Forest

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oncereturner
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Forest

Post by oncereturner » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:20 am

My beloved friends in dhamma,

I try again. I tried to post two times, with no success. My long post disappeared. I hope that third time i can finally post. This time i write in notepad, before posting. The post was so long, that it took an hour to write down, and the website dropped me off, so my post is gone. I just hope that the technology doesn't trick me one more time. It is nearly dawn. It took another two hours, and i'm in hurry. The electricity is just a curse, but at the same time, a blessing. i can write it down even better what i wanted, there must be a reason for everyting. It is very good. I'm thankful.

So again, i was in the deep dark forest at midnight, two times. The darkness is scary, and when i just wanted to post in this forum, my mobile accumulator went off. It would be more elegant, writing right from the woods at midnight, but next time i will succeed. The feeling was so strong, i wanted to share right then. The feeling is vanished to some extent, but never will disappear completely. This means, the flashlight also gone, which was essential. I wondered about the dhammapada which says:
"The forest gives happiness, however the world doesn't like it, the wise man likes it, not the craving people".
Sorry for the improvisation, i just can't find the text right now. I dont't read the scripts in english. I wonder if it is true or not. i guess it is very true.

I cant't imagine how to live in the forest, like the merits did long time ago. The wilderness is not friendly by any means. It was darkness, only the starlight, and the glittering bugs lighted. I examined the stars very carefully. I didn't recognise the great bear or the Orion, but somehow the stars was arranged well. It means that they was arranged in a reasonable way. Some of them was bright, some was dimmed. i know that they are not at the same distance, it is misguiding. I recognized something miracle. It was very scary. But it was beautiful, i cant't write down what i have seen. The wilderness is dangerous, my frinds, so beware. Only a strong one can do this. But i was never in real danger. Only my feelings was strange. There was a bench in the forest, i rested there, i fell asleep. I was like a homeless merit, without any belongings. Scripture says:
"Nobody can tell the way of the wise, they like flying birds"
. Another bad translation, sorry. I had such beautiful feelings i could never tell. You may try it in a safe way.

But it was too much, i craved civilization. All my electricity went off. i went to the street, and examined the halo of the streetlamps. I calmed down, i was alone. Nobody could hurt me in any way. Being so alone was a relief. Only me and the emptiness was around. Technology is stressful, but in this situation, i realized it is not meaningless. People developed technology for good reason. The forest always felt like home. But mankind craves convenience. And the cold sand, the watery swamp, the darkness is not convenient. But i'm sure it is the real life.

Then the dawn came, like an enlightement. Another shapes and colors appeared. The swamp was covered in mist, i have seen the sun rising from the east in yellow color, and at the north was still dark blue. The scent of the leafes is like nothing else. It is a bit sweet and heavy feeling. It cleares the mind. I heard the cricketts all the time.

The point is, that dhamma is the only way. It cleares the mind and feelings, and gives a new sight on the world.

With metta

paul
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Re: Forest

Post by paul » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:35 pm

“The point is, that dhamma is the only way.”

Yes, but it is little recognised because it is the initial stage of practice and the suttas are directed to monks, yet this stage is invariably encountered by lay people. AN 3:100 (i-x) provides a general framework for understanding which perceptions need to be calmed in order to bring the mind to concentration, from lower levels of concentration to higher ones. The discourse describes how before you can bring the mind to concentration, you have to cleanse it of two sorts of perceptions, not only those overcome by right intention (sensuality, ill will and harm) which is well known, but also those related to relationship with human society. Then MN 121 recommends how to overcome perceptions related to human society. One should focus on the perception of wilderness and observes how it is empty of the disturbances that come with the perceptions of “village” or “human being”.---adapted from "Right Mindfulness", Thanissaro Bikkhu.

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of village are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of human being are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of village. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of human being. There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.”

The discourse then progresses to the subject of "earth" and from there to the infinitude of space.
The constant prelude in the suttas where you are advised to go to the foot of a tree means that the cultivation of the perception of wilderness is a necessary step in the early stage, and could remain a permanent meditation subject.
Last edited by paul on Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Garrib
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Re: Forest

Post by Garrib » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:53 pm

As a child I remember having what I considered to be a kind of "insight" and I found it really compelling - It is a really simple thing. I realized people were spending a lot of time and money trying to make things "nice," designing fancy buildings, paving everything perfectly, adding landscaping features, etc...and yet, I noticed that whenever I looked at a place where some more or less natural (less-tampered with) land buttressed right up against a place that was heavily tampered with by humans, the latter looked really ugly and silly. It isn't that nature is so beautiful (although it can be perceived that way), but that it seems to stand apart from the constant anxiety of people in society, it suggests that one can actually relax the body and mind and stop obsessing about how the world can be manipulated. But when I tried to share my thoughts with my parents, I got some backlash. Basically I felt like I was being told I was wrong and stupid, my perception was unimportant - I think they mostly took it as my way of saying 'I don't want to mow the lawn anymore.' (they may have had a point after all!).

