Why one meal a day?

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

Post by martinfrank » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:17 pm

Biija wrote:
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.

Dear Biija

Please do not write emails to Thai monasteries asking about eating in the afternoon. I guess that no Thai Abbot will say that he allows food in the afternoon, but many will allow breakfast and lunch and (in practice) in the afternoon drinks which contain lots of calories which I guess would be enough for you. Exceptions for old and/or sick monks will be tolerated. Generally food is what has to be chewed.

Please understand that most Thai Abbots consider their monasteries to be strict regarding Vinaya but some will be more strict regarding Pindapata others more about money, others more about food and drink. Some require all monks to do physical work or sweeping, others do not.

It would be best for you to visit monasteries in different parts of the country, and maybe also in Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia.

Here is a quote from Ajahn Chah
There was once a Western monk, a student of mine. Whenever he saw Thai monks and novices disrobing he would say, ''Oh, what a shame! Why do they do that? Why do so many of the Thai monks and novices disrobe?'' He was shocked. He would get saddened at the disrobing of the Thai monks and novices, because he had only just come into contact with Buddhism. He was inspired, he was resolute. Going forth as a monk was the only thing to do, he thought he'd never disrobe. Whoever disrobed was a fool. He'd see the Thais taking on the robes at the beginning of the Rains Retreat as monks and novices and then disrobing at the end of it... ''Oh, how sad! I feel so sorry for those Thai monks and novices. How could they do such a thing?''

Well, as time went by some of the Western monks began to disrobe, so he came to see it as something not so important after all. At first, when he had just begun to practice, he was excited about it. He thought that it was a really important thing, to become a monk. He thought it would be easy.

...

Later on he reached a stage we call... bored; bored with the Holy Life. He let go of the practice and eventually disrobed.

''Why are you disrobing? Before, when you saw the Thai monks disrobing you'd say, 'Oh, what a shame! How sad, how pitiful.' Now, when you yourself want to disrobe, why don't you feel sorry now?''

He didn't answer. He just grinned sheepishly.
Nobody will stop you from developing sila-samadhi-pañña in a normal, average monastery. Don't worry about staying in various places, a few months here and a few months there until you find what fits you best. Your goal is not To Be A Monk but Nibbana.

Since I wrote about "lax" monasteries, I will not give here names of monasteries, as this would be disrespectful. What kind of monastery are you looking for? How much teaching do you need? Do you want to study Pali, Abhidhamma, Vipassana? Do you need a monastery with a library? Would you say you need the support of a group of monks or are you basically looking for a kuti and time to meditate?

Do you have Thai sponsors or supporters? Would you be afraid to stay in South Thailand? What about Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia? If you send me a Personal Message, I will do my best to help you further.

Metta!

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 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:58 pm

Please do not write emails to Thai monasteries asking about eating in the afternoon


what is the damage in your opinion in doing so ?

i didnt do a retreat in a wat in Thailand so maybe im missing something ...
but i do remember contacting Wat Sriboonrouang - that Anagarika recommended (by the way if your reading this Anagarika do they eat 2 meals at that wat ?) and they were more than happy to answer my questions i dont remember what i asked but it was very short and to the point and the monk who replied to me answered in a very long way and send an e-mail sometime after we stoped exchanging mails to tell me they have available room (or something like that) - im not sure what exactly i said in that conversation im sure i didnt ask any special request but i think he said they will do this and this for me if i will come - and i didnt really need nothing - i cant be certain but by the emails alone it seemed the monk was more then happy to answer question and help at anything asked for


i guess there are different wats with different attitudes so isnt it best knowing in advance who are more supportive to someone with a problem ?
Last edited by purple planet on Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by lyndon taylor » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:06 pm

I think it might be more appropriate to label the Forest tradition monasteries "very strict" than to label most of the other traditions as "lax".
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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Anagarika
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Anagarika » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:37 pm

purple planet wrote:
Please do not write emails to Thai monasteries asking about eating in the afternoon


what is the damage in your opinion in doing so ?

i didnt do a retreat in a wat in Thailand so maybe im missing something ...
but i do remember contacting Wat Sriboonrouang - that Anagarika recommended (by the way if your reading this Anagarika do they eat 2 meals at that wat ?) and they were more than happy to answer my questions i dont remember what i asked but it was very short and to the point and the monk who replied to me answered in a very long way and send an e-mail sometime after we stoped exchanging mails to tell me they have available room (or something like that) - im not sure what exactly i said in that conversation im sure i didnt ask any special request but i think he said they will do this and this for me if i will come - and i didnt really need nothing - i cant be certain but by the emails alone it seemed the monk was more then happy to answer question and help at anything asked for


i guess there are different wats with different attitudes so isnt it best knowing in advance who are more supportive to someone with a problem ?
Purple, yes Wat Sriboonruang is my "home wat" where I was fortunate to ordain. The Abbot at WSBR is terrific: young, educated, a dynamic community leader, and he's also strict about Vinaya and appropriate conduct. I told the story once about how he saw me in robes (carelessly) wearing my watch, and had one of his assistants chase me down to remove the watch from my wrist. He's the perfect combination of youth, intellect, savvy, and discipline and honor, and I am very lucky to be affiliated with WSBR.

