Stories of tudong and pindapata

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Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:04 pm

This thread is dedicated to stories of monks following the traditional practices of wandering (cārika) on tudong and collecting almsfood on pindapāta.

More stories collected into a book are at http://www.blisteredfeet-blissfulmind.net/

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:08 pm

What is it all about: Recollections of the Olympic tudong walk

On the first day, we walked from Chithurst Buddhist Monastery for pindapata in Midhurst. We received as food offerings: a loaf of bread, cheese and two glasses of pasta sauce which was supposed to be warmed up, but we ate it cold with the bread, sitting under a small roof by the church. Earlier that morning, the Olympic torch had been carried through the town, so we called it an "Olympic tudong walk" -- the Olympic games were about to start in London in 2 weeks' time. People and especially children were still walking around with small flags which were also hanging on shop windows.

It seemed like an auspicious beginning, although the weather forecast for the whole week was solid rain. We had rain ponchos and umbrella as a protection against rain, but the wind was blowing strongly and so our robes got wet from the knees down. Not only that, all the forest paths were also very muddy after several weeks of heavy rains in southern England. Even though the sun came out later on, it was not long enough for the wet ground to dry out. We had sandals and three pairs of socks, one of which we designated as "mud socks" and kept the rest for dry weather or going into towns. Fortunately, we spent the first night at a friend's house where we could dry our robes and wash our socks as well.

For two days we followed the South Downs Way, which is a walking trail that follows the hills a few kilometres off the coast. The hills are made of white chalk and are covered with old trees, especially yew and beech and oak. Then we came down towards the historic town of Arundel which has an old castle as the main attraction. From there we continued walking along the Arun river (strangely, this name sounds like the word for "sunrise" in Pali) and camped in our tents and sleeping bags in a nice forest near Worthing. The next day we were invited to have our meal (and a shower) at the house of another friend nearby. Then we followed the coast which was exciting in spite of the rain and strong wind blowing from the sea.

We found a hill on the map which was supposed to have some trees growing on it, so we walked up there looking for a place to camp for the night. But there were only hawthorn bushes growing there and cows and sheep grazing among them. Luckily we found a hollow space under one big bush where we could seek shelter from the wind and rain. Then we took off the wet robes and boiled some hot water on our gas stove to make a cup of tea. We carried some sugar and dark chocolate to refill our energy in the afternoons. On average we walked about 16 kilometres every day, but once we walked 22 km and felt rather exhausted in the evening. Some blisters started forming on our feet, but it was not so bad, we also had plasters with us. There were some big forest mosquitoes but we managed to avoid being bitten. However, I was bitten by a tick after walking through tall grass in an area where animals also roam. So we carefully checked especially our feet every evening before going to meditate and sleep.

Waking up in the morning on the hill, we packed our things and a beautiful view of the sea opened up as the rain stopped and the sun was shining. We spent some time meditating and then started walking down the hill towards the town. Some people came towards us, they were walking their dogs and were obviously surprised to see us. One woman called out to us: "What is it all about?" For a moment, my mind stopped because the question sounded like a Zen koan. What is it all about? What is the meaning of life? Perhaps I was on the verge of satori (enlightenment which transcends the conceptual mind). Then I realized that she just wanted to know a conventional answer, so I said that we are Buddhist monks doing a pilgrimage walk, which satisfied her and she walked off with her dog. We also walked further with our almsbowls.

People would normally recognize us as some kind of Buddhists and greeted us in a friendly way. As we walked in the sun along the beach past the harbour and towards Brighton, we could feel a different atmosphere of this seaside town which is known to be a very alternative scene. There are also several Buddhist groups there. The Brighton pier is a place of entertainment, as a sign written in big letters on the wall proclaimed: "I have great desire. My desire is great." But as we walked along the beach further, the clouds came back again and we reached the Marina where the white cliffs begin. At the bottom we saw some flowers which were left there, and when we climbed to the top we realized why: this was the favourite place for suicides to throw themselves over the edge of the cliff. Another sign said: "You are not alone. If you are finding life hard, it can help to talk to someone..." Heaven and hell can be found in the same place: we preferred to take the middle way.

