (days, weeks, month) and that my body type (ectomorph) does not allow such practice. That's why the body languished like so.

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Biija
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:51 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:Depending on what your condition actually is (with reference to Mkoll's question) if you are anaemic, it is possible that some form of supplement, such as folic acid may be permissible. it is one of the Vitamin B complexes.... But that would depend on whether your condition actually has a name, and whether your doctor feels such a supplement would be effective to help balance your condition.
Thanks, TheNoBSBuddhist. The doctor prescribed folic acid, ferrous sulfate, vitamin D and vitamin C. Before travelling to Thailand, I was really well and I only started feeling the symptoms of anemia after two weeks eating only one meal a day.

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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by DNS » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:57 pm

Biija wrote:Normally, I'm 1,72cm high and 55 kg which is already low, but it's ok, I feel good. My weight dropped to 48 kg at the end of the first month!
Check with your physician, but this might be the problem. You are underweight. That is a BMI of less than 18.6.
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obe ... /bmi-m.htm

Anyone underweight is bound to be weak and lethargic. One thing you could try (if able) is to eat a much larger meal for the one meal.

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Biija
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:07 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Biija wrote:Normally, I'm 1,72cm high and 55 kg which is already low, but it's ok, I feel good. My weight dropped to 48 kg at the end of the first month!
Check with your physician, but this might be the problem. You are underweight. That is a BMI of less than 18.6.
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obe ... /bmi-m.htm

Anyone underweight is bound to be weak and lethargic. One thing you could try (if able) is to eat a much larger meal for the one meal.
For an ectomorph, being underweight is not a problem since bad symptoms do not occurs. That's my case. I have been underweight my whole life and all endocrinologists say that the exams are good and my health is normal. About three weeks ago, the doctor saw the results of the exams and said that everything is perfect. In the monastery, I was the last person to finish the meal. I ate a lot everyday, especially because I need a good amount of calories. I'm one of those people that eat a lot and do not gain weight. Sad, but true.

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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by tsurezuregusa » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:44 pm

Hi,

the Buddha allowed eating between sunrise and until the sun reached their heighest point. Therefore in the Mahasi Sasana Yeitkha in Yangon they offer both a breakfast, usually rice gruel, and lunch. Additionally the Burmese custom allows the monks to eat Sutumadu (an emulsion containing honey, molasses, ghee and sesamum oil) in the afternoon.

Maybe that is something more to your body's liking.

Kind regards,
Florian

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Biija
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:03 pm

tsurezuregusa wrote:Hi,

the Buddha allowed eating between sunrise and until the sun reached their heighest point. Therefore in the Mahasi Sasana Yeitkha in Yangon they offer both a breakfast, usually rice gruel, and lunch. Additionally the Burmese custom allows the monks to eat Sutumadu (an emulsion containing honey, molasses, ghee and sesamum oil) in the afternoon.

Maybe that is something more to your body's liking.

Kind regards,
Florian
Thanks, Florian. In some western monasteries of the Thai Forest Tradition, such as Amaravati, monks usually eat gruel in the morning (only in colder days as far as I know). At Wat Poo Jom Gom I had the chance to try "sutumadu" but Thai monks name it differently. It's helpful, but monks do not eat it always because ghee is a rare item in Thailand.

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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by culaavuso » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:10 pm

Biija wrote:Is there any similar case in the suttas?
Not quite the same circumstance, but a related case is discussed in MN 65.
MN 65: Bhaddāli Sutta wrote: "Bhikkhus, I eat at a single session. By so doing, I am free from illness and affliction, and I enjoy lightness, strength, and a comfortable abiding. Come, bhikkhus, eat at a single session. By so doing, you too will be free from illness and affliction, and you will enjoy lightness, strength, and a comfortable abiding.”

When this was said, the venerable Bhaddāli told the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I am not willing to eat at a single session; for if I were to do so, I might have worry and anxiety about it.”

“Then, Bhaddāli, eat one part there where you are invited and bring away one part to eat. By eating in that way, you will maintain yourself.”

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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by martinfrank » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:30 pm

Dear Biija

When I stayed in a (Thai) monastery first time, I suffered terribly from the food which - compared to what I was used to in Switzerland - seemed to contain almost no nourishment. I thought all monasteries were like this but that is not true.

I guess the many hours without food made your body eat your reserves - which you didn't have!

"Lax" Thai monasteries eat breakfast and lunch which would make it easier for your body and they let you drink as much soya milk and ovaltine as you like in the afternoon, evening and at night. If you are a serious monk and radiate love and sympathy, Thai laywomen will pamper you with specially rich food.

There are thousands of serious, intelligent young men staying in "lax" monasteries. There are good teachers too in "lax" monasteries. Community monasteries serve many needs. They are the local funeral home, parenting and marriage counseling service, orphanage. They are an asylum for old monks and a student dormitory for young monks studying in the university... and a place where serious monks can study and meditate.

The Abbot, Teacher or Headmonk will set the tone regarding Vinaya. In a normal Thai monastery you cannot criticize the Abbot / Teacher / Headmonk or pretend to know better (even if you do know better). You should not say "but", question questions, make your seniors lose face. None of this is necessary to progress as a monk. And you shouldn't make a serious, smile-less face because for Thais a serious face means offence. Smile, study, meditate... and never underestimate the other monks. In Thailand there are many monks who flow along without showing their depth and will surprise you with their knowledge and experience when you approach them with humility.

It would be a pity if you would give up just because your body is not strong enough for a forest monastery.

I wish you success!

Martin
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.

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purple planet
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by purple planet » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:39 pm

i might be pushy but :

did you send e-mail to a monastery ? and do you have just one monastery in mind or are there others ?
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance

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Biija
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:57 pm

culaavuso wrote:
Biija wrote:Is there any similar case in the suttas?
Not quite the same circumstance, but a related case is discussed in MN 65.
[/quote]

Thanks, Culaavuso. Here's a text written by Ajahn Brahmavanso entitled "The Time and Place for Eating".

"Though solid foods are disallowed outside of the morning period, other substances were allowed in the afternoon or evening, especially where there is a need such as sickness. Strained fruit and vegetable juices are allowable in the afternoon, especially for thirsty monks and nuns. Then the five traditional Indian 'medicines' of ghee, oil, butter/cheese, honey and sugar were allowed in the afternoon as a 'tonic', to be used for such reasons as when a monk or nun had been working hard, when it was very cold, or when they had received insufficient almsfood that morning. Clear meat or bean broths are allowed in the afternoon for very sick monks or nuns. Drinks like tea, herbal infusions, ginger, cocoa and coffee are also allowable in the afternoon as much as a monk or nun requires. Milk, however, is the subject of some controversy. Some monks say it is allowable in the afternoon, some say it isn't and our tradition says it 'aint."

Source: http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/eating.html

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Biija
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:23 pm

martinfrank wrote: I guess the many hours without food made your body eat your reserves - which you didn't have!
Hi, Martin. Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I do agree. My body languished bit by bit. I also partially agree when you say about the Thai food. Although I had access to high quality food at Wat Pah Nanachat, some of them seems to be almost empty in terms of nutritional value (=too light). Anyway, I was always very thankful for whatever sort of food I had when staying there. At some point, I will think about other traditions. By the way, would you recommend some? Again, thanks for all your tips.

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