Oily food anyone? Pa-Auk Foreigners are prepared special foreigner food because the local food often…

Oily food anyone?
Pa-Auk Foreigners are prepared special foreigner food because the local food often looks like this. However, unknown to most foreigners, the local monks do not get much curry with their full scoop of rice. The curried oil is often used to flavor the rice ("meal" and "rice" are the same words in parts of Asia). It is similar to flavoring popcorn with butter. However, the Western eating style is to eat the curry as the meal and then the rice, often eaten separately. This is equivalent to eating a spoonful of butter and then a small amount of popcorn…many foreigners have digestive problems, and often for this reason.

Programmers usually call this an "operator error," which is difficult to solve in software. That is why software programs have menu items and buttons that are grey when they are not logically available.

In the Pa-Auk olden days, these big local curry pots were covered and unavailable to foreigners as they went through the line. Literally, the local curry menu items were greyed out. That is why the foreigners get their food first, ahead of the senior local monks. However, these days, the local curries are available because the foreigners complained that they wanted to try to local food. Because of this, they take twice the amount of curries and take half the amount of rice as a local person. This is often a recipe for disaster!

Training Rule #29:
"I will receive almsfood with bean curry in proper proportion: a training to be observed."
According to the Ancient Commentary, "proper proportion" means no more than one-quarter of the total food.



Article by Bhikkhu Subhuti

Bhikkhu Subhuti is an American Buddhist Monk with roots in both Sri Lanka and Myanmar Forest Traditions. He currently resides in Myanmar but his heart sometimes floats back to Kauai, HI where he spent six months in 2015.