Author Topic: eating before noon  (Read 8549 times)


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eating before noon
« on: November 05, 2012, 03:39:37 PM »
Hi All,

What is the reason behind eating once a day and before noon for monks. On my last retreat I learnt three key things to pursue on the path od Dhamma 1. OKHITTA CHAKKHU (EYES DOWNCAST) 2. BHATTA MATANYA (EATING LESS) 3. TANHO BHAV (NOBLE SILENCE)

My question is about BHATTA MATANYA (EATING LESS).  I have been trying this for a month, only the wrong way round i.e. eating after once after 6pm and fasting during the day. I start work around 8 and having a heavy meal before noon is not ideal.
What is the reason behind eating once a day and before noon for Bhikkhus?


Re: eating before noon
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 11:18:25 PM »
    I heard that originally there was no restriction of when the monks could go for alms, one night a monk showed up at a pregnant womans house and she became scared not knowing who this stranger was, it caused her to miscarry. When the buddha heard this, he made the rule that alms should be gathered and eaten before noon. Basically so the monks would not become a nuisance to laypeople.

    Eating less is helpful when meditating for long hours each day, the body does not require as much food as you are less active. You will be much more comfortable sitting with an empty stomach.

    It can also be useful as a training dicipline, eat once a day and then the mind does not have to think about eating for the rest of the day.

    The precepts have value on many levels, practicing sila is as deep a practice as samadhi, and both are necessary for panna to arise.


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Re: eating before noon
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 12:04:23 AM »

What is the reason behind eating once a day and before noon for Bhikkhus?

[/quote]Hi Redalert. That is a really nice explanation I have never hear before. I wander if you can remember where you hear that. Thanks


Re: eating before noon
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 12:24:51 AM »
     Not all bhikkus eat only once a day.

     Sorry, I cannot remember where I heard this.


Re: eating before noon
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 02:04:04 AM »
This is what I found:

Why do Buddhist monks not eat after noon and what food is suitable for offering?

Buddhist monks observe a strict code of conduct (vinaya) in order to discipline the body and mind. Food is regarded simply as a means of keeping the body alive so that the spiritual path may be followed. Food is not taken in order to beautify the body or because it has a pleasant taste.
According to the vinaya rules, a meal should be taken before noon.
A meal in the evening may cause drowsiness and make the practice of meditation difficult. Monks discipline themselves to be satisfied with very few material things, including food. Also by eating only one meal a day, they reduce the burden on the lay community which supports them. An exception to the rule of not eating after noon is made during an illness.

The vinaya rules state that a monk should only eat what is offered to him and he should accept any item without showing pleasure or displeasure. The right intention should be that dana is offered to the collective body of monks (The Sangha) and not to a particular individual.
The offering of food (dana) to the monks has been the tradition from the days of the Buddha.

Any type of food (not containing alcohol), which is normally taken by lay people, is suitable for offering to monks, bearing in mind that many monks prefer to be vegetarian. The monks are prohibited to eat meat of animals specially killed for the offering, if they are aware of it.

There is a mistaken belief that the greater the variety and tastier the food offered, the greater is the merit acquired. In fact, an act that leads to gluttony cannot be regarded as a skilfull action.

A dana (an act of generosity) should be conducted with wholesome thoughts, without the aim of selfish gain, expecting some benefit in return.


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Re: eating before noon
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 12:10:19 PM »
I sopke to one of the monk at my local monastery and he said the same thing.. the purpose of this is todedicate more time towards the practise and as they are expected to meditate for longer period.. any more or any less food would become a hindrance.


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Re: eating before noon
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2012, 07:55:40 AM »

Here in England we have an expression related to diet and health: "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper".

Eating a big breakfast means you are gaining nutrients you need to fuel yourself during the day. The digestive system drastically reduces activity during sleep and so eating a big meal at night means the food ferments and starts to rot in your gut - that then becomes your source of nutrients for the next day.

The main reason monks eat before noon is to commit to meditation for the rest of the day - however, like many of the things the Buddha introduced to the Sangha it actually has this real basis in what is wholesome or unwholesome in life.

The way you are eating now is not good for your health or your work performance or your meditation. For those reasons it would be wise to start eating more earlier.

Personally I have always had a huge breakfast (long before I knew any of this or was a Buddhist) - I think it came down to my ectomorph body type (tall & thin, little body fat) - which means if my blood sugar drops it manifests as behavioural change (I become a little manic - and if I don't eat it gets worse and worse very quickly).

My typical breakfast is an English fry up: Egg, sausage, bacon, potatoes of some kind, baked beans, mushrooms, toast. I have no body fat and no arterial plaque.

If that's not up your street something like porridge makes a really good breakfast of slow release carbs to fuel your day.

Kind regards,

~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~


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Re: eating before noon
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 04:05:00 PM »
I will keep going this route for the time being as I feel lot better and hopefully switch eating before the noon way very soon.

Many thanks


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