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Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:55 am
by polarbear101
Hi everyone,

I was just wondering which Theravadin country or countries have the greatest opportunity or most wilderness for bhikkhus to actually live in as forest monks. If I ordain after I finish college I would probably want to go to a country with lots of wilderness so I guess that's the main reason why I'm asking, but also I'm just curious in general.

I imagine that the countries to choose from are:

Thailand
Burma
Laos
Cambodia
Sri Lanka
Bhutan?

and maybe throw in

Nepal
India

:anjali:

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:41 am
by pilgrim
I think Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka all have living traditions of forest monks. They exist in Laos and Cambodia too but you can't wander off by yourself in these countries as there are still a lot of unexploded mines and other ordnance around. The forest tradition is absent in Nepal and India although there are some monasteries in rural areas and there is no Theravada in Bhutan.

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:26 am
by James the Giant
I think sri lanka and burma have more forest left than thailand.

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:44 am
by SarathW
Definitely Sri Lanka! ;)

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:12 pm
by makarasilapin
100% Sri Lanka, and Thailand's forest are nearly all gone

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:47 pm
by SarathW
Better be quick.
Sri Lankans are catching up with westerners and Asia (China). Industrial development comes with a great damage to environment. People living in Sri Lanka do not have any appreciation for what they got. They are so taken by Western values and chasing material possessions. Very soon they will start clearing forests and will start building concrete jungles. I remember our village monk (he disrobe later) burn the whole forest and plant banana trees. Now the land is neglected. The forest did not recover even after fifty years. Some of the trees burnt were more than hundred years old. I was young, I just cried in my heart because they destroy the forest we use to play! :cry:

Only the westerners can stop this destruction. Because many of the people in third world countries are ignorant!

PS: If you go to Sri Lanka and go to Kandy, Please go to Udavatta Kale to see the sample of saved ancient forest. (walking distance from the town or just 2 dollars for the taxi)
There are some forest monks living there as well.

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:55 am
by polarbear101
SarathW wrote:Better be quick.
Well, as long as they still have good forests in 2.5 years I should be fine. But yeah, it is looking like Sri Lanka and Burma are the two best choices right now, I suppose I would lean towards going to Sri Lanka though but we'll see.

Too bad Bhutan is mahayana though, that would be an awesome place to become a bhikkhu.

:anjali:

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:09 am
by Kamran
Personally, I would make sure there is at least purified drinking water available(using modern purifiers that remove parasites).

From what I have read, it seems many have contracted serious diseases and nasty parasites by just going out into the forest or remote villages.

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:15 am
by pilgrim
Living in the forest may sound romantic but after the initial period of novelty can become quite tedious. It is no surprise that people who live in rural areas tend to migrate to the cities for better living conditions.

Bhutan in Vajrayana, but you can get similar living environments in neighbouring Nepal which has a vigorous Theravada community which speaks some English.
http://theravadanepal.net/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:04 am
by polarbear101
I'm not making any definitive statements right now about living as a forest bhikkhu and I would definitely stay as a lay person for some unknown period of time in the area where I would plan to ordain to see if I think I can handle it but still, being a forest bhikkhu would be the ideal (but not the only option) if I choose to ordain. And if I do ordain then I would do it with the intention of completing the path so hopefully I would have the resilience to put up with the hardships of the forest. This sutta comes to mind when I think about this topic:
"And what are the fermentations to be abandoned by tolerating? There is the case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, endures. He tolerates cold, heat, hunger, & thirst; the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles; ill-spoken, unwelcome words & bodily feelings that, when they arise, are painful, racking, sharp, piercing, disagreeable, displeasing, & menacing to life. The fermentations, vexation, or fever that would arise if he were not to tolerate these things do not arise for him when he tolerates them. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by tolerating.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thanks for all the help and suggestions.

:anjali:

Re: Theravadin country with the most forest/wilderness?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:24 am
by SarathW
Hi PB
Thanks for posting the quote from Sutta. I think living as a lay person is worse than living in a jungle or a forest. I test my virtues by trying to live with all the negative things that you find in a so called civil society. I think I can’t avoid Dukkaha by even if I hide behind a rock.