The 6th Precept

What is literally the meaning of ’ vikālabhojana? What is the actual meaning of the word vikāla and bhojana? In the 6th precept I doesn’t see the word of 6 and 12, then why it is said we should take breakfast after 6 and should take lunch before 12 noon.

I personally would use

  1. the moslem dawn-prayer notice as the notification that it is already morning and we are eligible to start to eat, and
  2. the noon-prayer notice as the notification that it is already noon and we have to stop eating.

The monk’s guide is from dawn to solar noon. Dawn being when the sky got colour from the sun, or that one can see the hands when extended (using dawn light).

Depending on location, time zone etc, solar noon is not 12pm, one can download apps like solar time, solar noon, dawn time etc, which uses GPS and calendar to calculate and tell you when is the solar noon time.

vikālabhojana : [nt.] taking food in the afternoon and night.

vikāla (m.), the wrong time; afternoon and the night.

bhojana : [nt.] food; meal.

kāla (m.), time.

Definition of wrong time should be within the vinaya rules for monks. (Still haven’t read till there, but I recall some stories about the Buddha first banning midday meals, then evening meals, then allow the almsfood for the day to be eaten not in one go, as long as within the dawn to solar noon time.)


Oh in that case, can I say that I’m correct Bhante @NgXinZhao ?
I am not downloading any apps but instead I use a traditional marker from a nearby mosque to start my day.

1 Like

The Salah timings are based on the sun too, so you likely won’t go wrong :wink:

1 Like

I am not familiar with the Islamic system of counting dawn or noon or which time is their prayer time, despite living in malaysia. Typically, I think their earliest call is way before dawn.

I suggest you either don’t be too attached to follow the rule exactly if you’re not formally taking 8 precepts everyday (example, surprise birthday dinner celebration your family may throw for you), however, if you’re serious, do research the exact timing of the prayers too, or just use the apps. It’s relatively easy to determine dawn, solar noon is the more serious matter. If in doubt about dawn, wait until sunrise, then it’s totally safe.

Having now glanced at wikipedia on the 5 prayers, it’s clear from there that there prayer timing is a range of values for each prayers, not fixed to the minute. As well as from experience, I heard calls for prayers in Malaysia way before dawn, like at 4 or 5 am. Do note that Malaysia is near equator, and we adopt the east Malaysia time, so for west Malaysia, the sun typically rises at 7am not 6am. Correspondingly, solar noon is typically 1pm-1:30pm, depending on the month and location.

In particular, the afternoon prayer is from solar noon to the next prayer (which is the middle between solar noon and sunset). So my guess is that it’s only standardised country by country. And each standard may not stick to our Buddhist method of determining the right timing.