Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

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SarathW
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Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:23 am

Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

This is something I always wondered.
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cookiemonster
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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by cookiemonster » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:33 am

SarathW wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:23 am
Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

This is something I always wondered.
IMO it's probably because they are often inflamed and/or bloated from being given lower quality (inexpensive) chemical & pesticide-laced foodstuffs, or from being provided excessive carbs (rice, vegetables) along with a lack of fat and/or protein. If the body can't quickly and easily get rid of bad substances, it's often shunted to be locked away in body fat so they don't harm the organs, etc.

Garrib
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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by Garrib » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:58 am

Perhaps in Sri Lanka and other countries it is different (economic and cultural reasons?), but in the United States, if I had to guess I'd say that the average monk has a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than the average American.

Some people pack on weight more than others (slower metabolism or medical condition).

People often like food more than exercise - and monastics in particular may not spend a lot of time doing heavy exercise.

Monastics (hopefully) have less concern about their physical appearance - they aren't trying to convince others that they have an excellent physique or whatever.

Also - I've heard that lay people often give monks unhealthy, fried foods and treats. Monastics don't always get to choose what they eat (I guess in practice that depends on the monastery/alms situation)

In general I would say that intermittent fasting is not necessarily going to make you skinny - it depends how much/what you eat, how much exercise you get, and other factors related to one's physical makeup and health. I think the quality of one's mind and behavior is FAR FAR more important than how their physical form appears to others (that being said, obesity is a real medical concern and overeating can be seriously problematic)

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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by dylanj » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:58 am

Because they eat more than one meal a day instead of the one recommended by the Buddha & practiced by all arahants, & because it's easy to eat more than enough to get fat in that period of time if one isn't moderate in their eating & restrained in hunger for pleasant tastes.
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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:48 am

SarathW wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:23 am
Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

This is something I always wondered.
sedentary lifestyle coupled with pana (after noon refresments like sugarcane and ghee) maybe?
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

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"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:22 am

All the previous 4 answers are correct. It's a combination of all of them.

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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:38 am

All the previous 4 answers are correct. It's a combination of all of them.
Isn't there a health awareness programme for monks?
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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by dharmacorps » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:38 pm

I have observed the opposite. Most monks I have seen here are slender if not thin.

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DooDoot
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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by DooDoot » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:46 pm

Eating too much and eating too much rice together with sweets, which is too many carbs.

When a monk is young & physically active, they get used to eating a certain amount of food. But as a monk gets old & sedentary, the metabolism slows down and they get fat.

When I lived in the monastery, the 'food reflection' was said before each meal but it was taken for granted because monks are generally eating one meal per day and they believe that one meal in itself is sufficient criteria for the food reflection. In other words, most ate as much as they could in that one meal and no one was fat because they were young & active.

I recall when i returned the monastery i lived in, when i was older, after being away for 6 years, all of the monks has lost lots of weight. Obviously, there was a deliberate directive they eat less (because many were getting fat prior to when i left 6 years prior).

I posted before that I probably ate the same amount & quality of food for 25 years but it was in later years i put on weight. I have recently reduced my food intake, particularly rice, fruit & sugar, by 3/4. But my vegetables & protein has remained the same.

I now eat two measuring cups of brown rice per day (which would be two serving spoons); no sweets; rarely milk products; and only low fructose fruits.

Monks get offered lots of sweets.
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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by santa100 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:07 pm

SarathW wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:38 am
Isn't there a health awareness programme for monks?
The monastery below sure has a real good one. There're lots of monks there and I don't see any fat one... :tongue:

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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by DNS » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:29 am

santa100 wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:07 pm
The monastery below sure has a real good one. There're lots of monks there and I don't see any fat one... :tongue:
That's a Zen monastery, not a Theravada one. Some of them are like boot-camps, nothing wrong with that, but a different tradition than Theravada; not placing a value-judgment, but there is certainly more physical activity in a Zen monastery like the one in the video than what you normally find at a Theravada one.