After walking past the Royal Pavilion which was built in the 19th century as a copy of Oriental architecture in India, we rested in a cemetery sitting on a grave stone and overlooking the town below. A man greeted us and asked if we were meditating. It turned out that he had been a monk in Thailand more than 20 years ago and he invited us to have a cup of tea in his flat. We needed to return to the monastery the next day, and another friend drove us to Chichester in the evening where we joined the meeting of the Buddhist group discussing the best way to spend our time. Somehow we felt that the time on tudong was very fruitful and our experiences were useful in practising Dhamma.

The following morning we went to visit the Bishops Gardens at the cathedral and to collect pindapata food in the street with a farmers market. Different people approached us with a different attitude: One man from Sri Lanka was obviously inspired by monks collecting food in the traditional Buddhist way and offered us food and drinks, then invited us to accept a meal at his house on a later date because his wife was expecting a child. An English woman inquired what exactly we wanted to eat. She said that she was part of a Nichiren Buddhist group and doing regular chanting for world peace, and that seeing monks representing something spiritual on the street was very nice, that we were "the conscience of the town". Apparently she never wanted to ask any questions and just accept life at face value just as it is, but then she realized that sometimes it is necessary to ask, like in the case of monks collecting almsfood. She had assumed that we want uncooked rice or pasta that we will carry back to the monastery, but one monk explained to her that we don't cook for ourselves and only eat in the morning whatever food is offered to us. I told her that according to the Buddha, inquiring and asking questions leads to wisdom. Then another friend who used to be a monk in Thailand turned up with offerings of food and we ended up eating in his garden. From there we walked back to Chithurst via Kingley Vale, a wood of ancient yew trees, and over the common covered with flowering heather plants.


Photos:

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby James the Giant » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:49 pm

Thanks Bhante, that was nice. That degree of vulnerability and uncertainty (Not knowing if one will get any food that day, or where one will sleep that night) is a little scary to me, but also very interesting.
Thanks again.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:22 am

The Value of Pindapata

... It may take decades before people here in the West discover the meaning of pindapata as it is practised in the Theravada countries of South-East Asia, but it is an important aspect of Buddhist monasticism which should be kept alive. When Ajahn Chah came for a visit to England in the late 1970s, he commented on the fact that although some bhikkhus have already been living here for a number of years, they did not seem to have had much impact on the society. “They have left their bowls at home,” he said, and he encouraged the Western monks to continue this traditional practice of going on almsround, despite the fact that it was something unknown to the locals.

http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/blog/?p=9146
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:55 am

Some good stories from a modern (German) Maha-Kassapa:


Venerable Ñāṇavimala spent many years walking from one end of Sri Lanka to the other. He carried all his possessions with him. It wasn’t much, and the begging bowl isn’t that heavy, but if you carry it day after day always on one side, the right side (as is necessary because of the style of the Theravāda robe), then the spine can slowly bend to the opposite side – and that’s what happened to him. So walking became difficult, and he returned to Polgasduwa after many years of doing his cārika.

Once, I asked him if during these wanderings anyone has ever stolen anything from him. He thought hard and said with a smile: “Yes, once I arrived late in the town of Matara, and decided to sleep at the railway station. When I got up in the morning to leave, I realised that my bag had been opened. The thief had stolen the rope I would carry and spread between two trees to dry my robes after I wash them.” I am sure the thief must have been bitterly disappointed that the bag didn’t have anything better to take away but a single old rope.

On one cārika, the Venerable was walking through a forest, one of the bigger National parks, perhaps Yāla. “There were not many villages there,” he said, “and these villages were very poor. On top of that, I would arrive unannounced and so nobody would have any food to give me. Two days went without receiving any food, and on the third morning I was really hungry. But I was still deep inside the National Park and I didn’t expect that I’d receive any food from the villagers even if I encountered any.

