“Theravada monks eat only one meal a day . . .”
That was how it started. A friend I’d known for several years (albeit only by phone) was coming to stay for five days. Of course I knew he was a Theravada Buddhist monk. It wasn’t the basis for our friendship, but I knew it. And so I couldn’t quite grasp the insistence of the woman speaking to me on the phone. “You know it,” she said. “But you don’t understand it. That means that he will eat three meals at one sitting—no kidding! So really pile it on.”
“For real?” I inquired. “What’s the use in that?”
“He can explain that for himself,” she answered, a bit peremptorily, I thought.
It was true. Although slim for his build, the bhikkhu could eat like nobody I’d ever seen. I come from the South, from the land of all-you-can-eat barbecue restaurants, and so I know what it looks like to watch someone tuck away half a cow at a single sitting. The bhikkhu left them in the dust.