48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

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jundocohen
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48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by jundocohen » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:09 am

A report that surprises me, even though I have heard such things before ...
The daily afternoon fasting of Thai Buddhist monks is making them fat, thanks largely to modern sugary drinks, says a leading nutritionist.

The most recent figures show 48 per cent of monks are obese and more than 10 per cent are diabetic. ...

"Some monks have diabetes and had their legs amputated, so they can't walk."

When researchers studied monks' dietary habits, they were initially puzzled.

They found the total calorie intake of monks (1,350) was about the same as that of the general population of Thai males in Bangkok (1,500).

"When we really do research about this we are surprised … it is the drink," said nutritionist Jongjit Angkatavanich, from Chulalongkorn University's Department of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Monks are forbidden from eating after midday, but many sip sweetened drinks to keep up their energy.

http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id= ... x1lvor7TIV
This does connect with a fascinating book by the western born Theravada monk, Ven. Shravasti Dhammika, samples below ... Lay folks earn Karmic "merit" from donations to monks, and thus better rebirth and other Karmic benefits, so demand the right to donate. It seems like a harm of the merit system run amuk:
In Sri Lanka
while monks are eating lay people will come around to see if they need more food. Typically the
monks allow food to keep being piled on their plates so that when they have finished eating there is
as much left over as has been consumed. When the sweet plates are collected at the end of the meal
there will be slices of cake with the icing eaten off the top, apples with one or two bites taken out of
them and half eaten biscuits. And of course all this food is just thrown away. I have seen
Theravadin monks from Bangladesh, a country where hunger and malnutrition are endemic, do
exactly the same things. They are guaranteed a full meal tomorrow, they don’t have to pay for it and
so they just don’t care. When people offer you soap or towels you may politely tell them that you
already have more than enough but it will make no difference. They will insist that you take their
gifts. Many times I have had conversations that went something like this; ‘Venerable sir, would you
like a cup of tea?’ ‘No thanks.’ ‘Coffee?’ ‘No thanks’. ‘Would you like some fruit juice then.’ ‘Not
now. Maybe later.’ ‘Then how about a glass of Milo?’ ‘No.’ ‘Then can I get you a drink of mineral
water?’ etc, etc etc. The first visitor to the monastery will do this, then the second may go through
the same routine and so on. Eventually, worn down by the relentless desire to give, you surrender,
accept what’s offered, take a sip out of it just to please the donor and the rest is later tipped down the sink.

...

Last time I was in Burma I found the food so
rich that on several occasions I decided to fast for a day. When I didn’t come to the danasala in one
place where I was staying a contingent of very formidable matrons came to see what was wrong.
‘Are you sick venerable sir ?’ ‘No, I’ve decided just not to eat today.’ Eyes popped open, jaws drop
with disbelief and then the breaking down process commenced. ‘How about having just a little?’
‘No thanks. I’d really like to give my stomach a rest.’ ‘Have some fruit then. You must keep your
strength up’. ‘No, it’s quite okay’. ‘Then what about some soup’? ‘No, I’m having nothing today’
etc, etc, etc. In this instance I held my ground and the matrons went off shaking their heads with a
combination of bewilderment and admiration. But it is easy to give in when one is assailed with this
kind of thing day after day. It is hard to blame monks for allowing themselves to be overindulged,
devotees can be very persistent. It is equally hard to blame lay people; for centuries this is what
Theravada has taught them to do. Both are caught up in a vicious circle. Each spoils the other.

...

