Enlightened yet fat

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lostitude
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Enlightened yet fat

Post by lostitude » Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:44 am

Hello,

Sorry if it sounds blunt, but I guess my question is obvious :)
I have seen quite a lot of pictures of buddhist monks. While many are quite thin, a fair number of them are surprisingly overweight.
To me this looks a bit contradictory with the notion of renouncing this world's deceiving lures...
I completely understand that no one is flawless, but why would I ask guidance from someone who doesn't even seem to master the techniques he's supposed to teach me, or worse, who preaches what he deliberately neglects?
I have come across several accounts of very renowned teachers/gurus who are fond of alcohol or much worse things. But as a dietician, overweight is something that catches my attention as it is very frequently the symptom of major emotional issues. Only in very rare cases can it be explained by hormonal, non-psychological disruptions.
Does this mean that one can enter the stream without even being liberated from attachment to food and resorting to binge-eating as an emotional coping mechanism? Or does it mean that many teachers, inclusing well-known ones, are not stream-enterers?

Thanks

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Kunga Lhadzom
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Kunga Lhadzom » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:57 am

Maybe after you become Enlightened you tend to enjoy life more, and let it all hang out ?

:shrug:
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lostitude
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by lostitude » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:06 am

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:Maybe after you become Enlightened you tend to enjoy life more, and let it all hang out ?

:shrug:
I can't really see how being fat, with all the problems that come with it, could make life more enjoyable to anyone... Most fat people wish they could get that weight off (and my guess is that these overweight gurus are no exception) but simply can't because of all the mental barriers and short-term cravings to which an enlightened being surely is immune...
Besides, this excuse could justify pretty much anything! from cupcake addiction to sexual abuse...
Last edited by lostitude on Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Reibeam
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Reibeam » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:08 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Do you really think your own vision is pure enough to judge a teacher based on a thing like this? You will never find a real teacher with these sorts of judgments and credential gathering.
Only in very rare cases can it be explained by hormonal, non-psychological disruptions.
For a dietician you have a pretty myopic view of behavior surrounding food, for instance, one's culture of origin and material circumstances have a lot to do with how one eats and whether/if one is obese. Do you also like to blame Native Americans for the fact that they all have diabetes now that they've been thrust into a western-style diet?

Seriously, not taking a spiritual teacher purely based on the fact that he's fat is..well, I don't even know, not a genuine approach, frankly.
:good: Johnny Dangerous

This point about Native Americans applies to almost every indigenous culture that has been exposed to a western diet (which on the mainstream is garbage) from the Inuit to the Aboriginal people of Australia.

You also forget about the direct correlation between Heath and wealth. While there are some fairly well to do lamas I doubt most of them are shopping at Whole Paycheck for their organic groceries (maybe Ole Nydhal). Many lamas came from extremely impoverished states (many from Chinese prisons) we can't even imagine the torture that they have gone through mentally, emotionally and not to mention metabolically.

On a more subtle level choosing a teacher based on their weight is a rather small view. If you take into account the guru is the nature of your own mind and a mirror of your own inner wisdom because of your own obscurations and karmic vision you perceive them as fat and unhealthy. We need to cut through these delusions to see our teacher for what they really are......a Buddha.

I have met many doctors and dietitians that are overweight and red faced as well as cops, teachers, firemen, priests and of course almost every great chef is portly. There is obviously more going on with these people than emotional binge eating.

Stick with studying Buddhism and use your judgement of people as a litmus test for the progress of your awakening.

With love

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:20 am

On a more subtle level choosing a teacher based on their weight is a rather small view. If you take into account the guru is the nature of your own mind and a mirror of your own inner wisdom because of your own obscurations and karmic vision you perceive them as fat and unhealthy. We need to cut through these delusions to see our teacher for what they really are......a Buddha.
Stick with studying Buddhism and use your judgement of people as a litmus test for the progress of your awakening.
Word.
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lostitude
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by lostitude » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:26 am

