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Stories of tudong and pindapata - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Stories of tudong and pindapata

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Hanzze
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Hanzze » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:52 am

Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby daverupa » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:59 am


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gavesako
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:23 am

Recollections of tudong walk in Thailand
Some memories from a tudong walk in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son province, northern Thailand, in December 2006:


… Walking up the mountain and down again, overlooking the hilly area of Pai ahead of us, we arrived at a village of the Karen hill-tribe quite exhausted, having covered about 25 km that day. Fortunately there was a small forest monastery with some monks from the north-east in this village, and the following day one of them invited me to go and have a look at the waterfall nearby. A group of young Karen boys tagged along behind the two monks, the Phra Farang (Western monk) being an exciting new arrival in this village off the beaten track which would regularly get cut off from the tarmac road during the rainy season.

The waterfall was quite nice, we had to wade through the stream and jump from stone to stone in order to reach it. The boys jumped into the pools and splashed cool water over themselves to escape the midday heat. Then they offered us the mandarines to eat and they also helped themselves – they tasted sweet and delicious. On the way to the waterfall we had passed an orchard of mandarines and the boys picked a lot of the fruits which they put inside a bag – my bag, which they had offered to carry for me, having been trained as good temple boys by the local monks. On the way back, feeling refreshed, the boys were cheerful and playful. As we passed that orchard again, I asked them about the owner, assuming it was someone from their village. They said, “No, the owner is from the next village, that is the Liso hill-tribe. He was here last week patrolling his property with a shotgun, and he threatened to shoot at anybody stealing his fruit!” They laughed at it as if they had told a joke, but I felt a bit uneasy about the few remaining mandarines … still inside my bag.

Shooting people here, close to the Burmese border, was not that uncommon. There were couriers carrying heroin and amphetamines to be sold in Thailand, and the drug dealers were targeted just around that time during the notorious War on Drugs which allowed shooting any suspects as a free-for-all. We were told that anyone possessing a mobile phone and a good map of the area would be seen as a potential courier. And human life does not count that much in this part of the world, even if carrying a foreign passport.

Continuing our walk further towards Wiang Haeng, we had to pass through a forested hilly area with few villages and only a bumpy dirt road used mainly by motorcycles. There were pine trees growing here because we were quite high up in the mountains. The temperatures at night could drop down to just above 0° Celsius. Finally, as it was already getting dark, we found a Liso village and put up our umbrella tents among the trees nearby. As expected, I did not get much sleep that night, having only my ordinary robe plus my sanghati, the double-layer robe, to use as a blanket. As I was spreading my mat on the ground, I did not see much in the dark, but as I got up in the morning, picking up my bag which was wet from the dew, I noticed some little holes in it: I have unwittingly placed it on a termite nest and they started nibbling on it.

Around 6 AM, shivering with the cold, we walked towards the poor-looking village and past the school which had the appearance of a cow shed. This place really looked like it has never seen any Buddhist monks before. The hill-tribes were not originally Buddhist, but with the development programs of the Thai government reaching out to them, they have been partially converted to Buddhism (but more recently the aggressive campaigns of the foreign Christian missionaries have had a noticeable impact here).

We walked between the bamboo houses, carefully treading in the mud trying to avoid pig excrement, while there was smoke to be seen rising from the dwellings, obviously a sign of some food being cooked. Then a Liso woman opened the door of her house and stared at us for a while in surprise. Offering food to the monks on alms-round was not part of her daily routine. But she would have seen Thai people in the town doing it, perhaps at the market where she sometimes went to sell vegetables and buy a few necessary things. Today was her chance to make merit just like the town-dwellers do every day, and not only that, the monks in front of her house were white Westerners! Strangely, the roles were reversed on this occasion: Instead of seeing the Farangs merely as wealthy tourists, a potential source of income for her, she was in a position to provide them with a meal to sustain their physical existence for a day. That gave her a sense of worth and dignity she may never have experienced before in her underprivileged backward life up in these hills. It was the shaven heads, yellow robes and bowls in the hands of these Farangs that made the difference… and the bare feet.

