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#1 RobertK

RobertK

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 05:18 AM

 
All references are taken from the Sutta Pitaka only.
 
arañña: forest, wilderness.
 
♦ Arañña is one of nine vivitta senāsana (secluded lodgings) often cited in the suttas as proper places for practice (eg. MN 27, AN 9.40):
vivittaṃ senāsanaṃ bhajati araññaṃ rukkhamūlaṃ pabbataṃ kandaraṃ giriguhaṃ susānaṃ vanapatthaṃ abbhokāsaṃ palālapuñjaṃ.
 
He resorts to a secluded dwelling: the forest, the foot of a tree, a mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a forest thicket, a place out in the open, a heap of straw.
 
 
Often, the list is shortened as follows:
araññagato vā rukkhamūlagato vā suññāgāragato vā nisīdati...
 
Having gone to the forest or at the foot of a tree or in an empty room, he seats down...
 
 
In a few occasions, it is mentioned that brahmins or sages live in leaf huts in the forest (araññ·āyatane paṇṇa·kuṭīsu), as at DN 27, MN 93 and SN 11.9, or that the Buddha or other monks live in forest huts (arañña·kuṭika), as at SN 4.20, MN 125 or MN 136.
 
♦ Being a forest dweller (āraññika) was held in very high esteem by the Buddha and according to SN 15.13, it seems that he saw this practice, together with others, as very helpful for liberation:
“ime kho tiṃsamattā pāveyyakā bhikkhū sabbe āraññikā sabbe piṇḍapātikā sabbe paṃsukūlikā sabbe tecīvarikā sabbe sasaṃyojanā. yaṃnūnāhaṃ imesaṃ tathā dhammaṃ deseyyaṃ yathā nesaṃ imasmiṃyeva āsane anupādāya āsavehi cittāni vimucceyyun”ti.
 
These thirty bhikkhus from Pāvā are all forest dwellers, almsfood eaters, cast-off rags wearers, three-robes-only users [but] still fettered. What if I taught them the Dhamma in such a way that their minds would be liberated from their impurities through non-attachment [while sitting] on those very seats?
 
 
 
At SN 16.5, the list is expanded with additional qualities:
· piṇḍapāt·ika (almsfood eater)
· paṃsu·kūl·ika (cast-off rags wearer)
· te·cīvar·ika (three-robes-only user)
· appiccha
· santuṭṭha
· pavivitta
· asaṃsaṭṭha (lonesome)
· āraddha·vīriya
“ahaṃ kho, bhante, dīgharattaṃ āraññiko ceva āraññikattassa ca vaṇṇavādī, piṇḍapātiko ceva piṇḍapātikattassa ca vaṇṇavādī, paṃsukūliko ceva paṃsukūlikattassa ca vaṇṇavādī, tecīvariko ceva tecīvarikattassa ca vaṇṇavādī, appiccho ceva appicchatāya ca vaṇṇavādī, santuṭṭho ceva santuṭṭhiyā ca vaṇṇavādī, pavivitto ceva pavivekassa ca vaṇṇavādī, asaṃsaṭṭho ceva asaṃsaggassa ca vaṇṇavādī, āraddhavīriyo ceva vīriyārambhassa ca vaṇṇavādī”ti.
 
Bhante, for a long time I have been a forest dweller and have praised dwelling in the forest. I have been an almsfood eater and have praised eating almsfood. I have been a cast-off rags wearer and have praised wearing cast off rags. I have been a three-robes-only user and have praised using only three robes. I have been of few desires and have praised being of few desires. I have been content and have praised being content. I have been reclusive and have praised being reclusive. I have been lonely and have praised being lonely. I have been of aroused energy and have praised being of aroused energy.
 