I do really feel that nature/forest/wilderness environments offer an excellent stepping stone towards greater peace of mind. But as the OP says, there are dangers associated with the wildnerness, and it can be really scary, especially at night! (I remember camping by myself, and waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of some wild animals, not sure exactly what, circling around my tent - I found it difficult to fall back asleep).

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BasementBuddhist
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Re: Forest

Post by BasementBuddhist » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:54 am

A quote from the never ending source of Buddhist wisdom, 'Game of Thrones': "The night is dark and full of terrors." :tongue:

In seriousness, the forest becomes much less scary once you realize that there is no real difference between it and you. That only your perception makes it frightening.

Also, good on you for having the courage to do it, the first several times you sleep outside alone are very frightening.

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:24 pm

paul wrote:“The point is, that dhamma is the only way.”

This mode of perception is empty of the perception of human being. There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.”

The discourse then progresses to the subject of "earth" and from there to the infinitude of space.
The constant prelude in the suttas where you are advised to go to the foot of a tree means that the cultivation of the perception of wilderness is a necessary step in the early stage, and could remain a permanent meditation subject.
I was in the wilderness at midnight, again, yesterday. I was very careful, but each time, i have some trouble. i was fortunate, because the light of the streetlamps reflected from the clouds, and it was full moon. i could see even my shadow in the moonlight. It seems to be inevitable, a general inconsistence between technology, modern society and nature. I feel that nature tries to get back, what she lost. People mawn the grass and the 4 meter tall strange, stinger plants, but next year, the plants grow even more.

I lost my mobile in the darkness, somehow it fell off my pouch. You know it is a smartphone, worth a month of salary, and it contains a great amount of personal data and application purchases. No one could reach this data, as it is protected by fingerprint and password. I guessed that it must be somewhere in the dark path, among the grass, it was a 500 meter long way. Of course, i didn't fint it. I calmed down, sitting on a bench, and relaxing. I wondered, how much work have lost in a second, as i earn my money with hard work each day. It was not easy thinking that way, if i lose something i will be richer, and belongings are only a trouble. People of India think that way. i did't feel richer as i lost my mobile, my mind is not so clear yet. The only option was wait for the dawn, and it will be way easier to find it. But it was still 6 hours until dawn, so i went back at the same way. i was lucky, it was not in the dark path, but on the street. i just gave up the search, but i found it. This was not the emptiness feeling i was looking for, but it was worth.

It is really just a burden, that people need a lot of things, like houses, cars, phones, computers, electricity, pavement, lamps and endless other things. Heating in the cold, and cooling in the summer. Animals do very well without such problems. Maybe we could live in a natural way, and find some food in nature. i got used to civilization all my life, i guess i must think another way. The nature, and the darkness, particularly in winter is very challenging. Without clothes, i'd freeze to death in winter. It was -15 celsius degree in January. In summer, it was 38 celsius, it is almost 55 degree difference. So we need clothe manufacturing, and houses, a lots of other work, just to survive. i think we could use the resources better, the things are getting more complicated each year. In the time of buddha, people lived in a lot more simpe way.

Wilderness is really a kind of emptiness. The trees, the moon and the leaves of course not full empiness, but nature cleares the mind.
Last edited by oncereturner on Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:53 pm

Garrib wrote: It isn't that nature is so beautiful (although it can be perceived that way), .
I agree, i can perceive nature to be beautiful. I examine it for 10 years, but every time i see and feel something new. The darkness comes again... the wilderness calls me, i dont't know why, i just feel, i must go outside. Yesterday i stepped in a hole (in the dark), and fell down to the ground, in a second, i laid down there, i felt pain in my feet. I go out in the dark, because i don't want to see people, i need calmness. At daytime, dogs and people make me anxious. This time i will be really careful. To be honest, i felt real happiness and tranquillity in life, only when i was in the nature alone.

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:10 pm

I didn't mention the rain before.