Early that morning I arrived in a small village and as I was walking through it an elderly lady came from her house with a pot in her hands. She came towards me and made an añjali. Then as I opened my bowl, she put the food inside. The food she offered was of excellent quality, so I was quite surprised. It looked as if she knew that I was coming and she had the food prepared and was waiting for me. So after I chanted a blessing, I looked at her and against my custom of not engaging in conversation during piṇḍapāta, I asked her about it. She answered “Venerable Sir, last night as I was offering flowers and praying in front of my altar a devatā appeared to me. He told me to get up early tomorrow morning and prepare the best food. He said that a bhikkhu is on his way and will pass through our village and that I should offer it to him to get some merit. So when I saw you coming I was already prepared and very happy because I already knew that you will come.” I heard this from the Venerable’s own mouth, I don’t remember the reason he told me, but there isn’t any reason to doubt that it really happened.

On another occasion, the Venerable told me how he meditated in a certain cave as it was very hot outside. Again he entered into deep concentration (samādhi), and as he came out of samādhi, and started moving, he realized there was something heavy lying on top of his hands. It was a coiled snake that he didn’t even notice but that must have been lying there for some time. He quietly lowered it to the ground. The snake didn’t do him any harm.

Regarding animals, here is another story: While walking through a National park once he encountered a bear. He said: “When I raised my head the bear was just a few metres away from me. We were both taken by surprise, and the bear looked like it was getting ready to attack. I lowered my gaze and started radiating mettā towards him. The next thing I knew was that when I lifted my gaze he was nowhere to be seen.” Again, if these two stories came to me from some of Ñāṇavimala admirers I would doubt them. But I heard them from him directly, and he wasn’t a man who would make things up. It’s just that I spent considerable time with him during that year, and I asked him many questions, so on occasion he was in the mood to relate these stories.

http://records.photodharma.net/texts/ve ... yanavimala
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby reflection » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:00 pm

Thank you, Bhante!
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:38 pm

Its always happens that such posts and topics give rise to mudita as well it also gives rise to karuna.

Friends, beware that the forest is not eaten by enthusiasm and adventure thoughts, dreams and their effects before it comes to be a matter of realization what compassion, wisdom or the path is about.

I wish we will meet a lot of Bhikkhus in still existing forests in the future who will actually do it for the well being of them self's and of all other beings. May the world be not void of Arahants and "real" Bodhisatas. A little more void of stories would not be a real dramatic situation for many but maybe even good. Don't worry, the knowledge will not be lost - there are a lot of much possession - but the understanding might be gone.

Its maybe from benefit to provide the story of Kassapa:

Jinna Sutta: Old

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Sanctuary. Then Ven. Maha Kassapa went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there the Blessed One said to him, "You are now old, Kassapa. Your robes made of cast-off hemp rags are heavy for you. So wear robes donated by householders, eat invitational meals, and live close by me."

"Lord, for a long time I have lived in the wilderness and have extolled living in the wilderness. I have been an almsgoer and have extolled being an almsgoer. I have worn cast off rags and have extolled wearing cast off rags. I have worn only one set of the triple robe and have extolled wearing only one set of the triple robe. I have been modest and have extolled being modest. I have been content and have extolled being content. I have been reclusive and have extolled being reclusive. I have been unentangled and have extolled being unentangled. I have kept my persistence aroused and have extolled having persistence aroused."

"But, Kassapa, what compelling reason do you see that you for a long time have lived in the wilderness and have extolled living in the wilderness... that you have kept your persistence aroused and have extolled having persistence aroused?"

