tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

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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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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:
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:49 am

It would be pretty tough. For example, I never realized how hard it must have been to meditate in the forests in India with all the mosquitoes and horseflies until I went to Wat Metta for 9 days and slept and meditated on a platform out in the avocado orchards without a tent. This is in California which is relatively bug free but they were crawling all over my eyelids and in my ears and I'd wake up with a bunch of bug bites on my face. Often my breath meditation would turn into a reluctant session of sending metta to the bugs in my ears (I wound up getting some repellant eventually though). So certainly you'd have to get used to alot of annoying little things as well as greater hardships. Currently the only almost ascetic type thing I'm doing is walking barefoot everywhere (accept when I go to class) to toughen up my feet and train them to where they're almost just like feet on people who've been barefoot all their life (and because having my feet directly connected to the ground feels kinda nice). This way if I become a bhikkhu in several years I won't have to wear sandals and if I don't ordain I'll have the pleasure of being part of the barefoot revolution. I don't have any problem living out of a tent or sleeping out in the open when the weather's decent but it's the little things like bugs all over my face that really get to me. As for being alone in the jungle or the forest, you'd want to have some good samadhi to pass the time and avoid temporary insanity.

"But, Master Gotama, it's not easy to endure isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration."

"Yes, brahman, so it is. It's not easy to endure isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration. Before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me as well: 'It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


But training to be used to these kinds of things is important if one really wants to be a bhikkhu and put all their effort towards realizing nibbana.

"I will tell you
as one who knows,
what is comfort
for one disaffected
resorting to a remote place,
desiring self-awakening
in line with the Dhamma.
An enlightened monk,
living circumscribed,
mindful,
shouldn't fear the five fears:
of horseflies, mosquitoes, snakes,
human contact, four-footed beings;
shouldn't be disturbed
by those following another's teaching
even on seeing their manifold
terrors;
should overcome still other
further dangers
as he seeks what is skillful.

Touched
by the touch
of discomforts, hunger,
he should endure cold
& inordinate heat.
He with no home,
in many ways touched by these things,
striving, should make firm his persistence.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


:namaste:
"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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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. :)
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

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

polarbuddha101 wrote:It would be pretty tough. For example, I never realized how hard it must have been to meditate in the forests in India with all the mosquitoes and horseflies until I went to Wat Metta for 9 days and slept and meditated on a platform out in the avocado orchards without a tent. This is in California which is relatively bug free but they were crawling all over my eyelids and in my ears and I'd wake up with a bunch of bug bites on my face. Often my breath meditation would turn into a reluctant session of sending metta to the bugs in my ears


Thanks for informing us about that. Ok, when I finally get to visit Wat Metta I am DEFINITELY bringing a mosquito net and some insect repellant!!! I generally have metta for my fellow creatures, but not so much that I'm gonna have 'em crawing in my ears. :shock:

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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.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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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.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

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

polarbuddha101 wrote:It would be pretty tough. For example, I never realized how hard it must have been to meditate in the forests in India with all the mosquitoes and horseflies until I went to Wat Metta for 9 days and slept and meditated on a platform out in the avocado orchards without a tent. This is in California which is relatively bug free but they were crawling all over my eyelids and in my ears and I'd wake up with a bunch of bug bites on my face. Often my breath meditation would turn into a reluctant session of sending metta to the bugs in my ears



You have my greatest respect.

:bow:
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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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."
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

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

polarbuddha101 wrote:It would be pretty tough. For example, I never realized how hard it must have been to meditate in the forests in India with all the mosquitoes and horseflies until I went to Wat Metta for 9 days and slept and meditated on a platform out in the avocado orchards without a tent. This is in California which is relatively bug free but they were crawling all over my eyelids and in my ears and I'd wake up with a bunch of bug bites on my face. Often my breath meditation would turn into a reluctant session of sending metta to the bugs in my ears (I wound up getting some repellant eventually though). So certainly you'd have to get used to alot of annoying little things as well as greater hardships. Currently the only almost ascetic type thing I'm doing is walking barefoot everywhere (accept when I go to class) to toughen up my feet and train them to where they're almost just like feet on people who've been barefoot all their life (and because having my feet directly connected to the ground feels kinda nice). This way if I become a bhikkhu in several years I won't have to wear sandals and if I don't ordain I'll have the pleasure of being part of the barefoot revolution. I don't have any problem living out of a tent or sleeping out in the open when the weather's decent but it's the little things like bugs all over my face that really get to me. As for being alone in the jungle or the forest, you'd want to have some good samadhi to pass the time and avoid temporary insanity.

"But, Master Gotama, it's not easy to endure isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration."

"Yes, brahman, so it is. It's not easy to endure isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration. Before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me as well: 'It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


But training to be used to these kinds of things is important if one really wants to be a bhikkhu and put all their effort towards realizing nibbana.