If one is not that physically active, you need to decrease your calorie intake. Physical activity, manual labor, sports all expend quite a bit of calories. If you're not doing those things, then the calorie intake should be decreased. One can get more than enough calories in just one meal a day, especially if one is not that active.

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Pondera
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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by Pondera » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:34 am

Recall; the Buddha was also flabby in his later years.
Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, massaged the Blessed One's limbs with his hand and said, "It's amazing, lord. It's astounding, how the Blessed One's complexion is no longer so clear & bright; his limbs are flabby & wrinkled; his back, bent forward; there's a discernible change in his faculties — the faculty of the eye, the faculty of the ear, the faculty of the nose, the faculty of the tongue, the faculty of the body."
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pitakele
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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by pitakele » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:27 am

One factor in becoming overweight is that most Buddhist monks wear non form fitting attire. The lower robe (antaravāsaka, andana, sabong) is held up by a waistband and there is generally little awareness of the waistline expanding cf. to when wearing trousers, esp. jeans. If your tummy (or backside) outgrows a pair of pants, you will need to get them adjusted or replaced. Not so when wearing robes. It is the same situation when shirts or jackets no longer fit.

Another factor is that unless a monk likes to feel fit and trim, there is no need to impress others with body shape cf. with lay life. There is also the phenomenon of 'meditation belly', arising from extensive sitting, but which is really just an aspect of sedentary lifestyle.
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Chula
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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by Chula » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:37 am

Pondera wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:34 am
Recall; the Buddha was also flabby in his later years.
Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, massaged the Blessed One's limbs with his hand and said, "It's amazing, lord. It's astounding, how the Blessed One's complexion is no longer so clear & bright; his limbs are flabby & wrinkled; his back, bent forward; there's a discernible change in his faculties — the faculty of the eye, the faculty of the ear, the faculty of the nose, the faculty of the tongue, the faculty of the body."
Jara Sutta
I think extrapolating that the Buddha was overweight from this is inaccurate. Another translation has flaccid, and a Sinhala translation translates it as loose (as in skin). Flabby here definitely doesn't mean overweight. As I recall there is another sutta where the Buddha specifically mentions how his legs are thin and veined.

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Re: Why monks are so overweight if they fasting from noon to sunrise?

Post by markandeya » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:54 am

Hi,

Having been a monk (i prefer the term brahmacari) I can say there are many factors to this. Not all eat only regular meal once a day. Another one is that meditation can slow down the metabolism and if not active the food will turn to fat or gain weight more easy.

Also as some have mentioned that foods eaten or ones that are offered may have to much process foods or low quality foods.

I have always maintained that the habit of a monastic, who should be leading by example is one of a healthy lifestyle, the lay community will follow their examples if set nicely. To do real yoga or mediation ones mind and body should be fit, one can sit there watching mental phenomenon and sensations come and go, but so does a traffic policeman watch traffic come and go everyday, it doesnt mean meditation is advancing. In fact Mind and body are one and the same in Abhidharma, its a dependent system, so good health and good intake of foods is essential. Āhāra is essential in all dharma traditions, it means in take of food but not just normal edible food, its intake of all that is dharmic and leads to freedom. You are what you eat, you become what you eat, we eat through all 5 senses, when mind is controlled Āhāra is digesting subtle more higher dharmas beyond the senses and not he junk or materially entangling limiting and conditioning information and junk.

There is a lot of knowledge that can be shared to help balance the body mind dynamic, lots of good excersise ranging from Tai Chi to Nath based Hatha Yoga exercise as examples, to promote and raise chi or lifeforce, this will regulate weight and keep health and mind in balance. Ayurveda which is practiced in many varieties all over Asia, there are many systems included in mediation way of life, its a complete lifestyle, it covers everything.

Health is important, good routines, waking up early, drinking water, balanced diet and recreation and work, this will help to gain the right type of qualified equanimity that is needed to gain true vipassana outside of mind and body..

:anjali:

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