Do you really think your own vision is pure enough to judge a teacher based on a thing like this? You will never find a real teacher with these sorts of judgments and credential gathering.
And that's ok :smile:
For a dietician you have a pretty myopic view of behavior surrounding food, for instance, one's culture of origin and material circumstances have a lot to do with how one eats and whether/if one is obese. Do you also like to blame Native Americans for the fact that they all have diabetes now that they've been thrust into a western-style diet?
I don't think Native Americans who use moderation as a basic principle all suffer from diabetes, far from it... which is probably what should also distinguish a buddhist who supposedly has severed all ties with overindulging. I don't see how my remark then is so far-fetched and unreasonable.
Seriously, not taking a spiritual teacher purely based on the fact that he's fat is..well, I don't even know, not a genuine approach, frankly.
How about observing the way he eats, then? when do the hints become numerous enough to start wondering if there's something not quite right with someone claiming to be liberated?
I have met many doctors and dietitians that are overweight and red faced as well as cops, teachers, firemen, priests and of course almost every great chef is portly. There is obviously more going on with these people than emotional binge eating.
I beg to differ... you can't get fat if you don't eat more calories than you should, it's physically impossible barring very specific cases. But I guess that's another debate... And as a dietitian, I can't even count how many colleagues have become dietitians to solve their own eating issues by their own admission, and then with time try to get a more professional image saying they are a bit plump because they love food and don't see what's wrong with it. It's all in the mind and it's all about denial.

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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by seeker242 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:44 am

lostitude wrote:Hello,

Sorry if it sounds blunt, but I guess my question is obvious :)
I have seen quite a lot of pictures of buddhist monks. While many are quite thin, a fair number of them are surprisingly overweight.
To me this looks a bit contradictory with the notion of renouncing this world's deceiving lures...
I completely understand that no one is flawless, but why would I ask guidance from someone who doesn't even seem to master the techniques he's supposed to teach me, or worse, who preaches what he deliberately neglects?
I have come across several accounts of very renowned teachers/gurus who are fond of alcohol or much worse things. But as a dietician, overweight is something that catches my attention as it is very frequently the symptom of major emotional issues. Only in very rare cases can it be explained by hormonal, non-psychological disruptions.
Does this mean that one can enter the stream without even being liberated from attachment to food and resorting to binge-eating as an emotional coping mechanism? Or does it mean that many teachers, inclusing well-known ones, are not stream-enterers?

Thanks
From the Theravada perspective, a stream enterer or Sotapanna has only entered the stream to liberation, they aren't totally liberated yet. A stream enter has only cut the first 3 of the ten fetters. To be liberated, you have to cut all ten. But just because someone is not totally liberated, doesn't mean you can't learn from them. I also would not jump to the conclusion that someone is "binge-eating as an emotional coping mechanism" just because they are fat.

But obviously, if you don't think you can learn from someone, then there's no reason to ask them to teach you. That would be kinda pointless.

:anjali:

Here's an example of enlightened and fat! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budai
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:46 am

lostitude wrote: How about observing the way he eats, then? when do the hints become numerous enough to start wondering if there's something not quite right with someone claiming to be liberated?
A chunk of the stuff you've posted is about how teachers are probably illegitimate. If you want to study Buddhism, it is actually your problem how you see teachers..there is nothing they can do to change your vision of them, nor will they try. How you see others is up to you, and not anyone else's problem..that includes the conclusions you draw about people who are overweight. There is no checklist for realization IMO...

I beg to differ... you can't get fat if you don't eat more calories than you should, it's physically impossible barring very specific cases. But I guess that's another debate... And as a dietitian, I can't even count how many colleagues have become dietitians to solve their own eating issues by their own admission, and then with time try to get a more professional image saying they are a bit plump because they love food and don't see what's wrong with it. It's all in the mind and it's all about denial.

This is actually your problem in it's entirety, and your impediment, because it is obstructing the study of Buddhism with teacher(s). No answers about the importance or lack thereof of nutrition in Buddhism will help you out of that, because the problem is yours, own it.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

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lostitude
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by lostitude » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:48 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
On a more subtle level choosing a teacher based on their weight is a rather small view. If you take into account the guru is the nature of your own mind and a mirror of your own inner wisdom because of your own obscurations and karmic vision you perceive them as fat and unhealthy. We need to cut through these delusions to see our teacher for what they really are......a Buddha.
Stick with studying Buddhism and use your judgement of people as a litmus test for the progress of your awakening.
Word.
I don't have a guru, so can I assume that what you're describing applies to all human beings? in which case you're inviting me to accept that no one is fat or eats in an unhealthy way. This does not sound reasonable at all to me.

Regarding judgement, if it is forbidden, then how do you choose your guru? Aren't you supposed to observe him for a number of years before making your mind? and then, making your mind based on what, if not judgement?

In short, what you describe seems to fit an already established guru-student relationship (from the little I know about it), but definitely not the situation of someone looking for a guide. Unless I missed something, in which case I'd be grateful if you could point my mistake.

