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I noticed that for me, it is very difficult to cease certain behaviours, such as eating junk food for example. Does Buddhism suggest a benefit to delaying such behaviours to later in the day, as opposed to early on? Is there an inherent benefit in delay, or does it change nothing, given the behaviour will have occurred that day anyways?

Is delay a viable strategy for urges?

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    quitnow.ca/stay-quit/surviving-quit-day/… says, "Delay: Here is the big secret to beating cravings: they rarely last more than a few minutes" etc. (also, "Cravings and withdrawal are strongest during your first few days").
    – ChrisW
    May 26 at 6:03
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Delay is not a viable strategy.

Instead you should use a wholesome mental reflection, in the spirit of the following sutta quote:

“And for the sake of what benefit should a woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, often reflect thus: ‘I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do’? People engage in misconduct by body, speech, and mind. But when one often reflects upon this theme, such misconduct is either completely abandoned or diminished. It is for the sake of this benefit that a woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, should often reflect thus: ‘I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do.’
AN 5.57

There is a sutta quote about moderation in eating:

“When a man is always mindful,
knowing moderation in eating,
his discomfort diminishes,
and he ages slowly, taking care of his life.”
SN 3.13

Perhaps your mental reflection can be along the lines of reflecting on what long term suffering will be brought on by consumption of junk food. You will be the owner and heir to the consequences of this action.

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My friend,

What you're describing is the temporary suppression of sense desire, but if, during what you call the delay period, there is no kusala citta brought about by right concentration - or an inclination towards dharma discovery - then your efforts would be a waste of time. That is entirely the point; to quell the sensate noise such that you can realise ever more subtle parts of the mind; regions of mind that will spur you forward with curiosity, motivation and newfound discoveries, and may just blow your mind to smithereens only to leave behind a glorified, unmovable wisdom that no single person can claim!

The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is five-factored noble right concentration? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. This is the first development of the five-factored noble right concentration.

Samadhanga Sutta

Delay is a viable strategy, so long as you capitalize upon the delay time with concentration and a wholesome mind. I wish you well.

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Is there a point to delaying detrimental behaviours?

Delaying or suppressing unwholesome intentions/actions is not skillful or beneficial. It will only cause these phenomena to increase in size and intensity.

The Buddha's teaching is not meant to cause temporary release from suffering. It's meant to effect a lasting and permanent change, eventually leading to a total release from suffering.

Mindfulness meditation is the only way to go about this. Why is that? Unskillful behavior stems from Ignorance (Avijjā) in the mind. The only way to dispel Ignorance is to gain clarity of mind through mindfulness meditation practice. The more clarity of mind the easier it is to see how harmful unwholesome actions are.

When the mind sees that clearly again and again, it will gradually begin to let go. The more the mind lets go of unskillful behavior the more freedom, peace and happiness arises.

That's the only way to become free from suffering permanently.

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Of course it's beneficial..

Think about it a little, if you make peace with yourself resolng on moderation then you might just die or otherwise change before you ever do any bad thing.

It's a lot better than dying whilst doing the bad thing or to die having done the bad thing.

If you can moderate yourself it is to be praised and encouraged.

There is a canonical incident where a monk wanted to disrobe for a woman and was talked out of it as the Buddha promised him heavenly nymphs if he stayed in robes. This led up to the monk attaining Arahantship and The Buddha's promise with that being nulified, monk's name is Nanda.

Then the monks who were companions of Ven. Nanda went around addressing him as they would a hired hand & a person who had been bought: "Venerable Nanda, they say, has been hired. Venerable Nanda, they say, has been bought.[1] He's leading the holy life for the sake of nymphs. The Blessed One is his guarantor for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs."

Then Ven. Nanda — humiliated, ashamed, & disgusted that the monks who were his companions were addressing him as they would a hired hand & a person who had been bought — went to dwell alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute. He in no long time entered & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself right in the here-&-now. He knew, "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Nanda became another one of the arahants. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.3.02.than.html

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