For example, at WSBR the monks and samaneras go on pindabaht each morning. There's 430 am gong wakeup, chanting, and then alms round. However, for any monk that has other duties and misses alms round, there is a canteen at the wat with food that can be prepared by the lay staff. So, there's no shortage of healthy food, and while I don't recall there being an early morning meal, for someone with health issues there will be food available in the early morning, and then the midday meal as well. Often, the almsfood is collected and lay members of the Wat bring food and a larger meal is offered at midday for the monks and then the lay people. The almsfood that is not consumed is offered to the homeless and foodless, too, who appear later in the day to be fed. And, the temple dogs know that they will be fed, too. The lay community in Fang is quite supportive, and Ajahn Dr. Apisit truly represents that dana ethic of supporting the laity spiritually and the laity, in turn, supporting WSBR.

I'm mentioning all of this in support of the idea that it's key to learn about the different wats, the abbots, and see if the nature of the life at that particular wat is a good fit for you. Personally, I found the life challenging enough without having to worry about illness or lack of nutrition. I listen to Ajahn Brahm and Bhikkhu Bodhi's stories of "crunchy frog" ( a boiled frog for the daily meal), swarms of mosquitoes, and watching the temple dogs eating better than the monks, and accept that a life of occasional malaria, starvation, and weight loss might drive me from living at a wat.
Last edited by Anagarika on Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by purple planet » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:43 pm

and wouldn't you say its worth a shot to ask him in an email - if for health reason he will allow an exception ? i dont think he would be offended by the question and if thats the case there is only a chance of gain and no chance of risk
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by martinfrank » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:16 pm

purple planet wrote:
Please do not write emails to Thai monasteries asking about eating in the afternoon


what is the damage in your opinion in doing so ?
1) Which Abbot will without having seen you and without knowing you give you a written exemption from a basic Vinaya rule? Would you do it if you were head of a monastery?

2) It will be much easier for an Abbot to allow an exemption if he can see that you get too weak without it.

3) I believe that in a monastery with two full meals (breakfast and lunch) and soya milk or hot chocolate in the afternoon and evening, you will survive.

Better just ask whether you could visit and stay a few days to see whether you are welcome. Don't be disappointed if they don't answer your mail. Maybe the monk who knew how to open the mail program has moved on or the PC doesn't work anymore.

Did you look at the list of Thai meditation monasteries http://www.hdamm.de/buddha/mdtctr01.htm?
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purple planet
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by purple planet » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:54 pm

just to clarify that i didnt mean that he should get some written agreement - only a general understanding with the monk so their would be no surprises for both sides - and plus it can be a good way to assess the different monasteries

thanks for replying martin you might be right

but personally i still think that its best to email - but i might be wrong

(said all i can say i will stop posting in this thread - good luck)
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Re: I've tried, I've failed. / eating habit / health

Post by Biija » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:44 pm

Again, I would like to say that I'm very grateful for all kind words posted here. For now, I'm collecting information. Any more suggestions are appreciated. I'm all ears. :smile:

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waterchan wrote:Maybe it would be worth trying to find monasteries that allow monks to consume milk, honey and chocolate throughout the day? These food are grey areas in interpreting the Vinaya, and some monasteries allow them. Milk, honey and chocolate are great for hunger pangs!
It all may help, for sure. I'll keep this in mind.

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Thanks, SarathW.

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Anagarika wrote:Biija, I have spent time in Thailand as a samanera, and most recently, as an anagarika at my home temple. My thoughts as to your question would be similar to others...research the different wats. There are many good wats in Thailand, and each of them is run by a different abbot, and I'm guessing each has its own protocols about frequency and type of pre-midday meals. Wat Nanachat has the reputation and storied history, but it may be on one end of the spectrum in terms of asceticism. There may well be Thai town and city wats (or US wats like Abhayagiri, as was mentioned) where the Vinaya observance is strong, but not brutal. You could ordain there, and at least be assured that you won't have health issues related to food intake. As it is Vassa in Thailand now, a lot of monks on internet forums are not presently online, but perhaps wait until Vassa ends and start a dialogue with some of the farang monks now living in Thailand about which wat would be a good fit for you. You may get the "skinny" on where not to get too skinny.
Sounds good. I'll take everything you've just mentioned into consideration. Thanks.