"Lord, I see two compelling reasons that for a long time I have lived in the wilderness and have extolled living in the wilderness... that I have kept my persistence aroused and have extolled having persistence aroused: seeing a pleasant abiding for myself in the here & now, and feeling sympathy for later generations: 'Perhaps later generations will take it as an example: "It seems that the disciples of the Awakened One and those who awakened after him lived for a long time in the wilderness and extolled living in the wilderness; were almsgoers and extolled being almsgoers; wore cast off rags and extolled wearing cast off rags; wore only one set of the triple robe and extolled wearing only one set of the triple robe; were modest and extolled being modest; were content and extolled being content; were reclusive and extolled being reclusive; were unentangled and extolled being unentangled; kept their persistence aroused and extolled having persistence aroused."'"

"Good, Kassapa. Very good. It seems that you are one who practices for the happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, benefit, & happiness of beings human & divine. So continue wearing your robes of cast off hemp cloth, go for alms, and live in the wilderness."


May you see and find the right way to liberation by your, may your saddha be stronger as your fear, may your attachments be no winner over your wisdom, may no other seek be stronger as the seek for liberation of your self and a help for all.

Wish to see you on that save path. The path where all the stuff of today has no use and is even the broken attached spare wheel on a way that needs to be just walked.

ayu sukkha vanna balam panna
_()_
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Ytrog » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:32 pm

Very inspiring stories :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:05 am

Hay fever story and George Harrison

In the morning after 8 am we started walking towards the town with our almsbowls. I took an antihistamine tablet because during this month there is a lot of grass pollen in the air and I have an allergy. Soon I started sneezing and my nose was running and my eyes were itchy. But we continued walking along the roads through the forest. To avoid going across the fields, we tried another path which went past some rich people's properties with fences around them. From the map it seemed that we could reach another footpath on the other side of the forest, but we got stuck and had to return and then find another way around, which took us quite a long time. In the end, we reached the town and stood in front of the supermarket just after 12 o'clock, with hardly any rest on the way. I was feeling rather dizzy from the hay fever allergy and also tired from the long walk.
We did not have much time left to collect some food, and for the first 15 minutes nobody seemed to notice us. Only one drunk man smoking a hand-rolled cigarette came up to us, greeted us and asked if we are Buddhists. Then he came back later, smiled and said: "George Harrison." He repeated: "George... George. It makes life worth living." I smiled back and said: "Yes, George Harrison. Good music." He must have remembered that the Beatles had experimented with Eastern meditation and went to India to meet some yogis. Then he said to us: "Don't drink. I say this to my nephew, I say this to everybody, drinking is bad for you. But I myself can't stop drinking... Remember: George." And he shook his head and walked away.
Standing there and feeling rather unwell, I was leaning against a tree. I closed my eyes, focused on my breath and repeated in my mind the four qualities "metta, karuna, mudita, upekkha". This is always a good way to prepare the mind for meeting other people in the town. Then a woman came out from the supermarket with a shopping cart, and started walking towards us. She took some money out and wanted to put it into my bowl, but I explained that we only accept food. So she took some uncooked vegetable and offered it to us. I did not say anything, although we could not eat it raw like that. Then she came back again and brought some more cheese and biscuits for us. After that, another three people offered us apples and bananas so that our bowls were full.
We only had about 20 minutes left to eat our food before 1 pm (which is midday according to summer time). Then a man came up to us, greeted us in a Buddhist way and asked if we came from the monastery. He was surprised that we walked so far in the morning, and after we explained our situation, he quickly went to buy some more sandwiches and drinks. Then took us to the lake to eat there, which we just managed before 1 pm. He explained that today it was his birthday, and so he wanted to go to the Buddhist monastery to sit in peace for a few hours with his wife. They were very happy to meet two monks on the way and drive them back. We were also happy that we did not have to walk all the way back...
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby yawares » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:33 am

Dear Bhante Gavesako,

I really like this story....I think all monks should go pindapata...there are so many nice/kind people who would love to give food to monks and get good merits.
yom yawares :anjali:
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby yawares » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:54 pm

James the Giant wrote:Thanks Bhante, that was nice. That degree of vulnerability and uncertainty (Not knowing if one will get any food that day, or where one will sleep that night) is a little scary to me, but also very interesting.
Thanks again.

