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Thread: Solitude

  1. #1
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    Solitude

    some thought about solitude...

    Gotama Buddha continually advices meditators to seek solitude. go into the forest and sit beneath a tree. You can find this in lots of suttas.

    Why?

    Sampajanna - The continuous observation of the rising and passing away of sensations.

    This is much easier when alone. It is when the practice is continuous that the goal is reached. The field of vedana, sensations, is vast. When observed equanimously the multiplication of cravings stops and the old stock of sankharas starts to rise and pass away. This observation is to be continuous. Ordinary life is full of distractions. Even sitting a few hours a day is sometimes not enough to make inroads into this huge storehouse of sankharas, fruits of past kammas. It becomes much easier in solitude away from distractions.

    On the other hand it is not easy as this stock of sankharas can be very difficult, painful to face. They can come in an overwhelming flood and the distractions of ordinary life will seem a blessing.

  2. #2
    Regarding solitude, I am reminded of this passage from MN31: The Discourse on the Ideal Lover of Solitude:



    Let one not trace back the past
    Or yearn for the future-yet-to-come.
    That which is past is left behind
    Unattained is the "yet-to-come."
    But that which is present he discerns —
    With insight as and when it comes.
    The Immovable — the-non-irritable.
    In that state should the wise one grow
    Today itself should one bestir
    Tomorrow death may come — who knows?
    For no bargain can we strike
    With Death who has his mighty hosts.
    But one who dwells thus ardently,
    By day, by night, untiringly,
    Him the Tranquil Sage has called
    The Ideal Lover of Solitude.


    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....131.nana.html

    ...and also of a quote from “Practicing with the Five Hindrances” by Ajahn Amaro:



    Boredom and loneliness depend on investing in the sense of self. And, ironically, the harder we try to solidify our image of me through activity, the more we create the conditions for boredom to arise. If the sense of self is clearly understood as empty, solitude becomes a cherished companion.


    https://tricycle.org/dailydharma/pra...ve-hindrances/

    and finally, as this is our GBD forum, something from Ven Thich Nhat Hanh's "Plum Village" website:


    Solitude is not about being alone high up in the mountains, or in a hut deep in the forest, it is not about hiding ourselves away from civilization. Real solitude comes from a stable heart that does not get carried away by the crowd nor by our sorrows about the past, our worries about the future, and our excitement about the present. We do not lose ourselves; we do not lose our mindfulness. Taking refuge in our mindful breathing, coming back to the present moment is to take refuge in the beautiful, serene island within each of us.

    https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice/solitude/

    Any thoughts on the topic from anyone else ?

    .

  3. #3
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    Thank you Aloka. Very Inspiring.

  4. #4
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    Solitude in the sense of sitting somewhere quietly by yourself, maybe in the Zen sense of looking at a wall, is an integral part of insight meditation.

    As human beings we were designed to do this over hundreds of thousands of years. Only relatively recently have we found this difficult to achieve, and attempts to do so can be seen as a return to those conditions which have a fundamental impact on the brain and mind while sitting in a state similar to that we now call meditation.

    The Buddha, in this sense, was saying that you have to go through this yourself if you want the changes it brings.

  5. #5
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    Solitude is needed when doing deeper meditation over longer period of time. The mind can then rest for longer in the moment without interuption from other people or situations. And when letting go of the ego/self is also more often achieved in solitude.

    Beginner meditators would benefit from 1-2 days in solitude where as experieced meditators can go months in solitude.

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