Wednesday, May 09, 2018


I've been looking into fasting. A friend has been experimenting with it and I've been talking to him about how he does it and what it means to him. He is doing it for health reasons, but I see some spiritual potential.

I had a friend who did the master cleanse and reported good results. It always freaked me out a bit and I was very scared to contemplate the possibilities. Quite impressive.

One Chan perspective is that the Buddha became enlightened after he quit fasting as an approach. Neither running toward or running from pleasure is the path, the middle way is to run in neither direction.

The Chan fellow's name is Rev. Heng Sure and he reports an unsuccessful 18 day fast. He also has a cool blog that has some good photography.

That brings up the question, do we follow what the Buddha did after he became enlightened, from our unenlightened perspective, or do we do the same things he did on the path to enlightenment.

Another aspect is the Dhutangas a set of monastic guidelines that involve not eating after noon, daily fasting. I'm thinking about trying not to eat between solar noon (12:52p) to sunrise (544a) tomorrow. I'll report in if I follow through.

Bhante Dhammika has an interesting blog as well, and he has a post on fasting.

listened to a talk by people who walked out of their home without money, food or a phone for 2 days. The three people discuss their different experiences of going forth. They begged and got to eat. The copper moved them along, begging being illegal in Birmingham. They slept on cement one night and then in the park the second night. It seemed like a cool friendship activity, they learned who were the best beggars and confronted many fears.

For me the thought is that like running a marathon or challenging fears by bungee jumping or skydiving, you test your limits and build the confidence needed to push hard for the spiritual life.

In the end, I think veganism is a kind of fasting from the flesh and products of animals, that eliminates many options that the society in the USA like. Not eating after solar noon would also be a perhaps the second best practice. And fasting could also be a confidence-building and healthy thing to do, in the conventional sense where you fast for days without eating.

1 comment:

Stephen Bell said...

Fasting solar noon to sunrise 5/10/18-5/14/18

Day 1 seemed easy until my son handed me a container of food, and then the kitchen was a calling me. The struggle is inside but I began to see the wisdom Cliff said of having nothing in the house to tempt you. It’s harder also because I slept through my second meal, taking a nap because I don’t have coffee. I went to bed at night, and I forgot to move my snacking peanuts. Moved them quickly to the kitchen.

Day 2: I woke up in the night. Not sure if it was an energy surge or what that I’ve been sleeping too much but I wasn’t hungry. My sunrise alarm went off and I slept on. I found it hard to wake up but I got up and I wasn’t feeling hungry. I thought about just keeping fasting but then I thought no, I want to do the Buddhist fasting so I need to eat when I can. The food wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be. So far I’m getting a paradoxical reaction.

And then it wasn’t paradoxical. I felt more hunger the second night and when my sons came over with some treats I ended up eating. Blew a night, now I’m one for two.

Day 3: I decided to just climb back up on the wagon. I was successful in not eating.

Day 4: I had 2 bagels before solar noon and that just wasn’t enough, so I fixed a yummy kidney bean, spinach and aubergine curry with rice.

Day 5: Couldn’t do it. I had a bowl of cereal and a small bowl of curry. I was hungry by 3pm. I’ve decided this way of fasting leads to organizational contortions, eating 2 big meals in the morning and afternoon. If you don’t it’s hard to do, and in my head, eating healthy vegan fare is a better route. I give up. Now I’m going to try fasting for 2 days at some point.