She called out something excitedly towards us in her language, being older she probably never had a chance to learn Thai. Then she made a gesture of putting some food into her mouth, smiled and ran inside her house. After a minute or two, she came out with a pot of hot water and some packets of popular Mama instant noodle soup, sold in the market. We stood there and opened the lids of our bowls. She paused for a moment, not sure how to do this for the first time, and then she simply poured the hot water into our metal bowls. She took a packet of Mama noodles, tore the plastic wrapping open, emptied the bag into the almsbowl, and then threw the plastic inside as well (for good luck?). Hungry monks are grateful for any kind of offering, and we also got some steaming hot rice with a bit of cooked pumpkin from another house. We chanted a blessing in Pali language, and they were no doubt assured that the local deities and spirits will continue to protect them from all dangers. Or were those white men dressed in robes who emerged from the forest unannounced also some kind of ghost? Feeding them should work best in any case…
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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yawares
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby yawares » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:59 pm


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Alobha
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Lost in the woods

Postby Alobha » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:31 pm

I have a little Tudongstory to tell, too.

A few years ago I accompanied two monks and we travelled through the forests at the Czech-Bavarian border. It was the first time that I met Bhikkus in person and needless to say that it was quite a new situation for me. I was quite anxious that I could behave in an unbeneficial way or bring harm to them in any way. There I walked with these incredible focused, well-trained, virtuous disciples of the Buddha. I read a good portion of the patimokkha before, learned what to say when offering fruits, learned how to speak and approach Bhikkhus but I still felt so unprepared and well, unworthy. My friend Sascha, who put me in contact with the Bhikkhus, told me what a rare, what a great and unique opportunity it would be for me to accompany monks on pilgramage and it sure was. How could I deserve something so special ? I did all I could to prove worthy while we were walking, but of course I was still unprepared. My feet were covered with a few nasty blisters after a few days, I found out that I packed my backpack a bit too heavy, and perhaps I slowed them down a bit. What a shame, I was there to support the monks and yet I gave them so many reasons to be irritated and bothered..

On one occasion I cooked some milkrice with cranberries in the morning when we took our break for the daily meal at an open shed that was located at a higher hill. It was some instant-milk powdered milk rice and it did not taste nearly as good as I could do it with a real kitchen and fresh ingredients.
We hid our quite heavy backpacks at a near place in the bushes and walked down the hill to see how the landscape looked there. After we walked down the hill for what felt like more than a kilometre or two, we found a place where to sit and I tried to meditate in a place that was a bit secluded from the hiking trail.

I had no idea how much time had passed when I got up from the meditation. And when I looked around, the monks were gone! Poof! Nowhere to see! How could I loose track of the monks I was supposed to take care of? Oh Damn me! I tought that maybe they just had enough of me! Of course! How could it be different? How could I loose them and not even manage that? Desperate that I might have lost them for good I hastly walked back the path to the hill where we hid our backpacks.
It didn't take long to find the monks as they were just coming down from the hill - carrying not only their, but my backpack between them, too!
What a fool I was, worrying about being lost when in company of disciples of the Buddha. One can't get lost with such trustworthy, marvellous, virtuous and wise company! They just decided to take off a bit of my baggage, by carrying my backpack down for me while I could have some time to meditate in peace. What a kind gesture this was. :smile:

One of the monks gave me the advice at the start of the tour not to beat myself up and you know, while I missed to get this teaching into my heart back then, they already achieved it. They never criticised or blamed or disapproved of me, I did. They were not beating me up, but all they showed was this vivid, lived kindness and compassion, this true understanding of and sympathy for other beings. They were the highly venereable monks and yet they were carrying my luggage. Years have passed since this occasion but it's still an experience that keeps reminding me that there is something as a human being to live up to, something to pursue, to develop, something of immeasurable value in this world.

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Hanzze
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:00 am

Indeed a very special and of cause a blessed journey not many would meet, thanks for sharing this merits.
Much mudita!
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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gavesako
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:23 pm

Burmese Alms Rounds
Uposatha Day, First Quarter Moon, October 23, 2012
by Bhikkhu Cintita

Another excerpt from my bio narrative:

When the Buddha returned to visit his princely home after his alms-financed Enlightenment, he continued his alms rounds in the streets of Kapilavastu much to the distress of his aristocratic father. The alms round was for the Buddha a key feature of the monastic life. Even when food was close at hand, the alms round was not to be disregarded. He once criticized one of his disciples, an arahat no less who could meditate for seven days at a stretch without food, for neglecting his daily alms rounds. For the Buddha the alms round was not simply a way to feed the monks and nuns: it had a social role to play in realigning the values of both monastic and lay.

