All posts filed under: miscellaneous

Dry fasting and the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei

One of the most extreme forms of dry fasting concerns the practice of the so-called Marathon Monks (gyoja) of Mt. Hiei, Japan. According to tradition, aspiring Zen Buddhist monks can volunteer to undertake a seven-year challenge which involves completing 1000 marathon and double-marathon runs alone on the sacred mountains surrounding the city of Kyoto. As if this weren’t hard enough in itself, they also survive on a minimum of both sleep and calories. Through the rigours of their training and the thousands of hours spent running in solitude along forest paths, the Marathon Monks hope to find enlightenment. In typical Japanese fashion, failure is not an option. Each monk carries a symbolic rope and dagger with him at all times. If, for any reason, he is unable to complete one of his runs, suicide by either hanging or disembowelment is the only honourable option. Each year, training takes place in a 100- or 200-day season in which the monk must complete a rugged course varying between 30km and 84km. There are no rest days and …

Enjoy the gift of food!

I’ll keep this short and sweet :-). If you want to enjoy the gift of food, if you really want to appreciate the taste of every bite you eat, there’s nothing better than a water fast.  It’s only by taking away food for a while that you stop taking it for granted.  It’s only by taking away taste for a while that, afterwards, you can actually taste food for what it is: the most amazing sensory experience! That first glass of orange juice after a fast is the most fulfilling moment.  If, like most people, you’re addicted in some shape or form to food – whether sugar, caffeine, chocolate, salt or flavour enhancers – water fasting helps to put everything in perspective.  It’s a ‘reset button’ to how you experience food.  When you drink that first glass of orange juice, you taste it for what it is, uninfluenced by previous habits and addictions.  It is totally satisfying.  Period.  There’s no need, no desire for anything more.  For the first time, you can appreciate it for …

Telling friends and family about your fast (or not)

Whether or not to tell friends and family you’re fasting can often be a huge dilemma. Just this last week, several visitors to waterfasting.org have brought up the subject in some shape or form. It usually goes like this: “I can’t tell anyone I know that I’m fasting. They’ll think that I’m crazy…” Or something like this: “Yesterday my friend gave me some fruit and I didn’t say no, because otherwise I’d have to tell her that I’m fasting…” I can’t possibly give a simple answer about whether you should tell or not tell those around you about your fast, and I don’t believe that there’s a single ‘right’ answer for everyone. In discussing the two examples above, though, I hope you’ll be able to reach the right decision for yourself. Let’s take the first example. It’s true. People really do often think you’re crazy – I know plenty of people, for instance, who think that I’m crazy :-). Why? Because beyond the fact that I probably am a little crazy, fasting forces those around …