 
 
♦ Forest dwelling is often recommended to the monks, as at AN 5.114:
“ye te, ānanda, bhikkhū navā acirapabbajitā adhunāgatā imaṃ dhammavinayaṃ, te vo, ānanda, bhikkhū pañcasu dhammesu samādapetabbā nivesetabbā patiṭṭhāpetabbā. katamesu pañcasu? (...) “‘etha tumhe, āvuso, āraññikā hotha, araññavanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevathā’ti. iti kāyavūpakāse samādapetabbā nivesetabbā patiṭṭhāpetabbā.
 
Ananda, the new monks — those who have not long gone forth, who are newcomers in this Dhamma & Discipline — should be encouraged, exhorted, and established in these five things. Which five? (...) 'Come, friends, dwell in the forest. Resort to distant forest thicket lodgings.' Thus they should be encouraged, exhorted, & established in physical seclusion.
 
 
AN 1.378
“addhamidaṃ, bhikkhave, lābhānaṃ yadidaṃ āraññikattaṃ”ti.
 
This is truly a gain, bhikkhus: being a forest dweller.
 
 
AN 5.98
Pañcahi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato bhikkhu ānāpānassatiṃ āsevanto nacirasseva akuppaṃ paṭivijjhati. Katamehi pañcahi? (...) āraññako hoti pantasenāsano
 
Endowed with five qualities, a bhikkhu practicing mindfulness of breathing will in no long time penetrate the unshakable [state]. Which five? (...) he is a forest dweller, [resorting to] distant lodgings
 
 
 
♦ The benefits of dwelling in the forest are mentioned in various places, such as AN 2.31:
“dvāhaṃ, bhikkhave, atthavase sampassamāno araññavanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevāmi. katame dve? attano ca diṭṭhadhammasukhavihāraṃ sampassamāno, pacchimañca janataṃ anukampamāno.
 
Bhikkhus, I resort to distant forest thicket lodgings seeing two benefits. Which two? Seeing my own pleasant abiding in the visible world, and out of compassion for the new generation.
 
 
At MN 150, dwelling in the forest is considered a warrant for being a worthy bhikkhu.
“sace pana vo, gahapatayo, aññatitthiyā paribbājakā evaṃ puccheyyuṃ: ‘ke panāyasmantānaṃ ākārā, ke anvayā, yena tumhe āyasmanto evaṃ vadetha: addhā te āyasmanto vītarāgā vā rāgavinayāya vā paṭipannā, vītadosā vā dosavinayāya vā paṭipannā, vītamohā vā mohavinayāya vā paṭipannā’ti? evaṃ puṭṭhā tumhe, gahapatayo, tesaṃ aññatitthiyānaṃ paribbājakānaṃ evaṃ byākareyyātha: ‘tathā hi te āyasmanto araññavanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevanti. natthi kho pana tattha tathārūpā cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā ye disvā disvā abhirameyyuṃ, natthi kho pana tattha tathārūpā sotaviññeyyā saddā ye sutvā sutvā abhirameyyuṃ, natthi kho pana tattha tathārūpā ghānaviññeyyā gandhā ye ghāyitvā ghāyitvā abhirameyyuṃ, natthi kho pana tattha tathārūpā jivhāviññeyyā rasā ye sāyitvā sāyitvā abhirameyyuṃ, natthi kho pana tattha tathārūpā kāyaviññeyyā phoṭṭhabbā ye phusitvā phusitvā abhirameyyuṃ. ime kho no, āvuso, ākārā, ime anvayā, yena mayaṃ evaṃ vadema: addhā te āyasmanto vītarāgā vā rāgavinayāya vā paṭipannā, vītadosā vā dosavinayāya vā paṭipannā, vītamohā vā mohavinayāya vā paṭipannā’ti.
 