You could hardly believe it possible for human beings to sleep so much until you’ve spent time in a
Theravada monastery. The most enduring images I have of my years in monasteries is of Burmese
monks dozing in chairs while their devotees massage their feet, of Thai monks lying flat on their
backs snoring at ten in the morning and of somnolent old nayaka hamdarus in Sri Lanka getting out
of bed for lunch and going straight back again after it is over. The English monk Phra Peter relates
an amusing incident he witnessed when a junior monk was paying respects to his senior with the
traditional three bows. The first bow went okay, the second was somewhat slower and during the
third bow the monk drifted off and remained fast asleep on the floor. This pervasive slothfulness is
a logical consequence of the Vinaya notion that monks must have everything done for them To
quote Spiro again. ‘Almost all his needs are satisfied by others, without his doing - or being
permitted to do - anything on his own behalf. As we have seen, he does no work; he does not earn
his own bread; even if he wants to, he cannot so much as pour his tea or lift his serving bowl, let
alone tend his garden or repair his monastery. Everything he needs must be given to him by others;
everything that he desires must be provided him by others. Moreover, others not only must provide
for the monk, but in fact they do provide for him, and - as we have seen - with lavish hand’ (italics
in the original).

The almost complete absence of physical exercise coupled with the rich diet is probably the reason
for the abnormally high incidence of diabetes amongst older Sri Lankan monks. A study released in
2002 showed that the leading cause of death amongst Thai monks was smoking related illnesses.
Having little else to do they while away their time sleeping, chatting and puffing on Klongtips [cigarettes].
http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-b ... dhanew.pdf

His blog:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.jp/

I wonder how it is for Japanese and western priests, most probably consuming a fairly typical modern diet with varying degrees of physical exercise.

Gassho, J (off to the exercise bike now)
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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desert_woodworker
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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:35 pm

Jundo, that's an interesting report. Thank you!

I think that Tibetan monks display a certain share of adipose tissue, too, perhaps to ward off the cold.
jundocohen wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:09 am
Monks are forbidden from eating after midday, but many sip sweetened drinks to keep up their energy.
I think that even pure fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, in the form of naturally-occurring Fructose in the fruit. But maybe they jazz up and dose down their juice with added sucrose.

A measured teaspoon of raw sugar has 15 calories (that's kilo-calories, of course). A tablespoon, about 50 calories.

It's possible to drink pure fruit juice in one glass, and receive all the sugar of, sometimes, thee or four pieces of fruit that the juice has been made from (say, a glass of orange juice in USA). That's a bit of sugar, but only 45 calories per 16 fluid ounces, in the case of pure unadulterated orange juice.

"Funny" that the monks' formal diet allows them to drink such extracts and not break either a fast, or a sila rule. Perhaps they can switch to sugarless caffeine-bearing tea, without breaking the sila rule? I think this is what Bodhidharma did; and he even donated his eyelids so that tea plants could spring up on the ground where legend has it he discarded them in his adopted country, China (people of lesser stature might only have given their eye teeth). ;)

I recall that my own teacher, a Ch'an monk, drank ginseng-root tea in the mornings, and then plain hot water all the rest of the day from his tea cup. He taught the rest of us to drink plain hot water, too: it's good for a person, a practitioner. I would not say it has no taste: in fact, it tastes almost entirely like one's tongue if it is made of the finest pure water such as we had in New York City, the world's best.

--Joe
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:21 pm

Found these recent snapshots online today.

One, a thin monk drinking a juice drink; one, an obese monk, not drinking. Here's wishing them, and all beings, well, --Joe

2015_11_Thai_monk.jpg
2015_11_Thai_monk.jpg (655.03 KiB) Viewed 337 times

2015_11_Thai_monk_tat_monk_fat_monk.jpg
2015_11_Thai_monk_tat_monk_fat_monk.jpg (694.2 KiB) Viewed 337 times

bodh_Tim_Jundo_Williams.jpg
Painted by Tim Jundo Williams
bodh_Tim_Jundo_Williams.jpg (290.15 KiB) Viewed 331 times
Bodhi-Dharma --
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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boda
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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by boda » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:04 pm

New topic rule: everyone who posts in this topic needs to post their BMI.

https://www.smartbmicalculator.com/resu ... 6&ue=0&gl=

Mine is 23.7

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desert_woodworker
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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:28 pm

Awareness of this issue gives the phrase, "Lighten up!" new meaning. ;)

BTW, here's a BMI calc. that does not plant cookies on your machine/device.

