Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

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gavesako
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Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by gavesako » Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:20 pm

This ascetic practice (nesajjika, "sitter's practice") which is undertaken by some monks, apart from causing back and neck problems over long periods of time, also seems to have other side effects. Interestingly, the Buddha never mentions these extreme practices as part of any standard list in the Suttas, and yet they seem to have been practised by some monks and later became standardised in the 13 dhutangas.

See http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 03,0,0,1,0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
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Jojola
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Re: Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by Jojola » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:12 pm

gavesako wrote:This ascetic practice (nesajjika, "sitter's practice") which is undertaken by some monks, apart from causing back and neck problems over long periods of time, also seems to have other side effects. Interestingly, the Buddha never mentions these extreme practices as part of any standard list in the Suttas, and yet they seem to have been practised by some monks and later became standardised in the 13 dhutangas.

See http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 03,0,0,1,0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I'm trying to find info regarding these alleged problems that arise from this practice do you know where I can find documentation on this? When you say "over long periods of time" are we talking months or years?

Reason I'm asking is I intend on undertaking this practice, I've dozed off before sitting upright while meditating and I simply just come to and keep practicing so I'm not sure what the problem is, aside from it isn't appropriate for anyone who isn't sincerely earnest in their determination to attain samma-samadhi, nor is it appropriate for anyone who can retain concentration in the other postures, even while working - I can't.
Regards,

- :heart:
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"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:

R1111
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Re: Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by R1111 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:25 pm

Is the Sitter's Practise ever mentioned in the Tipitaka? There are very sympathetic passages in the VM fwiw.

paul
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Re: Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by paul » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:07 pm

AN 4:28 describes the four traditions of the Noble Ones regarding robe, food, dwelling and right effort. It can be seen that the thirteen standardised ascetic practices listed in Vism.II are based on these four divisions and the final two dealing with sleeping practice are presumably an expression of right effort regarding the hindrance of sloth and torpor, which is hard to overcome and not conquered until arahantship is attained.
AN 7:58 takes as given the aspirant maintains a sitting position at night and only lies down as last resort, striving to always maintain a sitting position.
Last edited by paul on Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:39 pm

gavesako wrote:Interestingly, the Buddha never mentions these extreme practices as part of any standard list in the Suttas,
It's true that the practices are not mentioned collectively in any single sutta. However, ten of them are given in a series of successive suttas in the Anguttara Nikāya, starting with the Araññika Sutta:
“Bhikkhus, there are these five kinds of forest dwellers. What five? One who becomes a forest dweller because of his dullness and stupidity; one who becomes a forest dweller because he has evil desires, because he is driven by desire; one who becomes a forest dweller because he is mad and mentally deranged; one who becomes a forest dweller, [thinking]: ‘It is praised by the Buddhas and the Buddhas’ disciples’; and one who becomes a forest dweller for the sake of fewness of desires, for the sake of contentment, for the sake of eliminating [defilements], for the sake of solitude, for the sake of simplicity. These are the five kinds of forest dwellers. One who becomes a forest dweller for the sake of fewness of desires, for the sake of contentment, for the sake of eliminating [defilements], for the sake of solitude, for the sake of simplicity, is the foremost, the best, the preeminent, the supreme, and the finest of these five kinds of forest dwellers.

“Just as, bhikkhus, from a cow comes milk, from milk comes curd, from curd comes butter, from butter comes ghee, and from ghee comes cream-of-ghee, which is reckoned the foremost of all these, so one who becomes a forest dweller for the sake of fewness of desires … for the sake of simplicity, is the foremost, the best, the preeminent, the supreme, and the finest of these five kinds of forest dwellers.”
(AN. iii. 219)
In the suttas that follow, the same is repeated for five kinds of...

wearers of rag-robes
tree-root dwellers
charnel-ground dwellers
open-air dwellers
observers of the sitter’s practice (nesajjikā)
observers of the any-bed-user’s practice
observers of the one-session practice
observers of the later-food-refuser’s practice
observers of the practice of eating only food in the almsbowl

In the Theragāthā the sitter’s practice is said to have been undertaken by the arahants Anuruddha:
“For the last fifty-five years
I have not lain down to sleep;
Twenty-five years have passed
Since drowsiness was uprooted.”
and Kāḷigodhāputtabhaddiya:
Not lying down to sleep, persevering,
Happy with the scraps in my alms-bowl;
Bhaddiya, son of Godhā,
Practices jhāna without grasping.
Actually the latter appears to have observed almost all of the dhutangas.
https://suttacentral.net/en/thag16.7

Finally, in the MN's Sappurisa Sutta the sitter's practice, along with some other austerities, is included in a list of several good practices that certain monks undertake for bad reasons.

form
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Re: Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by form » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:55 am

He mentioned four kinds of sleep postures in AN.

Lying facing upwards (his comment is like a corpse)

Lying on left side (comment: sensualist)

Lying on right side (lion pose)

Meditative sitting (tathagata posture)

R1111
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Re: Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by R1111 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:24 pm

The Visudhimagga passage goes something like this
"...,
Disciple who can place cross-wise his feet to rest upon his ties,
Sleeping with his spine erect..."

Might refer to necessity of specifically full lotus, Pali grammar would be interesting.
I know for sure that one can be unconscious with perfect posture in full lotus for long periods of time, not sure this is doable in other positions.

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Jojola
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Re: Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by Jojola » Sun May 21, 2017 11:33 pm

R1111 wrote:The Visudhimagga passage goes something like this
"...,
Disciple who can place cross-wise his feet to rest upon his ties,
Sleeping with his spine erect..."

Might refer to necessity of specifically full lotus, Pali grammar would be interesting.
I know for sure that one can be unconscious with perfect posture in full lotus for long periods of time, not sure this is doable in other positions.

Sleeping with straight spine in half lotus is possible.
Regards,

- :heart:
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:

binocular
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Re: Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by binocular » Mon May 22, 2017 9:31 am

I wish I could rest as deliberately and as consciously as I work, eat or as I wash myself. I think it would be a truly helpful skill to have.

2600htz
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Re: Nessajika: Sleeping upright not lying down

Post by 2600htz » Mon May 22, 2017 8:28 pm

Hello:

Pretty much anything can cause health problems, and the article only talks of the drawbacks of sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation on meditators i guess is a little different, so its even harder to get somewhere.
Anyways, i think we all agree that its not a practice suited for everyone.

Regards.

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