The Pali word for alms round is piṇḍapāta, which means “drop a lump,” rhyming with “heffalump.” and describing the process whereby food accumulates in the alms bowl. The tradition is that monks or nuns leave the monastery, or wherever they are dwelling (most ideally, the root of a tree or a cemetery), either singly or in a group. As a group they typically walk single-file according to seniority, that is, according to ordination date. The robes are arranged formally, covering both shoulders as described above. The monks walk barefooted into a village and then from house to house, not favoring rich nor poor neighborhoods, accepting, but not requesting, what is freely donated, that is, dropped as a lump into one’s bowl.
...

http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/201 ... ms-rounds/
:popcorn:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Ven Gavesako thank you for this wonderful thread. As someone who is working towards renunciation doing a tudong is something that interests me greatly. I am a wanderer and explorer by nature so hearing the stories of wandering monks in the Suttas really connected with me. Then I heard about Ajahn Chah being a wandering monk and decided if i ever become a monk i want to do that. I recently found and read blistered feet, blissful mind.. And that has only made the desire worse :). Testing basic human kindness in America would be quite a journey I bet.
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gavesako
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:24 pm

Monks have done tudong in America too, especially along the West coast. But it was not as easy as in Europe or in Asia.
Good luck with your aspirations!
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:50 pm

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alan
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby alan » Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:46 am

I like to walk on the beach, and do so every day. It helps clear my mind. But I can't see any reason to go on this overly long walk in bare feet. Seems pointless.

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby daverupa » Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:53 am

For those "delicately nurtured" - which probably includes most urbanites - shoes with one lining are allowable. So it must be some sort of dutangha...?

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby alan » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:22 am

Pointless self-punishment is not the Buddha's teaching.

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:32 am


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gavesako
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:21 am

Nice inspiring video slideshow:

The Thai Buddhist Forest Tradition, Thudong: Forest Monks and Hermits of Thailand

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCJi3u_KmQQ
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:30 am

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gavesako
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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby gavesako » Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:58 pm

Forest as Challenge, Forest as Healer: Reinterpretations and Hybridity within the Forest Tradition of Thailand
Brooke Shedneck

"The forest has held an ambiguous and ambivalent place in Buddhist history. It is featured prominently in major moments of the Buddha’s life story as the place of his birth, enlightenment, and death. It is also perceived as a place of fear, resistance, escape, sickness, spirits, danger, and temptation. In contrast to these negative attributes, the forest has been described as a place to encounter nature free from distractions; it embodies solitude, peace, and tranquility. How can one resolve these differing notions? Why does this ambivalence exist? How have all of these meanings changed over time?
This essay looks at the rhetoric of the forest in Buddhist thought by tracing the ambivalent attitudes of the forest within the Pāli canon, to meanings of the forest as described in popular Thai forest biographies, and finally to contemporary Buddhist writings, both from Thailand and Western countries. The Pāli canon suggests the best place to practice is the natural world; it is isolating and challenging at first but soon can help transform the mind. The forest tradition of Thailand depicts the forest as more than just isolating, but rather dangerous and fearful. In contemporary times there is hardly any trace of the forest as a fearful place because it is instead depicted as sacred, and there is a feeling of merging with the natural world that aids awakening."

http://www.shin-ibs.edu/documents/pwj3- ... edneck.pdf


Another similar article:

http://www.wiseattention.org/blog/2012/ ... ed-nature/
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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Re: Stories of tudong and pindapata

Postby Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:47 am

Bhante that first link doesn't seem to work for me.

and as for the forest, I have lessened extremely my fear while in one. This came from actual practice being in forests without tents and sleeping over night etc. When I go to Bhavana Society I often walk around the forest monastery at night without a flashlight. The last time I was up there I found a trail going up the mountain deeper into the forest and I went up there two nights in a row. Whenever I felt scared I gave metta to the area, and felt better. Fear is all mental, and 99 times out of 100 you have nothing to fear in the forest. I am reminded of the fourth sutta in the Majjhima Nikaya -


"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.'

"The thought occurred to me: 'When brahmans or contemplatives who are unpurified in their bodily activities resort to isolated forest or wilderness dwellings, it's the fault of their unpurified bodily activities that they give rise to unskillful fear & terror. But it's not the case that I am unpurified in my bodily activities when I resort to isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. I am purified in my bodily activities. I am one of those noble ones who are purified in their bodily activities when they resort to isolated forest or wilderness dwellings.' Seeing in myself this purity of bodily activities, I felt even more undaunted about staying in the wilderness."

so the Forest is all of these things, a wonderful place to meditate during the day ( My meditation practice seems to flow much much better outside then inside) and a place for our wildest imaginations to live at night.
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