"When clansmen have gone forth from the home life into homelessness out of faith in me, they have me for their leader, their helper, and their guide," said Buddha.
"But, one would think the jungles must rob a bhikkhu of his mind if he has no concentration," said a Brahmin.
"That is so," said Buddha. (1-2)
Buddha went on. "Remote jungle-thicket resting places in the forest are hard to endure, seclusion is hard to practise, and it is hard to enjoy solitude; before my enlightenment, I too considered thus," said Buddha. "But I do not resort to remote jungle-thicket resting places as one unpurified in bodily conduct. I considered, "I resort to remote jungle-thicket resting places with bodily conduct purified and purified in livelihood, uncovetous, free from ill will and intentions of hate. (2-9)
"I have a mind of loving-kindness, am without sloth and torpor and am of a peaceful mind. And I have gone beyond doubt, am not given to self-praise and disparagement of others. (9-14)
"I am not subject to alarm and terror; I am free from trepidation. Further, I do not desire gain, honour, and renown. I have few wishes. Nor am I lazy and wanting in energy, but energetic. (14-16)
"I am not unmindful and not fully aware, as I am established in deep mindfulness. I am not unconcentrated and with a straying mind, but established in concentration. (17-18)
"I also considered: 'Whenever drivellers devoid of wisdom resort to remote jungle-thicket resting places, their defective wisdom and drivel evoke unwholesome fear and dread. But I am not like that, I have wisdom, and found great solace in dwelling in the forest,"" said Buddha. (19, abr.)
On the surface of it, this enumeration of strong qualities against dread and fear, pertain to living along in a jungle. Well applied to the jungle of modern living, such qualities are helpful still for those who seek some time alone daily to regenerate and develop mentally or spiritually, or both. ◦Transcendental Meditation goes a long way in helping a city dweller, helps being established, gives energy or vitality if well done on a regular basis. Several research findings support it thus.
Buddha: "I considered thus: 'There are specially auspicious nights . . . If I were to dwell in horrifying abodes on such nights, perhaps I might encounter fear and dread.' Later I dwelt in such places, and a wild animal would come up to me, or a peacock would knock off a branch, or the wind would rustle the leaves. I thought: 'What now if this is the fear and dread coming?' But then I thought: 'Why do I always expect fear and dread where I dwell? What if I subdue that fear and dread while keeping the same posture that I am in when it comes upon me? (20)
"While I walked and the fear and dread came upon me; I neither stood nor sat nor lay down till I had subdued that fear and dread. While I stood and the fear and dread came upon me; I neither walked nor sat nor lay down till I had subdued that fear and dread. While I sat and the fear and dread came upon me; I neither walked nor stood nor lay down till I had subdued that fear and dread. While I lay down and the fear and dread came upon me, I kept that position till I had subdued that fear and dread. (20)
By parallell, to remember a dream that you just had, a counsel is to resume again the position you had the dream in. It can help one to "get in the mood" of the dream again.
"There are some recluses and Brahmins who perceive day when it is night and night when it is day. But I perceive night when it is night and day when it is day. Furthermore, one should say I have appeared in the world for the welfare and happiness of many, and done so out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of gods and humans. (21)
"Budda goes on: "Tireless energy was aroused in me and unremitting mindfulness was established, my body was tranquil and untroubled, my mind concentrated and unified." (22)
"Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered on and abided in the first dhyana with rapture and pleasure. (23)
"With the abating of sustained thought in deep meditation, I entered on and abided in the second dhyana of self-confidence and singleness of mind with rapture and pleasure. (24)
"When rapture faded, I abided in equanimity, mindful and fully aware, still feeling pleasure with the body, and entered on and abided in the third dhyana, which is characterised thus: 'He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.' (25)
"With pleasure and pain abandoned [for a while], and with joy and grief previously disappeared from my well unified mind, I entered on and abided in the fourth dhyana, which is marked by sound and pure mindfulness through equanimity. (26)
"When my well unified deep mind was thus purified, malleable, very steady, I directed it to recollect past lives and recollected manifold births - a hundred thousand births and many more – and aeons of world-contraction and expansion. With their aspects and particulars I recollected my manifold past lives. (27)
"This was the first true knowledge attained by me in the first watch of the night. Deep knowledge arose, light arose, for I was diligent, ardent, and resolute. (28)
"When my well unified meditative mind was thus purified, bright and steady, I directed it to knowing of the passing away and reappearance of beings. With the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I saw beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate.
"I understood how beings pass on according to their actions thus:
'These beings who were ill conducted in body, speech, and mind, revilers of noble ones, wrong in their views, giving effect to wrong view in their actions, when the body dissolves after death, they have reappeared in a state of deprivation, in a bad destination, in perdition, even in hell.
But worthy beings who were well conducted in body, speech, and mind, not revilers of noble ones, right in their views, giving effect to right view in their actions, when the body dissolved after death, they have reappeared in a good destination, even in the heavenly world.'
Thus with the purified divine eye, which surpasses the human, I saw beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and I understood how beings pass on according to their actions. (29)
"This was the second side to true and fair knowledge attained by me in the middle watch of the night. True knowledge arose, and light arose, as happens when one abides ("high in deep mind", i.e., reaches essential knowing) - diligently, ardently, and resolutely thus. (30)
"Then I directed a greatly focused, purified, bright and steady awareness ("mind") on knowing about destruction of taints, and I directly realized, 'This is suffering'; I directly knew, 'This is the origin of suffering'; I directly knew as it actually is: 'This is the cessation of suffering'; I directly knew as it actually is: 'This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.' And I directly knew what are mind taints, their origin, their cessation, and also directly knew a way leading to the cessation of the taints." (31)
"When I knew and saw all that, my mind was liberated from sensual desire, from carnal ignorance. When it was liberated, there came the knowledge: 'It is liberated.' I directly knew: 'A holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done." (32)
"This was the third true knowledge that I attained in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was banished and light arose, as happens in one who abides diligent, ardent, and resolute. (33)
"Brahmin, I still resort to remote jungle-thicket resting places in the forest because I see two benefits in it: a pleasant abiding for myself here and now, and compassion for future generations. (34)
The Brahmin: "Indeed, an Accomplished One has compassion for future generations. Magnificent! You have made the Dharma clear in many ways, revealing what was hidden, like holding up a lamp in the dark for those with eyesight. Master Gautama, remember me as a follower." (35)
Siddhartha Gautama (Sanskrit) is Siddhattha Gotama in Pali.
It may be wise to study the whole suttra/sutta before making any resolves in matters they pertain to, while allowing for a variety of interpretations.
Nanamoli, Bhikkhu, tr. and Bhikkhu Bodhi, ed. The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya. 4th ed. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ Parts are online at Access to Insight,
Upalavanna, Sister, tr. Majjhima Nikaya. Sri Lanka: Metta Net. Online.
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