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In my understanding, there are a few ways to follow the not-eating-after-noon precept. Here are what I know of:

  1. Two meals per day + juice/sugar water: breakfast and lunch, juice or sugar water for dinner.
  2. Two meals per day: breakfast and lunch, nothing but plain water after noon.
  3. One meal per day: lunch only. Plain water only before and after lunch.

I am a layperson working in an air-conditioned office. In my experience of method 1, I can do with normal amount of breakfast and lunch. But for method 2, sometimes I need more amount of lunch, say 1.5 times of a normal lunch. Never did try method 3.

I wish those who have experience can share their thought on the appropriate amount of food, and also the ways of following it. I believe Buddha had suggested to have moderate amount of food, but how much is considered as moderate?

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    as much as you need but not as much as you want. if nutrition is the concern perhaps you should study that subject. – Anatta34811 Jun 30 '14 at 6:50
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It will depend on the amount of physical work one does, but since you've said you work in an office, I would say one meal a day is enough for maintaining the body healthy if you have no digestive problems. I started having one normal-sized meal per day 2 years ago and I've had no problems. I'd recommend seeing what fits for you by making gradual adjustments.

Bear in mind that the following quotes are directed at monks but, depending on one's health & working conditions, laymen are also capable of following the advice:

“And how does a bhikkhu observe moderation in eating? Here, reflecting carefully, a bhikkhu consumes food neither for amusement nor for intoxication nor for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness, but only for the support and maintenance of this body, for avoiding harm, and for assisting the spiritual life, considering: ‘Thus I shall terminate the old feeling and not arouse a new feeling, and I shall be healthy and blameless and dwell at ease.’ It is in this way that a bhikkhu observes moderation in eating.
-AN 4.37, Non-decline (Aparihāniya-suttaṃ)


“Bhikkhus, I eat at a single session. By so doing, I am free from illness and affliction, and I enjoy lightness, strength, and a comfortable abiding. Come, bhikkhus, eat at a single session. By so doing, you too will be free from illness and affliction, and you will enjoy lightness, strength, and a comfortable abiding.”
-MN 65, To Bhaddāli (Bhaddāli-suttaṃ)


And how, bhikkhus, should the nutriment edible food be seen? Suppose a couple, husband and wife, had taken limited provisions and were traveling through a desert. They have with them their only son, dear and beloved. Then, in the middle of the desert, their limited provisions would be used up and exhausted, while the rest of the desert remains to be crossed. The husband and wife would think: ‘Our limited provisions have been used up and exhausted, while the rest of this desert remains to be crossed. Let us kill our only son, dear and beloved, and prepare dried and spiced meat. By eating our son’s flesh we can cross the rest of this desert. Let not all three of us perish!’

“Then, bhikkhus, the husband and wife would kill their only son, dear and beloved, prepare dried and spiced meat, and by eating their son’s flesh they would cross the rest of the desert. While they are eating their son’s flesh, they would beat their breasts and cry: ‘Where are you, our only son? Where are you, our only son?’

“What do you think, bhikkhus? Would they eat that food for amusement or for enjoyment or for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Wouldn’t they eat that food only for the sake of crossing the desert?”

“Yes, venerable sir.”

“It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that I say the nutriment edible food should be seen. When the nutriment edible food is fully understood, lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure is fully understood. When lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure is fully understood, there is no fetter bound by which a noble disciple might come back again to this world.
-SN 12.64, Son's Flesh (Puttamaṃsūpama-suttaṃ)

  • Ok, this son-eating story shocks me. – fxam Jun 28 '14 at 11:35
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    Do you drink fruit juice, sugar water or other kinds of drink before and after noon? – fxam Jun 28 '14 at 11:36
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    Indeed, the simile expresses very vividly how one should view & handle food. Yes, normal water & fruit-juice or soya milk when they are available. – Unrul3r Jun 28 '14 at 11:46
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    Canabalism and infanticide is okay as long as you have suitable detachment and equanimity? As much as I enjoy reading these crazy tales (zen has even more), it sure doesn't help the public opinion of buddhism as a whole. – MatthewMartin Jun 28 '14 at 14:18
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    I don't know where you got that idea from. If you read the discourse carefully, you would've understood that the point is not to condone cannibalism or infanticide but to show how to regard food. Why would you care about the "public opinion of buddhism"? But since you do care, what would portray "Buddhism" better than the Buddha's own words? If the Buddha's words aren't for your taste, disregard them. No one said you'd have to swallow them. Please be more considerate before commenting. May you be well. – Unrul3r Jun 28 '14 at 14:53

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