And if, householders, heterodox spiritual wanderers ask you: 'And what are your reasons and with reference to what do you claim of those venerable ones: "Certainly, those venerable ones are devoid of lust or are practicing for the elimination of lust, they are devoid of aversion or are practicing for the elimination of aversion, they are devoid of delusion or are practicing for the elimination of delusion"?' If you are questioned thus, householders, you should answer to those heterodox spiritual wanderers: 'It is because those venerable ones resort to distant forest thicket lodgings, since there are no visible forms cognizable by the eye there such that, having seen them, they might delight in them; there are no sounds cognizable by the ear there such that, having heard them, they might delight in them; there are no smells cognizable by the nose there such that, having smelled them, they might delight in them; there are no tastes cognizable by the tongue there such that, having tasted them, they might delight in them; there are no bodily sensations cognizable by the body there such that, having felt them, they might delight in them; these, friends, are our reasons, it is with reference to this that we claim: "Certainly, those venerable ones are devoid of lust or are practicing for the elimination of lust, they are devoid of aversion or are practicing for the elimination of aversion, they are devoid of delusion or are practicing for the elimination of delusion".'
 
 
 
At MN 121, the perception of the forest that develops through forest dwelling is the basis for mental calm.
bhikkhu amanasikaritvā gāmasaññaṃ, amanasikaritvā manussasaññaṃ, araññasaññaṃ paṭicca manasi karoti ekattaṃ. Tassa araññasaññāya cittaṃ pakkhandati pasīdati santiṭṭhati adhimuccati.
 
a bhikkhu, not directing his mind to the perception of villages, not directing his mind to the perception of humans, directs his mind to the oneness produced by the perception of the forest. His mind takes to that perception of the forest and grows confident, steady and settled.
 
 
At AN 6.42, the Buddha says he is pleased with a bhikkhu dwelling in the forest in three cases:
idha panāhaṃ, nāgita, bhikkhuṃ passāmi āraññikaṃ araññe pacalāyamānaṃ nisinnaṃ. tassa mayhaṃ, nāgita, evaṃ hoti: ‘idāni ayamāyasmā imaṃ niddākilamathaṃ paṭivinodetvā araññasaññaṃyeva manasi karissati ekattan’ti. tenāhaṃ, nāgita, tassa bhikkhuno attamano homi araññavihārena.
 
Nāgita, I see a forest dwelling bhikkhu sitting in the forest, dozing. It occurs to me: 'Soon this venerable one will dispel his sleepiness & fatigue and direct his mind only to the perception of the forest, {see MN 121 above} in a state of oneness.' And for this reason, I am pleased with that bhikkhu's dwelling in the forest.
 
“idha panāhaṃ, nāgita, bhikkhuṃ passāmi āraññikaṃ araññe asamāhitaṃ nisinnaṃ. tassa mayhaṃ, nāgita, evaṃ hoti: ‘idāni ayamāyasmā asamāhitaṃ vā cittaṃ samādahissati, samāhitaṃ vā cittaṃ anurakkhissatī’ti. tenāhaṃ, nāgita, tassa bhikkhuno attamano homi araññavihārena.
 
Furthermore, Nāgita, I see a forest dwelling bhikkhu sitting in the forest, unconcentrated. It occurs to me: 'Soon this venerable one will concentrate his unconcentrated mind, or protect his concentrated mind.' And for this reason, I am pleased with that bhikkhu's dwelling in the forest.
 
“idha panāhaṃ, nāgita, bhikkhuṃ passāmi āraññikaṃ araññe samāhitaṃ nisinnaṃ. tassa mayhaṃ, nāgita, evaṃ hoti: ‘idāni ayamāyasmā avimuttaṃ vā cittaṃ vimocessati, vimuttaṃ vā cittaṃ anurakkhissatī’ti. tenāhaṃ, nāgita, tassa bhikkhuno attamano homi araññavihārena.
 
Furthermore, Nāgita, I see a forest dwelling bhikkhu sitting in the forest, concentrated. It occurs to me: 'Soon this venerable one will liberate his unliberated mind, or protect his liberated mind.' And for this reason, I am pleased with that bhikkhu's dwelling in the forest.
 
