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Meals

Meal Types

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Supper

For various reasons (religious, health), some will practice

  • Fasting
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Eating only one meal the whole day (especially by monks who practice ekāsanika dhutanga)
  • Eating two meals per day
    Most monks take “Ah Yone Soon” after sun rise and “Nei Soon” before noon
  • Eating Brunch (Breakfast and Lunch in one go)
  • Skipping Dinner every day or some days of the week

Ah Wa Sar (All You Can Eat)

  • During our younger days, many food shops and food stalls offer “Ah Wa Sar”.
  • My father took his assistants to an “Ah Wa Sar” shop during a trip. It was for about one kyat per person. On the return trip, the shop had “Closed for today” sign. It appeared that the assistants ate four or more bowls of rice, several helpings of “Toe Sa Ya” before finishing one or more bowls with the meat.

Most of my elderly friends have stopped going to “Ah Wa Sar” restaurants because of a seemingly Lose-Lose situation.

  • If you cannot eat a lot, then you lose your money.
  • If you eat a lot, you might not feel good for a few days. You may lose your health.

Dhutanga

There are 13 Dhutangas. Two of them are related to eating.

Dr. Nyunt Wai wrote :

My one and only temporary monk hood was also with Taung-pu-Lu Sayadaw while he was residing in AD road, Yangon. That time we had to eat one meal and had to mix everything in the bowl. This mixing, if I remember correctly Is called ဘတ္ဒပိုင္ (bud-da-pine) practice and may not be a dhutanga. We also had to stay and sleep under trees (not under roofs) in chairs (not beds) telling us these were dhutangas.

Dr. Khin Maung U (SPHS63) wrote :

I think the Dhutangas related to eating needs to be clarified further (about which I learned and practised at Taung-Pu-Lu where I became a temporary monk 5 times in Myanmar in the 1980s):

(1) ekāsanika dhutanga : a single meal – means one eats at one sitting only once in that day. It does not matter whether there are more than one containers/plates. However, once that person changes position and/or stands up, or declines any more food that is offered (e.g., by a disciple), the person cannot continue eating anymore for that day or the dhutanga is broken.

(2) pattapiṇḍika dhutanga: everything for eating must be within one bowl – means putting all that will be eaten in one bowl or plate (does not necessarily have to MIX them together before eating – a common misconception). In this case no second bowl or plate is allowed apart from a cup of water (NOT soup, juice, etc.) placed by the bowl. Here again, if that person reaches for food in another plate (e.g., when offered inadvertently by a disciple), this dhutanga is broken.

A more serious and difficult dhutanga practice is to observe BOTH of these ekāsanika and pattapindika dhutangas together – i.e., eating a meal in one container at one sitting for that day.

  • Dhutangas are ascetic practices consisting of 13 types.
  • The two dhutangas related to eating are the only ones which lay persons can undertake to practice.
  • The other 11 dhutangas (as well as these two related to eating) are for bhikkhus or monks to practice.

I learned and practised all 13 Dhutangas during the 5 episodes of becoming a monk at Taung-Pu-Lu, one of them at AD Road in Yangon. These include:
1. paṃsukūla : using only abandoned robes
2. tecīvarika : using only three robes
3. piṇḍapāta : collecting food by means of one’s bowl
4. sapadānacārika : food collection without skipping houses
5. ekāsanika : a single meal at one sitting
6. pattapiṇḍika : everything within a single bowl (sometimes confused as mixing everything whereas it is more important to restrict to one bowl or plate)
7. khalupacchābhattika : no longer accepting any extra food after having started to take the meal
8. āraññika : to reside in the forest or a kyaung in the forest
9. rukkhamūla : to remain beneath a tree
10. abbhokāsika : to remain on the bare earth without shelter
11. susānika : to remain in a cemetery overnight
12. yathāsantatika : to sleep or stay at the spot allotted to you
13. nesajjika : to renounce supine posture (i.e., maintain sitting or standing posture without lying down to sleep; can sleep in chair)

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