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sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day - Dhamma Wheel

sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

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echalon
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sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby echalon » Sat May 07, 2011 3:46 pm

Thinking about the sixth precept, I realize I don't have a good idea of what abstaining from food after noon looks like for a typical monk's schedule. How long does a monk's day usually last? About what proportion of a monk's day is over by the time they eat their midday meal (e.g. half? 60%? 40%?). I realize any answer will of course be gross generalization, but could someone give some insight?

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David N. Snyder
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat May 07, 2011 3:55 pm

It varies by monastery, for example in some they might start the day with an early 4 am group meditation / chanting service and in others they might start closer to 9 am.

But I would say somewhere between 50% to 60% of the day is complete by the end of the noon meal. It is not a problem with hunger as long as the meal is pretty significant. The body adapts pretty easily.
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daverupa
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby daverupa » Sat May 07, 2011 7:04 pm

I eat one meal a day currently, and it's delightful. I highly recommend it.

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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat May 07, 2011 7:39 pm

I am currently attempting to cut down to two meals a day. I had to give up and return to a 3 meal a day due to work-study constraints and raising two young kids with my wife. I observe the 6th precept on uposatha days only but also fast during the month of Ramadhan out of respect for my in-laws.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
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rowyourboat
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby rowyourboat » Sun May 08, 2011 2:00 am

Hi Daverupa,

Are you a lay person, if you don't mind me asking? I have been thinking of moderation in food and cutting down- how did you manage to do it?

Khali Bodhi, why did yougo back to three meals a day?

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frank k
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby frank k » Sun May 08, 2011 2:56 am

Hi all,
I think it really depends on our lifestyles and activity evel (even for a monastic) that determines what the optimal diet and frequency of eating should be. If the diet is omnivorous and rich and nutrients, or lacto ovo vegetarian, I've found that for me eating breakfast and lunch and skipping dinner works fine, in fact it feels far better for the meditation, energy level and wakefulness to skip dinner. However, on a vegan diet, I find 2 meals a day really tough to get all the calories I need. I've done it, and the body adapts so that I have enough energy to be ok skipping dinner, but I gradually over the weeks I turn into a skeleton. I'm skinny to begin with, so I imagine someone with a different body type might do ok on 2 vegan meals a day.
If one is doing a really long retreat, than gradually over the weeks you get so charged up with energy you naturally feel like eating less, sleeping less, needing less. On a two month retreat, by the 6th or 7th week I'm sleeping 2 or 3 hours a day, and even eating just lunch and skipping breakfast on many days feels right.
What I do most of the time in lay life is eat two lacto-ovo vegetarian meals a day and skip dinner. However on days where for example my lunch was kind of a light vegan lunch and I feel a lack of energy, then I'll take a medicinal snack in the evening of 1, 2, or 3 spoon fuls of yogurt.
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ground
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby ground » Sun May 08, 2011 5:07 am


rowyourboat
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby rowyourboat » Sun May 08, 2011 7:25 pm

Hi TMingyur,

You have quoted some very advanced practice- for those who have high levels of attainment. The Buddha did say that there were advantages to reducing your food intake. It would be good if someone could find the relevant sutta quote.

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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sun May 08, 2011 7:30 pm

Hi Matheesha,

I went back to 3 meals a day simply because I found my energy to be too low to fulfill my duties as a father, business-owner and student let alone to practice formal sitting meditation. The problem may have something to do with my diet which is pretty much vegan (except, for instance, when I am at my in-laws) but I definitely feel it's a good practice and will continue striving towards 2 meals per day. Metta.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby Pacific » Mon May 09, 2011 3:53 am

I tried this for a while but I just ended up tired and weak... IS there any reason, as a lay person, to do it (other than to attempt to reduce greed, but even then...). I found my metabolism slowed so much so I gave it away. can it be unhealthy to eat a huge meal just once a day?