 
 
♦ The fact that bhikkhus keep dwelling in the forest is very important, as stated at AN 7.33:
“yāvakīvañca, bhikkhave, bhikkhū āraññakesu senāsanesu sāpekkhā bhavissanti, vuddhiyeva, bhikkhave, bhikkhūnaṃ pāṭikaṅkhā, no parihāni.
 
As long as the bhikkhus will appreciate lodgings in the forest, one can expect their prosperity, not their decline.
 
 
AN 5.80
“puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, bhavissanti bhikkhū anāgatamaddhānaṃ senāsane kalyāṇakāmā. te senāsane kalyāṇakāmā samānā riñcissanti rukkhamūlikattaṃ, riñcissanti araññavanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni; gāmanigamarājadhānīsu osaritvā vāsaṃ kappessanti, senāsanahetu ca anekavihitaṃ anesanaṃ appatirūpaṃ āpajjissanti.
 
Furthermore, bhikkhus, in the future there will be monks desirous of fine lodgings. They, desirous of fine lodgings, will abandon the practice of dwelling at the foot of a tree, they will abandon distant forest thicket lodgings, they will move to villages, towns, and royal capitals and take up residence there. For the sake of lodgings they will engage in many kinds of wrong and inappropriate things.
 
 
 
♦ But dwelling in the forest is nothing easy, as attested at MN 4:
durabhisambhavāni hi kho, brāhmaṇa, araññavanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni, dukkaraṃ pavivekaṃ, durabhiramaṃ ekatte, haranti maññe mano vanāni samādhiṃ alabhamānassa bhikkhuno”ti.
 
It is difficult to endure distant forest thicket lodgings, it is difficult to practice seclusion, it is difficult to enjoy solitude. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a bhikkhu if he has not gained concentration.
 
 
The sutta then goes on to describe qualities that make forest dwelling difficult if not impossible, starting with lack of virtues, continuing with the five hindrances, and then miscellaneous qualities:
 
· a·parisuddha·kāya·kammantā (unpurified bodily conduct)
· a·parisuddha·vacī·kammantā (unpurified verbal conduct)
· a·parisuddha·mano·kammantā (unpurified mental conduct)
· a·parisuddh·ājīvā (unpurified livelihood)
· abhijjhālū kāmesu tibba·sā·rāgā (being covetous in sensuality and strongly passionate)
· byāpanna·cittā paduṭṭha·mana·saṅkappā (having a mind of ill will and intentions of hate)
· thīna·middha·pariyuṭṭhitā (being overcome by sloth and drowsiness)
· uddhatā a·vūpasanta·cittā (being restless with an unappeased mind)
· kaṅkhī vicikicchī (uncertain and doubting)
· att·ukkaṃsakā paravambhī (praising oneself and disparaging others)
· chambhī bhīruka·jātikā (subject to panic and terror)
· lābha·sakkāra·silokaṃ nikāmayamānā (desirous of honors, gain and fame)
· kusītā hīna·vīriyā (lazy and low in energy)
· muṭṭhas·satī a·sampajānā (unmindful and not clearly comprehending)
· a·samāhitā vibbhanta·cittā (unconcentrated with a wandering mind)
· dup·paññā eḷa·mūgā (of wrong wisdom, deaf-and-dumb - see MN 152)
 
A wonderful simile illustrates this difficulty at AN 10.99:
“durabhisambhavāni hi kho, upāli, araññavanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni. dukkaraṃ pavivekaṃ durabhiramaṃ. ekatte haranti maññe mano vanāni samādhiṃ alabhamānassa bhikkhuno. yo kho, upāli, evaṃ vadeyya: ‘ahaṃ samādhiṃ alabhamāno araññavanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevissāmī’ti, tassetaṃ pāṭikaṅkhaṃ: ‘saṃsīdissati vā uplavissati vā’ti.
 
