July 4, 2012

The 13 Austere Practices


When studying the practices of wandering monks, I came across the thirteen Austere practices .These thirteen Austere are as follows:

1. Refuse-rag-wearer's Practice— wearing robes made up from discarded or soiled cloth and not accepting and wearing ready-made robes offered by householders.
2. Triple-robe-wearer's Practice — Having and wearing only three robes and not having additional allowable robes.
3. Alms-food-eater's Practice— eating only food collected on pindapata or the almsround while not accepting food in the vihara or offered by invitation in a layman's house.
4. House-to-house-seeker's Practice— not omitting any house while going for alms; not choosing only to go to rich households or those selected for some other reason as relations, etc.
5. One-sessioner's practice— eating one meal a day and refusing other food offered before midday. (Those Gone Forth may not, unless ill, partake of food from midday until dawn the next day.)
6. Bowl-food-eater's Practice— eating food from his bowl in which it is mixed together rather than from plates and dishes.
7. Later-food-refuser's Practice — not taking any more food after one has shown that one is satisfied, even though lay-people wish to offer more.
8. Forest-dweller's Practice— not dwelling in a town or village but living secluded, away from all kinds of distractions.
9. Tree-root-dweller's Practice— living under a tree without the shelter of a roof.
10. Open-air-dweller's Practice  — refusing a roof and a tree-root, the practice may be undertaken sheltered by a tent of robes.
11. Charnel-ground-dweller's Practice — living in or nearby a charnel-field, graveyard or cremation ground.
12. Any-bed-user's Practice— being satisfied with any dwelling allotted as a sleeping place.
13. Sitter's Practice— living in the three postures of walking, standing and sitting and never lying down.

I have often thought about wandering the land and practicing some of these such as numbers 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. The others really would not apply for my life. To roam, meditate wherever I may be, observe nature, live in harmony with it, would be a dream come true. Romanticism? Perhaps. I have responsibilities and this prevents me from following this path. However, one can always find ways to live like this in small measures, and seek to be one with the universe at all times.

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