Dear "James the Giant",
I agreed with you 100%. That's why I truly admire monks who have so much SADDHA in Buddhas enough to follow Buddhas' teaching/vinaya........about PINDAPATA:

On invitation of Suddhodana, when the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu and stayed in Nigrodha Arama; he went on his usual rounds for alms-food, When this news was reported to the king that his son was taking alms-food in the streets of his kingdom he was terribly upset. When he met and sought an explanation from the Buddha and when the Buddha told him that there was nothing unusual for a Buddha to take alms-food from people he was satisfied with the answer. His satisfaction made him a Sotapanna (�Stream Enterer�; to be born in the world for the maximum of seven times).

But people who also love/saddha the Buddhas so much can be upasakas/upasikas who supports the Buddhas and their disciples and follow Buddhas' dhamma in everyday-life.

:heart: Love Buddhas,
upasika yawares :heart:
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Sokehi » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:59 pm

thank you dear bhante for sharing. really inspiring!
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby yawares » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:20 pm

[quote="gavesako"]Hay fever story and George Harrison
"Soon I started sneezing and my nose was running and my eyes were itchy. But we continued walking along the roads through the forest. To avoid going across the fields, we tried another path which went past some rich people's properties with fences around them. From the map it seemed that we could reach another footpath on the other side of the forest, but we got stuck and had to return and then find another way around, which took us quite a long time. In the end, we reached the town and stood in front of the supermarket just after 12 o'clock, with hardly any rest on the way. I was feeling rather dizzy from the hay fever allergy and also tired from the long walk. "
Dear Bhante,
How are you doing today...feeling better? Please tell us what monks do during RAIN RETREAT at your temple..please please.
yom yawares :anjali:
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:03 am

The pollen allergy is now over. During the Vassa rains retreat, we are focusing more on study of Dhamma-Vinaya and meditation practice.
I have another old story to share:

Collecting food - gathering goodness before Christmas

Today on the 23rd December, just before Christmas, the weather was quite mild although earlier we had frost and ice in the mornings, but no snow yet this year. So we decided with another monk to do something special on this day: go into the town on pindapat to give a chance to the people who are busy with their shopping to see the robes of Buddhist samanas (peaceful ones). It was raining a bit (typical English drizzle) and only 10 degrees Celsius, but people gave us enough food within 20 minutes and we just had to find a place to eat it. Some of the older women were concerned about us and wanted to offer us something special. One of them was really funny: she bought us some ready-to-eat food in a plastic container, but she thought that we might not have a spoon to eat it with, so she went into the cafe and simply took a couple of metal spoons from there and gave them to us! She promised that she will return them next time she visits the cafe, so we did not have to worry about eating with stolen spoons...

English people are quite shy sometimes and just put something in your bowl and walk away quickly -- they don't want to be seen as being "good". (They are not used to silanussati or caganussati, reflecting on one's own goodness, and tend to look down on themselves.)

We were shaking with the cold while sitting on a park bench and eating our sandwiches, peanuts, apples, tangerines and biscuits -- good training for tudong. Walking there and back (it is 2 hours from the monastery) kept us warm and we had a good impression from our meeting with the people in town. English people can be quite friendly and helpful and they like Buddhist monks generally.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby yawares » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:12 pm

gavesako wrote:The pollen allergy is now over. During the Vassa rains retreat, we are focusing more on study of Dhamma-Vinaya and meditation practice.
I have another old story to share:

Collecting food - gathering goodness before Christmas

English people can be quite friendly and helpful and they like Buddhist monks generally.

Dear Bhante,
Love love the story!! I wish someday more and more Thai monks/European monks/U.S.monks will go pindapata in towns/around residential places etc so people can have chances to do good merits to monks of the Buddhas!