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LXNDR wrote:my physique resembles yours, once i fasted for 7 days trying to cure certain illness i have and experienced similar bodily reactions, by day 7 i was almost dead, lack of energy to even sit straight, let alone drastic weight loss bordering dystrophy, i was free of any physical exertions at that time seems like for certain people Vinaya dietary regimen isn't that much far from fasting
I see. Well, you've mentioned "physical exertions". I think that if I have two big meals before noon and consume allowable tonics (including some soy milk) in the afternoon and in the evening and also save energy by not indulging in too many physical exertions, I will guarantee the maintenance of the body. And if it is not enough, then the abbot may offer something else. If I don't try I will never know.

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Thanks, purple planet. Actually, I avoid eating too much, because I don't see such habit as a way of having pleasure. On the contrary, I see the act of eating as a burden, but necessary at least for me. I try to apply the middle way in everything in my life and with regard to food it is not an exception. A monk told me that the middle way is really "middle way" when you start feeling some resistance. If it's mild, add some difficulty. If it's tough, add some ease. So, I eat what I need and it varies from one day to another. In the monastery, it's another episode.

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martinfrank wrote: Dear Biija

Please do not write emails to Thai monasteries [...]
Thanks, Martin. I agree. I would never write email to demand something (it is not polite). If I write, I would just explain my situation briefly and leave room for an answer. But even though, I think that it is easier to talk in person. The eyes speak more than words. About the sugary drinks, they help, but we cannot abuse. Once, at the end of the afternoon, I was so weak that I didn't know if I would have energy for going to next pindapata. So, I decided to drink a lot of sugary drinks during nan-pana. They helped at the moment, but 20 minutes later, I had a glycemic peak. I went to my kuti to rest a bit and to recover from drowsiness. I woke up in the next day without recalling if I attended the last evening meditation and the puja. In addition, sugar is empty calorie and is far away from being a "complete" food. I met some monks with diabetes. Therefore, one have to be careful when drinking in the afternoon.

With regard to the type of monastery, I would choose one that encourage the monks to practice a bit of each thing, without exaggeration. I would never touch money. By the way, I want to get rid of it. That's a really bad signal at least for me. Yes, I do think that the best way is not to hurry up, but travel and visit many monasteries and find one that fits me best and have a good balance of practices. I am neither looking for brutal asceticism nor lax way of living. Middle way is the key. I still like the Thai Forest Tradition and I think I would try again if they understand my situation and help me in some way, but I don't see it as the only alternative because there are many, many others for sure.

With the most respect I have for the Sangha established by the Buddha, I would say that "being" or "not being" a monk is irrelevant for me. I only need a honest and good place that supports my practice and where I can be of any help for other people, too. As Ratthapala says: "As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it's not easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. What if I, having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe, were to go forth from the household life into homelessness?" Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have contact with only one Thai person that might help me. In my homeland (Brazil), I have one very kind supporter that knows a lot about the matter. Any further help is welcome, for sure. Although I do not have preferences, I already know that Thai food isn't that easy to digest in my stomach. But it was not completely bad either. Maybe, I could give a second chance. Anyway, in this phase I am just collecting information. It's also good to know that you would do your best to help me. I do appreciate your kindness. I don't have enough words to thank all the members here, but a simple and very honest "thank very much". I might contact you sooner or later. I do not discard Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam as alternatives, too.
Last edited by Biija on Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by Mkoll » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:54 pm

Biija wrote:Once, at the end of the afternoon, I was so weak that I didn't know if I would have energy for going to next pindapata. So, I decided to drink a lot of sugary drinks during nan-pana. They helped at the moment, but 20 minutes later, I had a glycemic peak. I went to my kuti to rest a bit and to recover from drowsiness. I woke up in the next day without recalling if I attended the last evening meditation and the puja.
Wow, that's a pretty serious reaction from just having some sugar.
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 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:27 pm

Mkoll wrote:
Biija wrote:Once, at the end of the afternoon, I was so weak that I didn't know if I would have energy for going to next pindapata. So, I decided to drink a lot of sugary drinks during nan-pana. They helped at the moment, but 20 minutes later, I had a glycemic peak. I went to my kuti to rest a bit and to recover from drowsiness. I woke up in the next day without recalling if I attended the last evening meditation and the puja.
Wow, that's a pretty serious reaction from just having some sugar.
Remember that I've said "a lot of" not just "some". :stirthepot:
Once, a monk said to me: "Monks are like ants." :rofl:

