Author Topic: Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?  (Read 1056 times)

Offline mrbambocha

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Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?
« on: November 26, 2012, 06:12:24 am »
Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise since all the science show us how benifitial excercise is. (I dont count daily work as exercise, I mean something like yoga, or lifting weights/bodyweight)

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 09:25:15 am »
Again, I don't understand the question. All the monks & nuns I know, from Theravada/ Zen/ Vajrayana traditions, get more daily rigorous exercise than most lay people I know. The exercise looks different because the motivation is from a practical necessity (walking, daily prostrations, etc.) instead of vanity (pumping iron at a gym to build the perfect beach body.)

The Theravada monks I visit walk almost 8 miles a day, including some steep inclines. They also engage in some physically rigorous labor in a days work: chopping and hauling wood, building construction, raking and bagging leaves, etc. During the winter they do a lot of cross country skiing, and hiking in the summer. The Zen nun I visit is going to the gym for physical therapy following an injury, but also rides bikes and has physically demanding chores. Vajrayana monastics do all the above, plus an amazingly rigorous schedule of prostrations. Try 10 full-floor prostrations, my heart is pounding like crazy. Imagine doing 108 in a day, and that is on the low end of what is typical.

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 11:15:44 am »
For an alternative answer, check out this video:
Ask A Monk: Physical Exercise



Obviously, Ven. Noah does not speak for the entire monastic community. And despite his anti-exercise comments, he is very fit and walks a lot.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 11:27:23 am by Monkey Mind »

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 11:23:22 am »
On my bookshelf I've got a picture of HHDL on a stationary bike.
 :r4wheel:
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline sdjeff1

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Re: Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 11:47:23 am »
Even though he's the abbot at his monastery in Australia, Ajhan Brahm  joins in the manual labor at every possible opportunity when he's not traveling.

I've actually heard of several monks doing yoga to stay fit.

Also, Let's not forget that the  Ch'an monks in China started the Kung-Fu martial art system several hundred years ago and it was originally a way to stay fit.
It's easier to push the cart rather than thinking of pushing the cart.
-anonymous monk

To be normal is the ideal aim of the unsuccessful.
-CG Jung

Offline Lobster

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Re: Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 07:20:36 pm »
I was on retreat at a monastery. The abbot asked for any questions after the daily schedule was announced, one of the monks wanted to know where the bullworker was (an exercise machine). Many nuns and monks do work out. Lamas go for brisk walks, vajra monks get in trouble for skateboarding around the stupas.
And as has been mentioned, prostrations are a complete workout. The Buddha traditionally did a range of practices before enlightenment, some of which may well have included hatha yoga.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 08:44:22 pm »
There is some sort of rule about not attending sporting events or theatrical shows. I think that there is a prohibition against participating in competitive sports. But I don't know of anything that says you've got to be out of shape!
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Richard

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Re: Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 12:38:55 pm »
Largely what Monkey Mind said, with the addition that the Theravada Vinaya prohibits monks from building body weight on purpose.

I used to be a pro wrestler and self defence instructor and spent nearly six hours a day, five days a week in the gym. I am a lay follower but try to instigate as many of the monastic rules into my life as possible and I found stopping all three of the above activities has greatly improved my practice - a personal anecdote maybe but for me it worked.

Just as a quick add on I don't know any monk that doesn't partake in at least as much (if not more) daily excercise than many lay/non Buddhist people.
Buddham saranam gacchāmi . Dharmam saranam gacchāmi . Sangham saranam gacchāmi

Offline Lobster

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Re: Why doesnt monks and nuns exercise?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 11:17:44 pm »
Then we have the recently restored Shaolin Sangha, the Tendai Marathon monks and walking meditation . . .
Go Team Sangha . . . :anjali:

 


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