I know well it is a blessing for the nature, but can be a great obstacle for the wonderer. I have some experience this night, i had to cancel my evening trip, because the rain didn't stop falling. The water came from above, but the wind blowed the raindrops all around, my clothes was soaking with water. Each day i carry an umbrella, i'm prepared, but nature prepares always even better. The sand in the darkness, which was always safe, bacame slippery, i was nearly falling down to the ground. One just can not prepare for the hardness of the wilderness, each time it is a challange.

It is sure, that the mist of the dark forest was unparalleled to see, as moisture spread. This one is not to first case, i had some trouble with the rain before. Every time it was rush to shelter, i had to dry my clothes by the campfire. Once i fell down to the ground, long ago, on the slippery sand and just lied down in the water. Next time i come back on barefoot, my shoes fell apart from the water. I don't really like to experience the rain, this is the worst thing a homeless or a wonderer can imagine. I was sure it will stop falling, but it didn't, it is still falling. I was fortunate to catch a tram late at night, and rush back.

I'm safe, but again i have a mindful experience with the nature, and i'm sure it is the right way to see the emptiness.

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:57 pm

This time everything was perfect, i was prepared for everything, and walked carefully indeed. None of my accumulators went off. Sadly, electricity is a must nowadays, i think i should get a powerful mobile accubank. I spent the night in the woods, and i finally have seen the Orion constellation. I was very happy. This is a really special sight, i've seen it only twice. Previous time it was maybe 5 years ago, and i was in the marsh, lying somewhere in the grass, and i discovered a beautiful constellation in the sky, didn't know what it is. i searched for the constellations in my book and i realized that this was the Orion. i was so thankful to see it, it is maybe the best thing in life. This time no flashlight was needed, as the full moon shined. i sit on a bench and thinking about the beauty of the nature and the emptiness. i came back comfortably with the bus at 5 am.

Money is a stange thing, we rush every day to work and going crazy. This week was really a madness at work. I must relax in the woods at midnight, in total silence and darkness, this world gives me no another option. I guess something is wrong with this. Money buys everything we crave for and it is a must just to survive. We can't live without food, clothe and shelter, so we need money, so we need to rush, then we should relax and heel (which costs a lot) it is a diabolic circle. i spent half of my monthly salary today for internet, mobile, clothes and so on, money comes and goes. i got a beautiful book containing the paintings of Salvador Dali, it was cheap, but accessing to high culture costs of lot. There are billions of people who can't even afford a copy of dhammapada.

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:10 pm

It seems to be impossible to relax in this world. There are just problems with the midnight trips at weekends, i can't avoid them. It is far more stressful than relaxing. Carefullness is not enough, something happens every time.
At my house, i can't be alone, i don't like this place, i can't meditate at this stinky, noisy ghetto. and the midnight trips are very exhausting and stressful, i's cold. I think i will be sick. At daytime, the free-running dogs and people make me anxious. A dog bite me some years ago. I can't find the solution, i must think. i can't go to the end of the world, because people are everywhere. i can't fly to the antartica every weekend. i must limit this trips for a few times and just hope that nothing unfortunate happens. I must relax somehow, the job and the people make me crazy.

If you have an opinion, please share with me.

santa100
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Re: Forest

Post by santa100 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:19 am

The "covering the whole earth with leather" simile:

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:44 am

Thank you.

The problems escalated, now i have serious juristical and financial issues, not because of the midnight trips. This world is very problematic. I will go the the forest again at weekend, this seems to be the a very little challange right now. I must relax, at every cost. I'm going to be mad. Nature heels, i need emptiness. The problems with the evening trips now seems to be nothing compared to the difficulies of the working man's life. I want to see the darkness and the nothing. I don't even care if i will be sick. Stress against stress... so crazy. I want to escape, for some time. It's one week until holiday, i must survive until then. I want to spend my life in the wilderness. i know some little edible berries, not enough to survive, i just want to escape from this madness.