It is difficult to endure distant forest thicket lodgings, Upāli, it is difficult to practice seclusion, it is difficult to enjoy solitude. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a bhikkhu if he has not gained concentration. If anyone should say: 'Although I have not gained concentration, I will resort to distant forest thicket lodgings', it can be expected that he will either sink down or [merely] float [on the surface].
 
“seyyathāpi, upāli, mahāudakarahado. atha āgaccheyya hatthināgo sattaratano vā aṭṭharatano vā. tassa evamassa: ‘yaṃnūnāhaṃ imaṃ udakarahadaṃ ogāhetvā kaṇṇa-saṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷeyyaṃ piṭṭhi-saṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷeyyaṃ. kaṇṇa-saṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷitvā piṭṭhi-saṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷitvā nhatvā ca pivitvā ca paccuttaritvā yena kāmaṃ pakkameyyan’ti. so taṃ udakarahadaṃ ogāhetvā kaṇṇa-saṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷeyya piṭṭhi-saṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷeyya; kaṇṇa-saṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷitvā piṭṭhi-saṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷitvā nhatvā ca pivitvā ca paccuttaritvā yena kāmaṃ pakkameyya. taṃ kissa hetu? mahā, upāli, attabhāvo gambhīre gādhaṃ vindati.
 
Imagine, Upāli, that there would be a large lake. A bull elephant would come, seven or eight cubits [high]. It would occur to him: 'What if, having entered this lake, I washed my ears by playing playfully, I washed my back by playing playfully; having washed my ears by playing playfully, having washed my back by playing playfully, having bathed, drunk and come out, I would go wherever I want.' He enters that lake, washes his ears by playing playfully, washes his back by playing playfully; having washed his ears by playing playfully, having washed his back by playing playfully, having bathed, drunk and come out, he goes wherever he wants. For what reason? Because his large body finds a footing in the depths.
 
“atha āgaccheyya saso vā biḷāro vā. tassa evamassa: ‘ko cāhaṃ, ko ca hatthināgo! yaṃnūnāhaṃ imaṃ udakarahadaṃ ogāhetvā kaṇṇasaṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷeyyaṃ piṭṭhisaṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷeyyaṃ; kaṇṇasaṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷitvā piṭṭhisaṃdhovikampi khiḍḍaṃ kīḷitvā nhatvā ca pivitvā ca paccuttaritvā yena kāmaṃ pakkameyyan’ti. so taṃ udakarahadaṃ sahasā appaṭisaṅkhā pakkhandeyya. tassetaṃ pāṭikaṅkhaṃ: ‘saṃsīdissati vā uplavissati vā’ti. taṃ kissa hetu? paritto, upāli, attabhāvo gambhīre gādhaṃ na vindati. evamevaṃ kho, upāli, yo evaṃ vadeyya: ‘ahaṃ samādhiṃ alabhamāno araññavanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevissāmī’ti, tassetaṃ pāṭikaṅkhaṃ: ‘saṃsīdissati vā uplavissati vā’ti.
 
Then a hare or a cat would come. It would occur to it: 'Why should a bull elephant be different from me? What if, having entered this lake, I washed my ears by playing playfully, I washed my back by playing playfully; having washed my ears by playing playfully, having washed my back by playing playfully, having bathed, drunk and come out, I would go wherever I want.' It would inconsiderately and thoughtlessly jump into the lake. It can be expected that it will either sink down or [merely] float [on the surface]. For what reason? Because its small body doesn't find a footing in the depths. In the same way, Upāli, if anyone should say: 'Although I have not gained concentration, I will resort to distant forest thicket lodgings', it can be expected that he will either sink down or [merely] float [on the surface].
 
 
 
Eventually, the Buddha even advises Upāli not to dwell in the forest:
iṅgha tvaṃ, upāli, saṅghe viharāhi. saṅghe te viharato phāsu bhavissatī”ti.
 
Come, Upāli, remain in the Saṅgha. Remaining in the Saṅgha, you will be at ease.
 
