Hickersonia wrote:Being I've studied mostly the Theravada school of Buddhism, I was a little surprised to see the resident monastic (a nun) eating after noon when the rest of the "congregation" (for lack of a better word) had a lunch after service.
Not sure about the Vietnamese tradition, but in a lot of Chinese traditions of Buddhism that I have observed monks and nuns may have their meal as long as it is before 1pm. The relevant precept in Chinese 過午不食 can be translated as "no eating past wu
". Before following the rest of the world in using hours and minutes, the Chinese culture used a time measurement system where they divided a day into 12 units. The wu
or "noon" unit is from 11am to 1pm. I understand this has to do with why they may still eat between 12pm to 1pm. Nan Huai-Chin mentioned about this in one of his lectures/books.
I have heard Chinese monks teaching that drinking fluids after lunch time is alright as long as there are no solid bits, e.g. pulps in fruit juice. Water, tea, pulpless fruit juice are widely acceptable. Some perceive milk as essentially food that can be taken after lunch only as medicine, e.g. stomachache. Other such medicinal food include cheese and chocolate. Some temples require approval by a Vinaya teacher or a senior monk/nun if one has to take such food past lunch time for medicinal purposes.
I remember reading somewhere a general observation that Theravada monks and nuns are strict about not eating past noon while Chinese Mahayana monks and nuns are strict about not eating meat, garlic, onion, etc. Elsewhere I have read about the historical original of this aspect of Chinese Buddhism.