Oh why not?? I saw people gave foods/drinks to homeless people all the time. I did this many times in Houston, always homeless people hang around near the HONGKONG MALL where we often go there to buy Thai groceries/desserts. We gave these hungry people Thai food/dessert/money...in winter we can give them sweaters/socks. Some people even asked us for gas money(for their cars, said they lost their wallets, just want $3 to get enough gas to drive home...yes, we gave them).

And please tell your monk-friend whose sandals fell apart while going pindapata...to ask for a new pair of sandals/tudong shoe that he needs.....Because of your story..I/Tep/Sirikanya had inspiration to give sandals/tudong shoes to all your monk-friends.
THANKS TO YOU,
yawares
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:05 pm

Some monks still prefer to walk without sandals simply going barefoot, but as you can read in the following article by an American monk, it is not always very easy and if the surfaces are rough, one can injure one's feet if the skin is not used to it (that is why the Buddha allowed to use sandals in such circumstances):

http://thebahiyablog.blogspot.co.uk/201 ... trips.html

Barefoot Trips


I remember when I was a boy my father told me that the natives in places like Africa go around barefoot so much that the soles of their feet are as tough as shoe leather. So, when I started going mostly barefoot more than twenty years ago I figured that would happen to me too, but it didn't. My feet are still relatively tender. I suppose from the scientific point of view it's a genetic thing---my ancestors wore shoes for so long that the potential for shoe-leather feet isn't there anymore. On the other hand, I am able to walk around barefoot much more easily now, just about anywhere. This is because I've learned how to walk barefoot carefully. I would guess that just about everyone has latent barefoot instincts that gradually become activated when one goes without shoes long enough. One of the great advantages of going barefoot is that it requires one to walk more mindfully. Walking itself becomes more of a meditation.
One of the main reasons why I go barefoot is that there is a rule of monastic discipline which says a monk is not allowed to wear shoes in public (sandals actually---other kinds of shoes are always forbidden), unless he has a health problem which requires it, like an injury on the sole of the foot, or perhaps a path strewn with thorns or broken glass before him. Even so, most monks disregard the rule and wear sandals anyway. Often I would hear people in Burma saying things like, "The foreign monk isn't wearing shoes!" as though it were something really remarkable, like a special ascetic practice. ...
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:10 pm

The broken sandal and metaphysical discussion about God

Today I walked on pindapata to the town of Liphook. It is a good two-hour walk through the countryside with many big oak trees along the road. We got enough food from just three people. I went with another monk and his sandal broke on the way, so he walked barefoot on the way back until we reached the golf club. Then a car stopped and the man inside offered to give us a lift to Chithurst. (I almost thought: This is like a devata coming to rescue, a 'gift from above'.) The driver who was in his 60s asked how long we have been Buddhist monks, and then he inquired whether we have ever been evangelized before. We started talking about Christianity and he said that the Roman Catholic church is not really Christianity proper. Instead, he said, he belongs to Jesus Christ himself. Then he asked us about the Buddha statues and decorated temples in Buddhism, and I explained to him that some people are more faith-oriented and need such external symbols to focus on, but others have a more analytical character and like to question and examine things. He said that he believes that the Bible is the Word of God that was written down exactly as he wanted it, so we have the true guidelines in there. Then he talked about the creation of the world and how the will of God is behind it all, and how totally logical it all is, if only we can open up to God and accept him. He mentioned the words "good and evil" and also "sin" which is acting against God's will. So I explained to him how we understand these concepts in Buddhism: it all depends on our intention, for example to harm somebody, and then if we follow that intention and act on it, we create some bad actions in the world which will also bring bad results. We do not speculate about the origin of evil, who brought sin into the world, or anything else that lies beyond our direct experience. We also do not rely on second-hand knowledge, such as dogmas in religious books. He said that it was God who created the world but because something "went wrong" with one of his creations, or Satan, he then brought sin into the world and he is -- with his devils -- behind every sin that happens in the world. I said that this whole scenario seems a bit hard to believe to me. Why would God create an imperfect world and put us in it together with sin, so that he can later send his son Jesus to rescue us? And when they define "sin" or "evil" simply as acting against God's will, without any reference to the quality of our intention, we come up against ethical problems soon: For example, according to the Old Testament, God told Abraham to take his young son Isaac and kill him as a sacrifice, just as they normally kill sheep. So his intention at that moment was to commit an evil act, to kill his son, in order to obey God's will. But at the last moment, God told him to stop, because he was just testing his faith in him. Well, that seems a pretty dodgy way to define good and evil to me. But the driver said that in this case, there was no sin involved at all, it was just a test of faith. Then he expressed his belief that God appears as a "light" or reveals himself to every human being sometime in their life. And it would be sin to refuse to accept him. I asked him whether we can really choose to do it, because the Christians also believe that it is due to God's grace that people can have faith in him. So, logically, I don't have a free will to decide that I want to believe in God, it must be granted through his grace. But again the driver said that the Christian Bible is completely logical and superior to other religious texts. We ended the long discussion in the monastery car park and I said that it must surely be God's will that he saw us today and gave us a lift to the monastery. He obviously felt satisfied with his evangelical efforts, and I remembered the scene from the film "Buddha Comes to Sussex" where Ajahn Chah and the Western monks are having a "metaphysical discussion with the local vicar" at a nearby church.


