Sri Lanka prescribes safe menu for Buddhist monks

Published: Nov 29, 2012, 08:25 IST | Agencies |

Buddhist devotees in Sri Lanka, who traditionally give food to monks, will be given special menus in an attempt to stop the clergy becoming sick.

Reports suggest increasing numbers of Buddhist monks are contracting diet-related diseases such as diabetes because of fatty and sugary food.

According to the BBC, on some occasions monks are even given five-course meals.

Only healthy food, please: Sri Lankan Buddhist monks ask for alms in Colombo. The health ministry announced that only healthy food should be given to stop clergy from getting sick. representation Pic/AFP

Although most food given to monks is vegetarian, officials are worried that it is not always healthy, the report said.

“Because of their great affinity towards religious observances, most devotees offer food with high cholesterol content and the Buddhist monks have no choice but to partake of these foods all year round,” Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said.
“The situation is further aggravated because monks do not engage in recreational activities or exercises to shed their excessive weight,” he said.

According to the report, he said the new menu was being drawn up on the instructions of medical experts and nutritionists.

They advise the monks to eat more fruit, vegetables and rice, to drink more water and to cut down on wheat-based foods.
However, prominent Buddhist monk Maadulaawe Sobitha dismissed the government initiative.

“For thousands of years, the tradition was for the devotees to offer food for the clergy. It was up to the monks to decide what is appropriate to consume,” he said.

“We have to be satisfied with whatever is given to us. We are not supposed to demand anything,” he added.

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