Buddha's sleep duration

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Buddha's sleep duration

Postby Stephen K » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:22 pm

I remember reading somewhere that the Buddha slept for just one hour per night. Where in the suttas or the commentaries is that stated?
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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby cooran » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:02 pm

Hello Stefan,

23. The Buddha's daily routine was a very full one. He would sleep at night for only one hour, wake up and spend the early morning in meditation, often doing loving-kindness meditation. At dawn he would often walk up and down for exercise and later talk to people who came to visit him. Just before noon, he would take his robe and bowl and go into the nearest city, town or village to beg for alms. He would stand silently at each door and gratefully receive in his bowl whatever food people cared to offer. When he got enough, he would return to the place he was staying at or perhaps go to a nearby woodland area to eat. He used to eat only once a day. After he had become famous, he would often be invited to people's homes for a meal and, being an honoured guest, he would be given sumptuous food, something other ascetics criticised him for. On such occasions he would eat, wash his own hands and bowl after the meal and then give a short Dharma talk. Straight after his meal he would usually lie down to rest or sometimes to have a short sleep. As at night, it was the Buddha's habit to lie in the lion posture (sihasana) on his right side, with one hand under his head and the feet placed on each other. In the afternoon he would talk to people who had come to see him, give instruction to monks or, where appropriate, go to visit people in order to talk to them about the Dharma. Late at night when everyone was asleep, the Buddha would sit in silence and sometimes devas would appear and ask him questions. Like other monks, the Buddha would usually wander from place to place for nine months of the year, which gave him many opportunities to meet people, and then settle down for the three months of the rainy season (vassa). During the rains he would usually stay in one of the huts (kuti) that had been built for him at various locations like the Vultures Peak, the Jetavana or the Bamboo Grove. Ananda would tell visitors approaching the Buddha's abode to cough or knock and that the Buddha would open the door. Sometimes the Buddha would instruct Ananda not to let people disturb him. We read of one man who, on being told that the Buddha did not wish to see anyone, sat down in front of the Buddha's residence saying: "I am not going until I see him." When he was wandering the Buddha would sleep anywhere - under a tree, in a roadside rest house, in a potter's shed. Once Hatthaka saw the Buddha sleeping out in the open and asked him: "Are you happy?" The Buddha answered that he was. Then Hatthaka said: "But sir, the winter nights are cold, the dark half of the moon is the time of frost. The ground has been trampled hard by the hooves of the cattle, the carpet of fallen leaves is thin, there are few leaves on the trees, your yellow robes are thin and the wind is cold." The Buddha reaffirmed that despite his simple and austere lifestyle he was still happy.[ N13 ]
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... ples05.htm

Not sure of where it links with suttas or commentaries.

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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:21 pm

I believe it comes from Sayadaw Reweta Dhamma, but it is speculative, not based on any direct sutta or commentary reference but inferred based on what was worked out from these sources.
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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:37 am

Here is a good article about the "human-ness" of the Buddha:

http://buddhismatoz.com/h/HabitsAndRoutine.html

We have no information about how long the Buddha slept for but the Tipiṭaka mentions that he would often meditate all through the night (A.III,299).
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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby Kenshou » Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:57 am

David's link wrote:In traditional Buddhist countries it was widely believed that the Buddha was 5.4 meters tall and that he did not walk but flew from one place to another;


!?

A flying man twice as tall as the tallest man ever sounds downright terrifying.
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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:27 am

Stefan wrote:I remember reading somewhere that the Buddha slept for just one hour per night. Where in the suttas or the commentaries is that stated?


From a pretty reliable source, though without citation: Narada Thera, The Buddha and His Teachings


...
After the noon meal .... If He so desires, He lies on His right side and sleeps for a while with mindfulness.
...
...
During the second part, that is from 3 to 4 a.m. He mindfully sleeps on His right side.
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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby Freawaru » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:28 am

...
After the noon meal .... If He so desires, He lies on His right side and sleeps for a while with mindfulness.
...
...
During the second part, that is from 3 to 4 a.m. He mindfully sleeps on His right side.[/i]


There are people who only need three to four hours of sleep naturally. They have a different sleep pattern: prolonged deep sleep and very few dreams. It wouldn't surprise me if the Buddha had perfected this to about one hour deep sleep. Also, I am not sure how much contact with devas and other spiritual beings can be considered sleep, after all one feels awake in the mind made realms even though the physical body is resting like during dream. Does anybody know whether this state counts as sleep or wake?
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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby bodom » Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:51 pm

There is a sutta I believe in the first book of the Samyutta Nikaya where a deva (or is it mara?) rebukes the Buddha for having overslept. This was apparently after the Buddha had spent all night in walking meditation. Hopefully someone knows the source. Ill have to do some digging around.

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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby cooran » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:43 pm

Hello bodom,

SN 4.7(7) Sleep
SN 4.13(3) The Splinter
SN 9(2) Rousing

with metta
Chris
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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby bodom » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:36 pm

cooran wrote:Hello bodom,

SN 4.7(7) Sleep
SN 4.13(3) The Splinter
SN 9(2) Rousing

with metta
Chris


Thank you Chris!

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddha's sleep duration

Postby Sylvester » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:50 am

A source for the Buddha's daily routine is the Digha Commentary to the Brahmajala Sutta. The account can be found at pages 98 to 100 of the translation of the Brahmajala Sutta and its Commentaries by Bhikkhu Bodhi, BPS 2007 2nd Ed.
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