See: http://www.ethannonsequitur.com/jesus-t ... ow-me.html :rofl:

Follow Jesus on Twitter - or what it would have been like :-)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-hW680pCLs
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Hanzze » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:27 am

gavesako wrote:Some monks still prefer to walk without sandals simply going barefoot, but as you can read in the following article by an American monk, it is not always very easy and if the surfaces are rough, one can injure one's feet if the skin is not used to it (that is why the Buddha allowed to use sandals in such circumstances):

Oh, really? I thought such ways or places are more a matter to train one self in regarding "fermentations to be abandoned by avoiding" or is there a reason to walk such ways, how did it come that it happes that way?
And the "pain" on a rough surface more a matter of "fermentations to be abandoned by tolerating?"

Of cause most South Asian Monks are used to argue that the streets are dirty and full of danger for the feets... and of cause you will be seen as a stranger just walking and even without shoes/sandals...

If one is not used to it, it always possible to begin. Its a real good training to be a little more mindful as the kamma here ripes very fast and cause and effects are easy be seen.

I just remeber a great situation of Dana and shoes I had two years ago.
Once I was walking back from a 15 km far monastery to our house and on that way I had to cross the outlets of the city Phnom Penh, it's factory districts with all it's poorness, dirt and attachment to sensual pleasure. Even it is a very urban area there a many cows, and they already changed their diat from grass to the wast with is usally thrown to to next free place. While walking I abserved those famished cows as two wast collecting boys crossed the persective over the dirt place between the houses, playing children, seller and people running after their business. As they saw me with great eyes the suddenly started to wisper with each other. A little shy but with eyes of deep compassion one of the boys approached me, took of his old plastic flipflops lifting them in my direction and said: "Why you do no not weare shoes, its dirty and dangerous? Please take my shoes and don't worry, I will for sure find new very soon."

It's really not normal that people (not to think of his young age and his normal "struggle" in his livelihood) that people have such a pure intention and give even the last they have. Such occations are such a gift, for both. Undergo/seeing/hearing such meritiouse acts of people gives so sustainable rise to mudita.

After some words from heart to heart and a short argumentation that the shoes would maybe not that much to small but really much more needed in the dirt of the dump we walked on our ways.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby appicchato » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:12 pm

The Buddha went barefoot...(I) wouldn't dream of any other way...
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby yawares » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:22 pm

appicchato wrote:The Buddha went barefoot...(I) wouldn't dream of any other way...

Dear "appicchato",
Please give me 1 or 2 stories that the Buddha went barefoot!! :thinking:

Curious mind?
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