It's operated at the US(A) Institutes of Health, and can be switched (just click appropriate tab, there)
to operate in the Metric System (SI) or English System of units.

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educati ... micalc.htm

--Joe

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michaeljc
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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by michaeljc » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:56 pm

This topic leaves me feeling uncomfortable

The fat guy in the photo is a real person

But this is just my feeling

m

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fuki
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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by fuki » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:20 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:56 pm
This topic leaves me feeling uncomfortable

The fat guy in the photo is a real person

But this is just my feeling

m
Thanks for sharing your feelings Mike! :111:

ps he is in good company :hatsoff:
marcel en poesjes 2014 (5).JPG
Fuki "and" fuki - 2014
marcel en poesjes 2014 (5).JPG (1.8 MiB) Viewed 297 times
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
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IZIhttp://www.zeninstitute.org/en/iziae/main.html

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michaeljc
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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by michaeljc » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:28 pm

The cat don't care

That is clear :)

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fuki
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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by fuki » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:38 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:28 pm
The cat don't care

That is clear :)
;)

No lover does. :)
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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desert_woodworker
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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:11 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:56 pm
This topic leaves me feeling uncomfortable

The fat guy in the photo is a real person
Yep, nothing cartoon about it.

He may be an amputee. I suppose diabetes is also as real as anyone. Heart goes out to him and his brothers. I hope and trust that the monastic community of the orange-robed will take care of its own, and the institutional-management can be brought to care.

Maybe OT... but, in USA, Mayors and Councils of certain large US cities have pushed ordinances against sale of large-volume portions of sugared drinks for immediate or on-site consumption, in hopes of diminishing the incidence of diabetes and other public-health hazards here. Soft-drink manufacturers (it's a factory-made product) have fought hard against such legislation, you can bet.

--Joe

p.s. It was tomato-planting-time here about 2 1/2 months ago (the seedlings were started indoors from seed, in Winter).

(as far as BMI is concerned, I can say I still sink in water, as I've always done; not a great swimmer: I just have to keep moving, and can't float; hmm, sharks have to keep moving, too, or they drown; funny coincidence. Some say that, as practitioners, we should keep moving, too. I tell my (few) yoga students over the past 38 years that it's good to be breaking new ground all the time, else, we... adhere ...somewhere, and ...cease.)

joe_garden_260.jpg
Hard to grow tomatoes in a blast-furnace, but here goes
.
joe_garden_260.jpg (30.75 KiB) Viewed 256 times

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jundocohen
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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by jundocohen » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:57 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:56 pm
This topic leaves me feeling uncomfortable

The fat guy in the photo is a real person

But this is just my feeling

m
I agree, and we do not know the particular health or personal issues somebody has.

Talking statistics regarding thousands of people is one thing, singling out a particular human being is another.

Also, I am no joy to see in the shower.

Gassho, Jundo
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by desert_woodworker » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:49 am

jundocohen wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:57 pm
Talking statistics regarding thousands of people is one thing, singling out a particular human being is another.
Of course, if you have no particulars, you really don't know in fact the form of concrete exemplars that the statistics are pointing to. It would be "hopelessly theoretical", as Allen Ginsberg used to say. The same goes in the classification of types of elliptical galaxies: diagrams and photographs help, else it's hard to fathom what an E0 means, versus, say, an E7.

--Joe

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Re: 48 per cent of Thai Monks are Obese

Post by desert_woodworker » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:50 pm

In an amusing incident, a Tai Chi friend Reggie Jackson in New York City, who was about as rotund as Hotei, once patted his belly in response to a comment by our teacher Da Liu, and said, "Master Liu, this isn't FAT, this is CHI!".

Talk about sparring... . This was a bit of "Dharma Combat". And showed the sense of Yuma of both of them... .

Reggie's tai chi form was a fine match to our Teacher's, and Reggie became a tai chi teacher himself (early 1980s).

--Joe

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