Thanks

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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:50 am

lostitude wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
On a more subtle level choosing a teacher based on their weight is a rather small view. If you take into account the guru is the nature of your own mind and a mirror of your own inner wisdom because of your own obscurations and karmic vision you perceive them as fat and unhealthy. We need to cut through these delusions to see our teacher for what they really are......a Buddha.
Stick with studying Buddhism and use your judgement of people as a litmus test for the progress of your awakening.
Word.
I don't have a guru, so can I assume that what you're describing applies to all human beings? in which case you're inviting me to accept that no one is fat or eats in an unhealthy way. This does not sound reasonable at all to me.

Regarding judgement, if it is forbidden, then how do you choose your guru? Aren't you supposed to observe him for a number of years before making your mind? and then, making your mind based on what, if not judgement?

In short, what you describe seems to fit an already established guru-student relationship (from the little I know about it), but definitely not the situation of someone looking for a guide. Unless I missed something, in which case I'd be grateful if you could point my mistake.

Thanks

Well you could start by not assuming enlightened qualities match up with your own subjective pre occupations - such as being the correct weight, just an idea. It's not forbidden by any means, everyone should examine their teachers before learning..but you seem to be examining them fully through the lens of your own neurotic attitudes about other people's weight. Not a very good starting place I don't think.

I know that all sounds blunt, but it seems like you want straight opinions, so trying not to sugarcoat it.
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Kunga Lhadzom
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Kunga Lhadzom » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:00 am

Lostitude,

What would you think, if a Buddhist teacher was repulsed by fat people, and only wanted students with perfect bodies ?
What if he insulted all the fattys that came to him and told them they couldn't attend any teachings until they lost weight ?

Do you think an Enlightened teacher would behave like that ?

Then, what should it matter what body-type a teacher has ?

Enlightenment has nothing to do with physical fitness. Only mental fitness.
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by smcj » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:04 am

I've got a Dharma buddy with bad eyesight. It's been an issue with him since the time I met him. He does tibetan eye chart exercises and tries any diet or supplement that might help his eyesight. Anyway one day we went to go see a lama teach. When the lama put on glasses to read from the text my buddy said, "He's not enlightened, he wears glasses!"

Whatever your idea of perfection is, is your samsaric obscuration. That is in no small part why actual perfection is unimaginable.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

lostitude
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by lostitude » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:07 am

A big chunk of the stuff you post is about how teachers are probably illegitimate.
Certainly not "teachers' in general. SOME, yes, definitely, and this is something I have learnt to watch out for, the hard way. Lucky you if you haven't had any bitter experience in that regard.
If you want to study Buddhism though, it is actually your problem how you see teachers..there is nothing they can do to change your vision of them, nor will they try.
Who is 'they'? Maybe I just don't want to study buddhism from someone who has cravings for food or who has trouble controlling his appetite. I'm sure I can also find good teachers who ACTUALLY apply moderation to their diet?
I really hope you are not actually educated as a dietitian, if you are, a lot was left out of your education on nutrition, frankly. Beyond that, your post oozes with a sense of superiority about your own relationship to food, in fact your post is more about that than it is about obese teachers, AFAICT.
Look who's judging :smile: Don't worry, so far you haven't stated anything regarding nutrition that I hadn't heard already so it would seem that I did attend that nutrition 101 class.
Regarding my relationship with food, it's a funny comment you're making because I really think it could be improved, never denied it and never will. I am not overweight but I definitely have cravings and my behavior is far from 100% healthy. And I was thinking that would be part of what I'd have to work on if I embarked on this path. But apparently not...
Again ironically, this is actually your problem in it's entirety, and your impediment, because it is obstructing the study of Buddhism with teacher(s). No answers about the importance or lack thereof of nutrition in Buddhism will help you out of that, because the problem is yours, own it.
But that's not even the point. I think I've raised an issue that clearly stirs strong negative emotions in you, and this makes your comments a lot less effective than usual. But thanks for trying anyways.
Well you could start by not assuming enlightened qualities match up with your own subjective pre occupations - such as being the correct weight, just an idea.
Too bad you didn't get my point - or rejected it because it goes against your own beliefs about nutrition. My whole point was not about 'being the correct weight', it's about the lack of moderation which leads to overweight. I could have chosen any other example (alcohol, sex, and the like). What would you have said then? That if when I meet my guru I find him drunk or making sexual advances to me, I should feel guilty about judging him?
So if my guru was actually a fraud, at what point would I wake up to that fact, if I followed this kind of advice?