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:03 am

santa100 wrote:The "covering the whole earth with leather" simile:
It's funny. :) I really got a pair of cheap shoes for the trips. i dont't want to spoil my Puma shoes, sinking in the marsh. :) These new shoes are made of plastic, not leather, and really inconvenient, but seems to be for hard wear. :)

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:13 am

Now I'm write from the forest. It's 4:04 am. It is total darkness, I'm tired. This is real experience, I don't think about Scriptures. I see only trees and mist. I sit on a trunk and thinking, in the middle of the nowhere. I feel happy, despite the cold weather. No one is here, it's very relaxing. I see real emptiness at this place. I don't like the sun anymore, I want the dark. Now it's really darkness. No money can buy this relaxation. I wait until dawn, and in the meantime I'm listening "for the sound of silence".

paul
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Re: Forest

Post by paul » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:01 am

MN 121 states that there is a progression of steps to emptiness, and the foundation is the perception of wilderness. That experience of wilderness should be consolidated as an advance upon perceptions related to human society. Wilderness when you are in it is a theme of contemplation, both day and night. In fact it is the foundation for all subjects of meditation. When you go to the wilderness you don't experience emptiness, the experience is wilderness and it should be consolidated.

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:09 pm

paul wrote:MN 121 states that there is a progression of steps to emptiness, and the foundation is the perception of wilderness. That experience of wilderness should be consolidated as an advance upon perceptions related to human society. Wilderness when you are in it is a theme of contemplation, both day and night. In fact it is the foundation for all subjects of meditation. When you go to the wilderness you don't experience emptiness, the experience is wilderness and it should be consolidated.
Dear Paul,

I see you are from Vietnam, we are very far from each other indeed. I don't know what is the situation in your country. There are several dangerous places in the world.

I feel very fortunate, as I found a safe semi-wilderness place, i want to go among the trees in total darkness, and no one can find me. There is nothing i should afraid of, no animals, people are kind and no one wants to hurt me. At midnight, by the way, no one is around. If i accidentally meet someone, i surely know he will not hurt me. It's seems to be nearly impossible, but it is true. i can travel back by the bus, any time, if i feel unconfortable. It's raining for a week constantly, i hope tomorow there will be no rain. My ankle hurts, as i stepped in a hole, i can't hardly walk, but i got some medicine. Darkness, wet and cold is the main issue. Like a crazy, I pursuit loneliness and emptiness, at any cost. i feel claustrophobia in the city, meditation is not enough, i need open space.

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:36 am

I didn't go the the forest for a month, as a result, I got sick mentally. In addition I deleted 10.000 photos of the plants and flowers, 8 years of photography. I recovered 1500 of them with a software, and I made 130 new photos.
I was in the woods again last week, and my mind healed. I visited the forest at daylight, so lots of people and dogs was around, but at least I was not in danger (stepping into a hole, disorientation, injuries etc). In Europe it is getting very cold at night, it's raining every second day.

Tomorrow rain is coming again, I must go to the wild, my mind is full of scrap to the deepest level, the advantage of rain is that much less people is around.

Nothing can replace the nature and the emptiness. I must seek shelter from the craziness of the capital city and the traffic madness, and of course the job. By the way, it is for free. Rain is a blessing after all, the fog clears the mind, and water clarifies the mind and body.

netlava
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Re: Forest

Post by netlava » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:46 am

Reading through this thread, I was reminded of the following poem for some reason.
The world offers no escape. Even I hide in the mountains, only to hear the haunting cry of deer.

-Fujiwara no Shunzei

paul
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Re: Forest

Post by paul » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:40 am

“The world offers no escape. Even I hide in the mountains, only to hear the haunting cry of deer.”

The above quote does not take into account the graduated path described in the Pali Canon and in particular in MN 121. Wilderness as a subject does not represent full meditational development, but the Buddha recommends it as a starting point, while recognising it has a flaw. But while aware of that deficiency, wilderness can still represent a foundation contemplation subject in and of itself, without necessarily proceeding to the next more expansive spatial situation, earth:

“…a monk — not attending to the perception of village, not attending to the perception of human being — attends to the singleness based on the perception of wilderness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of wilderness.”

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of village are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of human being are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.'

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:51 pm

paul wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:40 am

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of village are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of human being are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.'
I agree. I was again in the wilderness at darkness. No people was around, because it was raining. My clothe was full of water. I shooted some of my best photos, the water reflected the lights, and mist was all around. I can' even describe my positive feelings. Walking in the open air is also very healthy. Nothing can help me with my mind, but the wilderness clears my mind in an hour. It's a miracle.

oncereturner
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Re: Forest

Post by oncereturner » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:02 pm

santa100 wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:19 am
The "covering the whole earth with leather" simile:
Very wise man.I have a boots, not leather, but very strong (adidas) and I can go through everything, including mud, stones, scattered glass, stingy plants, tree trunks, water. Covering the world with leather is a joke. :) Thank you for sharing this.

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