 
AN 4.262
“catūhi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato bhikkhu nālaṃ araññavanappatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevituṃ. katamehi catūhi? kāmavitakkena, byāpādavitakkena, vihiṃsāvitakkena, duppañño hoti jaḷo elamūgo — imehi kho, bhikkhave, catūhi dhammehi samannāgato bhikkhu nālaṃ araññavanappatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevituṃ.
 
Endowed with [any of] four qualities, a monk isn't fit to stay in isolated forest & wilderness dwellings. Which four? [He is endowed] with thoughts of sensuality, with thoughts of ill will, with thoughts of harmfulness, and he is a person of weak discernment, dull, a drooling idiot. Endowed with [any of] these four qualities, a monk isn't fit to stay in isolated forest & wilderness dwellings.
 
“catūhi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato bhikkhu alaṃ araññavanappatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevituṃ. katamehi catūhi? nekkhammavitakkena, abyāpādavitakkena, avihiṃsāvitakkena, paññavā hoti ajaḷo anelamūgo — imehi kho, bhikkhave, catūhi dhammehi samannāgato bhikkhu alaṃ araññavanappatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevitun”ti.
 
Endowed with four qualities, a monk is fit to stay in isolated forest & wilderness dwellings. Which four? [He is endowed] with thoughts of renunciation, with thoughts of non-ill will, with thoughts of harmlessness, and he is a discerning person, not dull, not a drooling idiot. Endowed with these four qualities, a monk is fit to stay in isolated forest & wilderness dwellings.
 
 
SN 35.46
“santi kho, migajāla, cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā. tañce bhikkhu abhinandati abhivadati ajjhosāya tiṭṭhati. tassa taṃ abhinandato abhivadato ajjhosāya tiṭṭhato uppajjati nandī . nandiyā sati sārāgo hoti; sārāge sati saṃyogo hoti. nandisaṃyojanasaṃyutto kho, migajāla, bhikkhu sadutiyavihārīti vuccati. ... santi ca kho, migajāla, jivhāviññeyyā rasā... santi ca kho, migajāla, manoviññeyyā dhammā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā. tañce bhikkhu abhinandati abhivadati ajjhosāya tiṭṭhati. tassa taṃ abhinandato abhivadato ajjhosāya tiṭṭhato uppajjati nandī. nandiyā sati sārāgo hoti; sārāge sati saṃyogo hoti. nandisaṃyojanasaṃyutto kho, migajāla, bhikkhu sadutiyavihārīti vuccati. evaṃvihārī ca, migajāla, bhikkhu kiñcāpi araññavanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevati appasaddāni appanigghosāni vijanavātāni manussarāhasseyyakāni paṭisallānasāruppāni; atha kho sadutiyavihārīti vuccati. taṃ kissa hetu? taṇhā hissa dutiyā, sāssa appahīnā. tasmā sadutiyavihārī”ti vuccati.
 
"Migajala, there are forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing — and a monk relishes them, welcomes them, & remains fastened to them. As he relishes them, welcomes them, & remains fastened to them, delight arises. There being delight, he is impassioned. Being impassioned, he is fettered. A monk joined with the fetter of delight is said to be a person living with a companion. There are sounds cognizable via the ear... aromas cognizable via the nose... flavors cognizable via the tongue... tactile sensations cognizable via the body... ideas cognizable via the intellect — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing — and a monk relishes them, welcomes them, & remains fastened to them. As he relishes them, welcomes them, & remains fastened to them, delight arises. There being delight, he is impassioned. Being impassioned, he is fettered. A monk joined with the fetter of delight is said to be a person living with a companion. A person living in this way — even if he frequents isolated forest & wilderness dwellings, with an unpopulated atmosphere, lying far from humanity, appropriate for seclusion — is still said to be living with a companion. Why is that? Because the craving that is his companion has not been abandoned by him. Thus he is said to be a person living with a companion.