tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
alan...
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tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby alan... » Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:25 am

is this possibly one of the best routes to go?

or to broaden it a bit perhaps any voluntarily very, very low standard of living type buddhist.

if you go this route you will suffer through a ton of hard ships from loneliness to sickness and be forced to deal with them head on. whereas every other scenario involves a lot of self deception about when progress is made or not. for example if you meditate on a peaceful day after a nice big meal, talking with friends and playing around on the internet, you will feel wonderful and think your practice is going great, when really it may be just that it's just good conditions and your practice is just okay. but if you live in squalor, alone in the woods or some other similar scenario, if you feel wonderful during meditation it's because you're doing it right! you will be sickly and dealing with a lot of problems, so if you're at peace, it's because you're getting good at the practice.

of course this is wild speculation. some support for this is that in the suttas we see ascetics of similar conditions of other sects rapidly gaining progress in the dhamma. one could likely assume that letting go of EVERYTHING in this way would be conducive to dhamma progress regardless of why or how it is done.

also the opposite could be said because someone who has put themselves in such a situation has nothing too lose. if someone like this thought they were doing great and maybe even an arahant, it's possible they could have overestimated and if you dropped them into a fast food job or something and gave them a bunch of bills they would freak out and wonder why the heck they thought they had made any progress at all!

thoughts?

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manas
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby manas » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:03 am

The thing is, monks that lived / live in that way have been 'trained up' first, under the guidance of a preceptor. If you or I tried it, we might not do so well. In my case, I'm not sure how I would go, if I were sitting in the Australian bush meditating, getting crawled on by flies, bitten by mosquitoes, and sometimes stung by bull ants (you have to experience this to know just how it feels. The closest analogy I can give is of a red hot needle getting inserted into the flesh). Living in a monastery where strict Vinaya is observed, and under a wise preceptor / Abbott, would be my preference. But yeah I do agree that, once one had the inner resources and had reached a certain level of understanding where one's faith was near unshakeable, that living alone in the forest could provide a wonderful opportunity to cultivate some pretty good samadhi.

metta :anjali:
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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polarbear101
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby polarbear101 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:49 am

"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

SarathW
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby SarathW » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:14 am

Hi Alan
I was born in Sri Lanka. Our backyard is a mountain range with thousands of caves used by monks for meditation about hundreds of years ago.
It is very close to Nissarana Vanaya.
Sometimes I want to go back there and continue with my meditation. Then I think how that make any difference to me than where I am now.
I do meditae in my house with locked doors and nobody bothers me.
When I have a question I get great answers from the friends in Dhammawheel. :thanks:

I am trying hard to follow the Noble Eightfold Path as a layperson.
One day may be I will have to go back to a cave in my hometown.

At this stage, If I can’t do it here, I do not think that I will do it somewhere else. :)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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manas
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby manas » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:17 am

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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BlackBird
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby BlackBird » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:45 am

I spent just over a month living in very basic living conditions in a forest monastery in Sri Lanka. My meditation was at times very good due to the high level of seclusion. In order to sustain oneself in such an environment, the meditation must be good. If it falters then one can quickly lose one's motivation to remain in such an environ.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

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m0rl0ck
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:18 pm

Dont worry about it. Individual humans give themselves all the trouble they can handle. Take advantage of what your present condition offers.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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m0rl0ck
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:21 pm

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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marc108
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby marc108 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:51 pm

i think 'best' is determined by personality and what works best for you. solitary life is good for some peoples practice, and i think for some it would be counter-productive.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

alan...
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby alan... » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:20 pm


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manas
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby manas » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:22 pm

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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polarbear101
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby polarbear101 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:26 am

Thanks for the sutta Manas, I guess this is another reason why newly ordained bhikkhus spend 5 years with a teacher before going off on their own, to develop samadhi.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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manas
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby manas » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:52 am

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Alex123
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby Alex123 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:01 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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mikenz66
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:21 pm

One problem with assessing these hardships is to figure out what they would be like for someone who grew up in the actual environment. Obviously, when I go from a temperate, relatively pest-free environment, into the tropics (or even to our West Coast, with copious sandflys and mosquitos) it's very difficult (not talking about meditation here - just living in the environment). A couple of weeks in such a place an it's not nearly so bad.

So, I suspect it depends on what you are used to. My partner (who is Thai) was bitten by sandflys when we stopped briefly in the mountains a couple of weeks ago on a trip to Nelson, and her hands swelled up like balloons. I had some minor itchiness. Conversely, the mosquitoes in central Thailand hardly bother her, but drive me crazy...

:anjali:
Mike

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Alex123
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby Alex123 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:42 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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mikenz66
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:50 pm

And, of course, the more affluent Asian people one usually meets have also become used to a relatively easier environment, with air conditioning, insect screens, etc...

And chairs. Many of my Thai friends grew up sitting on hard floors, and have no problem doing that for hours (as opposed to my Chinese friends...). I think it's a mistake to think that there is something spiritual about sitting on a floor. It's simply a matter of practicality and conditioning, and it is not easy for an adult who has always used a chair to catch up...

:anjali:
Mike


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