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

Post by Mkoll » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:30 pm

Biija wrote:
Mkoll wrote:
Biija wrote:Once, at the end of the afternoon, I was so weak that I didn't know if I would have energy for going to next pindapata. So, I decided to drink a lot of sugary drinks during nan-pana. They helped at the moment, but 20 minutes later, I had a glycemic peak. I went to my kuti to rest a bit and to recover from drowsiness. I woke up in the next day without recalling if I attended the last evening meditation and the puja.
Wow, that's a pretty serious reaction from just having some sugar.
Remember that I've said "a lot of" not just "some". :stirthepot:
Once, a monk said to me: "Monks are like ants." :rofl:
Hah. For a few years when I was a teenager, I used to drink about 2L of soda a day during the summers off. Not to mention the desserts and other sweets. Didn't even get cavities let alone diabetes.

Guess all our bodies are different. I must be reaping the fruit (in this life) of not injuring living beings (in a previous life). But once I eat that good fruit, it's all gone. So I better go make more of it!
MN 135 wrote:"But then there is the case where a woman or man is not one who harms beings with his/her fists, with clods, with sticks, or with knives. Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in a good destination... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she is healthy wherever reborn. This is the way leading to health: not to be one who harms beings with one's fists, with clods, with sticks, or with knives.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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

Post by alan » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:15 am

Basic problem here seems to be adherence to the dumb rules. As always.
Just imagine how many more people would join and gain from the experience if only they could receive decent food at normal intervals. Typically stupid behavior, which is what I expect from monasteries.

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

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:01 am

Inform yourself, fellah, before writing such scathing and inaccurate comments.

There can be exceptions, it's a question of research and request. I have found Monasteries to be very accommodating, providing you formulate a request and give good reason. Seems to be an appropriate instance here.
Many Monasteries after all, have some very aged monks, who naturally, as they get older, succumb to some conditions associated with old age. Monasteries do whatever is necessary, to relieve these conditions as appropriate....They may has strict disciplinarian regulations, but they're not heartless.
My my, Alan, you do seem to be on a bender against all things monastic.... Bitter, much....? :roll:
:namaste:

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

Post by SarathW » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:48 am

alan wrote:Basic problem here seems to be adherence to the dumb rules. As always.
Just imagine how many more people would join and gain from the experience if only they could receive decent food at normal intervals. Typically stupid behavior, which is what I expect from monasteries.
Hi Alan
Before you call it a dumb rule I suggest that you practice, not taking a meal afternoon for three months and do breath meditation early in the morning (say 5.00am) and see how you feel.
Please also note that fasting is not only a Buddhist practice.
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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

Post by martinfrank » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:09 am

SarathW wrote:
alan wrote:Basic problem here seems to be adherence to the dumb rules. As always.
Just imagine how many more people would join and gain from the experience if only they could receive decent food at normal intervals. Typically stupid behavior, which is what I expect from monasteries.
Hi Alan
Before you call it a dumb rule I suggest that you practice, not taking a meal afternoon for three months and do breath meditation early in the morning (say 5.00am) and see how you feel.
Please also note that fasting is not only a Buddhist practice.
:)
Dear Alan

Why don't you join the Trappists?
The Trappist diet and life style in general have been found to be very healthy. If you were to visit a Trappist monastery, meet the monks or nuns, and try to guess their ages, your guess would frequently be about ten years under the mark. In other words, it has often been observed that many monks and nuns look about ten years younger than they actually are. This, no doubt, is attributable in part to the diet they maintain. Most Trappists have a rather light breakfast and then a more substantial mid day meal, reflecting our European roots. However, since we go to be so early, supper is generally pretty light. We eat, not primarily to enjoy ourselves, but to strengthen ourselves for service to God and one another in His church. This is not to say we do not enjoy our meals. Many monasteries provide a homemade “mix” or granola that is really delicious. We are accustomed to bread baked on the same day, and we love our soups! We are vegetarians and so avoid a number of health concerns which derive from eating meat. Most monasteries have their own garden and it is known that eating vegetables locally grown is especially healthy. We generally don't have sweets except on special Feast Days like Christmas or Easter. The amount of food a monk eats is not strictly monitored or controlled and so most enjoy a sufficiency which, according to Catholic social teaching is what each child of God is entitled to – nothing more, nothing less. Unlike many of their American brothers and sisters, Trappists do not typically take snacks, and it seems the complimentary periods of fasting between meals are conducive to good health. Obesity is relatively rare in our monasteries.
http://www.trappists.org/newcomers/mona ... /lifestyle
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