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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby ground » Mon May 09, 2011 4:55 am


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daverupa
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby daverupa » Mon May 09, 2011 9:06 am

Eating is mostly an unpleasant business, if you examine it clearly, and since I don't have a large intestine I'm much more in tune with the fact that the only difference between appetite and asshole is a few hours. The body is a gooey mess, and keeping it running starts to be the only point of eating. Once that happens, eating once a day is simply the easiest way to get the hassle over with - it takes on a flavor similar to flossing one's teeth, or shaving one's head, or clipping one's nails.

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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby rowyourboat » Mon May 09, 2011 11:12 am

I'm trying to control my craving for food these days- Daverupa, that was helpful, thanks!

I also find being mindful of saliva mixing with the food as it turns it into the messy goo, also helpful, to reduce my craving.

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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby frank k » Mon May 09, 2011 5:20 pm

For an interesting view on eating from the Buddha, see MN 3
http://www.suttacentral.net/disp_sutta. ... acronym=MN

Basically of those 2 monks, he praised the one who fasted for the day.

Along with the 4 nutriments sutta, this is one of my favorite passages from biography of Ajahn Mun:
p.42 savaka arahant addressing ajahn mun:
Thoroughly investigate all the food you eat. Don’t allow those foods that taste good to add poison to your mind. Even though the body may be strengthened by food that’s eaten without proper investigation, the mind will be weakened by its damaging effects. By nourishing your body with food that is eaten unmindfully, you will, in effect, be destroying yourself with nourishment that depletes your mental vitality.
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby Virgo » Mon May 09, 2011 5:45 pm

In general, your body adjusts to the highly reduced level of food intake. That is to say, after a few days or a week, you no longer suffer very bad hunger pains or longings. There are some of course, but they are much different and less severe than if you were used to taking 3 meals a day, with the last one being the largest, and just completely skipped the last meal one day. Your body adjusts.

As far as health effects go, the agni of the body is effected in a very good way. Anyone with knowledge of Ayurveda knows that digestion (agni) is the root of good health. The agni stays strong this way, so that the food you do eat gets processed optimally and you get more nutrition out of your meals than normal, because of the strong agni. Furthermore, the agni has a chance to spread out and digest ama's or toxins accumulated in the body which lead to all types of diseases such as arthritis and so on. The agni has a chance the clean the body out from the inside. This is very health.

And, of course, a monk uses much less energy than the average man. What your body needs when you work a long work day, and when you spend your life as a contemplative is very, very different, especially if you live a life of meditation.

Kevin


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daverupa
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby daverupa » Mon May 09, 2011 9:49 pm

Eat a favorite meal with a fork, but right before you swallow after chewing, remove the food from your mouth with the fork and really examine it. A few seconds prior, it was a tasty morsel, but on the fork it is visually unappealing. Now set that on the side of the plate, and observe it as you eat the rest of your meal. Observe your reactions. Make that bit on the side of your plate the last bite you take.

rowyourboat
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby rowyourboat » Thu May 12, 2011 8:24 am

I found seeing the food as patavi, app, tejo, vayo (the four elements) as helpful and as a result disregarding the perception (sanna) that one type of food was more tastier than the other. Also noting the impermanence of pleasant sensations/tastes as well as the unpleasant.

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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby bodom » Thu May 12, 2011 11:05 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


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rowyourboat
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby rowyourboat » Fri May 13, 2011 7:34 am

[3] "'The perception of loathsomeness in food, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

"When a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind shrinks away from craving for flavors, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock's feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind shrinks away from craving for flavors, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind inclines to craving for flavors, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, 'I have not developed the perception of loathsomeness in food; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind shrinks away from craving for flavors, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, 'I have developed the perception of loathsomeness in food; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there.

"'The perception of loathsomeness in food, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: sixth precept and percentage of a monk's day

Postby sriinu76 » Tue May 17, 2011 11:35 pm

Why do I, being subject myself to birth, seek what is likewise subject to birth? Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, why do I seek what is likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement? What if I, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, were to seek the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding?
-MN26


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