"I will tell you
as one who knows,
what is comfort
for one disaffected
resorting to a remote place,
desiring self-awakening
in line with the Dhamma.
An enlightened monk,
living circumscribed,
mindful,
shouldn't fear the five fears:
of horseflies, mosquitoes, snakes,
human contact, four-footed beings;
shouldn't be disturbed
by those following another's teaching
even on seeing their manifold
terrors;
should overcome still other
further dangers
as he seeks what is skillful.

Touched
by the touch
of discomforts, hunger,
he should endure cold
& inordinate heat.
He with no home,
in many ways touched by these things,
striving, should make firm his persistence.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


:namaste:



wow! the most i've done was an hour or two under a wasps nest with flies and ants pestering me. the wasps didn't bother me but were just a constant threat. they had built their nest in the pavilion i was meditating in and since Buddhists don't kill bugs, it was allowed to stay.

i don't imagine i could do what you did. although my theory is that if i pushed myself to do it, then a ton of aversion would fall away and i would grow in self discipline.
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

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

hi/alan

I/was/doing/some/reading
and/by/chance/i/came/across/this/little/sutta
then/i/recalled/your/*alone/in/the/woods*/topic
so/here/it/is:

§ 157. Imagine a great pool of water to which there comes a great bull elephant, seven or seven and a half cubits tall. The thought occurs to him, 'What if I were to plunge into this pool of water, to amuse myself by squirting water into my ears and along my back, and then to bathe & drink & come back out & go off as I please?' So he plunges into the pool of water, amuses himself by squirting water into his ears and along his back, and then bathes & drinks & comes back out & goes off as he pleases. Why is that? Because his large body finds a footing in the depth.

Now suppose a rabbit or a cat were to come along & think, 'What's the difference between me & a bull elephant? What if I were to plunge into this pool of water, to amuse myself by squirting water into my ears and along my back, and then to bathe & drink & come back out & go off as I please?' So he plunges rashly into the pool of water without reflecting, and of him it can be expected that he will either sink to the bottom or float away on the surface. Why is that? Because his small body doesn't find a footing in the depth.

In the same way, whoever says, 'Without having attained concentration, I will go live in solitude, in isolated wilderness places,' of him it can be expected that he will either sink to the bottom or float away on the surface.

— AN 10.99
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... assage-173


It/would/appear/that/according/to/this/sutta
we/need/some/decent/samadhi/to/manage/living/alone/in/the/wilds

kind/regards/ :anjali:
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

Postby polarbuddha101 » 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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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

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

polarbuddha101 wrote: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:


ur/most/welcome :anjali:

i/think/its/a/good/sign
my/memory/is/gradually/improving
getting/back/some/of/those/lost/brain/cells/maybe :P

anyway/regarding/someone/not/as/yet/ready
who/attempts/total/isolation/in/the/wilds
i/read/of/one/such/case
where/the/practitioners/intention/was/to/attain/enlightenment
but/instead,/he/went/insane
which/is/sad

so/yes/we/need/to/be/mentally/ready
which/is/why,/as/you/mentioned
one/is/first/under/a/preceptor

metta/
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

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

polarbuddha101 wrote:It would be pretty tough. For example, I never realized how hard it must have been to meditate in the forests in India with all the mosquitoes and horseflies until I went to Wat Metta for 9 days and slept and meditated on a platform out in the avocado orchards without a tent. This is in California which is relatively bug free but they were crawling all over my eyelids and in my ears and I'd wake up with a bunch of bug bites on my face. Often my breath meditation would turn into a reluctant session of sending metta to the bugs in my ears (I wound up getting some repellant eventually though). So certainly you'd have to get used to alot of annoying little things as well as greater hardships. Currently the only almost ascetic type thing I'm doing is walking barefoot everywhere (accept when I go to class) to toughen up my feet and train them to where they're almost just like feet on people who've been barefoot all their life (and because having my feet directly connected to the ground feels kinda nice). This way if I become a bhikkhu in several years I won't have to wear sandals and if I don't ordain I'll have the pleasure of being part of the barefoot revolution. I don't have any problem living out of a tent or sleeping out in the open when the weather's decent but it's the little things like bugs all over my face that really get to me. As for being alone in the jungle or the forest, you'd want to have some good samadhi to pass the time and avoid temporary insanity.


I wonder, could you meditate inside the building without many bugs being there?

Wow. You shattered some illusions I've had about meditating outside in hot climate.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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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:
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Re: tough as nails living alone in the woods type buddhists

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

mikenz66 wrote:One problem with assessing these hardships is to figure out what they would be like for someone who grew up in the actual environment.


That is good point. I guess people living their whole life in hot (as opposed to freezing cold) climate have developed some sort of tolerance.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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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...

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