Thanks
Last edited by lostitude on Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by smcj » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:13 am

I could have chosen any other example (alcohol, sex, and the like).
You've got a point. Seeing the 8 worldly dharmas actively in a teacher would dissuade me from studying with them.

However on the other hand you can't judge a book by it's cover. One of my teachers was an abbott of a monastery in Tibet, a very lofty position. He said one of his teachers was a dirty beggar that lived on the street with the dogs. There is no standard for how a teacher is to appear.
Last edited by smcj on Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:13 am

lostitude wrote: Regarding my relationship with food, it's a funny comment you're making because I really think it could be improved, never denied it and never will. I am not overweight but I definitely have cravings and my behavior is far from 100% healthy. And I was thinking that would be part of what I'd have to work on if I embarked on this path. But apparently not...
Depends on one's motivation really, doesn't it? If one is changing their eating to "get thin" in order to meet some pre concevied notion of being a bigger, better, more ideally- wieghted person, then yeah...Buddhism is unlikely to help with that, it isn't self-help in the normal western model at all. Poking your neuroses with more neuroses is what that sounds like. Could it help with a more healthy relationship with food..sure, i'll bet it could if that's your thing.
But that's not even the point. I think I've raised an issue that clearly stirs strong negative emotions in you, and this makes your comments a lot less effective than usual. But thanks for trying anyways.
Not really ,just calling it as I see it, it was an arrogantly phrased question and IMO you got pretty much the exact answers you could have expected.
Too bad you didn't get my point - or rejected it because it goes against your own beliefs about nutrition. My whole point was not about 'being the correct weight', it's about the lack of moderation which leads to overweight. I could have chosen any other example (alcohol, sex, and the like). What would you have said then? That if when I meet my guru I find him drunk or making sexual advances to me, I should feel guilty about judging him?
So if my guru was actually a fraud, at what point would I wake up to that fact, if I followed this kind of advice?
No, but being overweight is a far cry from abusing students, YOU are assigning primacy to someone's weight, and comparing it to abuse of students, not anyone else. And of course no, no one would recommend that anyone stay with an abusive teacher.
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Adder » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:14 am

Sorry, its counterproductive to spiritual training IMO, as it makes medication/diet (in an Eastern context) very difficult as fat accumulates substances and stores them, its called bioaccumulation. Makes it difficult to really get to know ones body and extend awareness and control through the finer parts of ones subconscious. So IMO it will limit the progress AFAIK much like starving will too - knowledge and sensitivity to ones body allows a better relationship to medication/diet and this allows one to have a deep connection with the subconscious. If you cannot help it due to medical reasons then there is not much you can do I gues,s but if its just bad diet and no exercise then you've no excuse
:spy:

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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by smcj » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:16 am

Dilgo Kyentse was overweight and one of the most revered tibetan masters of the late 20th century.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

lostitude
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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by lostitude » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:16 am

smcj wrote:
I could have chosen any other example (alcohol, sex, and the like).
However on the other hand you can't judge a book by it's cover. One of my teachers was an abbott of a monastery in Tibet, a very lofty position. He said one of his teachers was a dirty beggar that lived on the street with the dogs. There is no standard for how a teacher is to appear.
And what kind of mental attitude does living on the street with the dogs point to? Renunciation, total detachment? it sounds like it actually goes in the same direction as buddhist teachings. Unlike overeating.

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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Adder » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:19 am

Reibeam wrote:This point about Native Americans applies to almost every indigenous culture that has been exposed to a western diet (which on the mainstream is garbage) from the Inuit to the Aboriginal people of Australia.
It is also about availability of food, the body of the mother in a starving society will transfer epigenetic information to her sibling so it can better survive in that low food available condition - and if they suddenly find lots of food those adaptations will mean they'll get fatter faster then other people. So I'm not sure it's so much about indigenious people and western cultures, but rather starving cultures being exposed to normal food supply. If the quality of the food they eat is bad also, then that just makes it worse.

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Re: Enlightened yet fat

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:19 am

smcj wrote:Dilgo Kyentse was overweight and one of the most revered tibetan masters of the late 20th century.

Exactly, so basically, by this definition he simply was not the master that he was said to be, nearly universally revered...because he was fat. smh...

What about muscle tone, should we assume that teachers with less muscle tone are lazy?
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