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I've been trying to find some info on meditation outdoors here. But I don't. My reason for asking is that I like, as far as possible, to sit outside in meditation. In my country, Norway, there's a lot of forest in the vicinity, even in the cities. And as I understand, Siddhatta Gotama and his followers were were also (at least outside the Rains) sitting outside.

A forest is never quiet. You notice that when you are quiet. And it's not "neat and clean" (When instructors talk about places for meditation, they usually say the place should be neat and clean). A forest is usually pretty noisy, uneven and unruly. It's full of stuff, sounds, insects, and animals. But for me this is not disturbing, sounds, (human) animals and "stuff" is more disturbing inside. This might be because I've always felt peace and ease in the forest.

So I'd like to hear from you more experienced people if some of you have been doing any meditation outdoors and what your experiences and advices would be.

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Meditation is about going deep into the silence within. This is why quiet and solitary places are preferred. Nature can provide a good background for people to meditate. But as you mention, it can also cause distractions. Do the best you can wherever you are. Just remember the purpose. Traditionally renunciates have lived in caves or the forest and so they meditate outside naturally. They have to learn to deal with all the distractions of bugs. You should not add impediments. If you want to renounce and live in the forest, you will probably have to go to the Himalayas and find a guru. Otherwise, meditate wherever helps you go deep into yourself. The key principle is that where you meditate should not be a preoccupation. The mind is enough of a challenge.

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  • Quiet, but not necessarily solitary? People also meditate together. – ChrisW Dec 28 '15 at 1:33
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    Quiet and solitary are not absolutes, but they are preferred generally when it comes to a day to day practice that is independent. Meditating with the guru is a good thing. Meditating with a group is better than not meditating. When I say preferred I mean that is how traditionally it is done, to avoid disturbances. It's just logic that generally you are less likely to be disturbed if you find somewhere that is solitary. There are cases where you would prefer to meditate with the guidance of the guru, the instructions of the guru will always take precedence. – Marcus Quinn Rodriguez Tenes Dec 28 '15 at 1:44
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    We are talking about ideal circumstances here, for going into silence. It's not necessary to do the exact ideal to make progress. Do the best you can. – Marcus Quinn Rodriguez Tenes Dec 28 '15 at 1:45
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Do it as much as possible. When ever there is a remote forest left, there is still a "birthplace" for another Arahat.

At least, its not only to get wean of what you are attached to, but also a place that changes very very quick and no chance to control it, whether, tracks, beings, coming and going, disturbances, pleasure... no one in charge of all your fruits, of this world.

Where ever you find a lot of insecurity there is the place to make understanding of anicca secure. There are many scholars and teachers today, but actually very less forest dweller. If one need some inspirations, Atma had seen, that Upasaka Robin occasionally writes about forest experiences.

How ever, please keep also this sutta in mind, since it is not so easy as it seams: (just fail to remember... A "romantic Monk requested to live alone and meditate on a beautiful spot he had seen, the Buddha refused serial times (learn first!) but at least he went, being confronted with nothing but unwholesome thought, he soon returned)

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It is generally advisable to have a small enclosed room (Kuti) if you are a beginner. This generally protects your from disturbances. The wind or weather can sometimes be a distraction.

When you are accomplished perhaps a cave or even under a tree when the weather is good might be ideal.

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When I was on holiday at my sisters's place aside a forest in Finland I had my best meditation-practices in my early years of practice. That what you might call "distracting" was soft: a soft wind , some insect making a little noise - it even helped to step outside of the "focusing objects"-mood of the mind and to fall into the detached "being-aware". Of course, there is a limit for the loudness - especially for the beginner that I was, but happily it was always below that level when I have been there.

In my hometown it is much more difficult for me to stay in meditation when sounds distract/disturb, perhaps that sounds are more aggressive. I remember, however, when I was a child and have been at my grandma's there was a big wooden clock softly clicking and sometimes a sound from the tram two streets away - and which as well helped to flow into a deep peaceful meditative and still aware state.

I like the answer of Samana Johann where he says "When ever there is a remote forest left, there is still a "birthplace" for another Arahat." That's really a nice observation, indeed!

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  • Maybe valued Upasaka (?) Gottfried Helms (klingt als würden Sie Deutsch sprechen), is doesn't likes it much, if Atma would suggest Upasaka to spend much on meditation in the home town. There seems to be more base to investigate Dhammas and not to much enjoying just fruits. There is certain "romantic" danger with it although that the righteous gained and enjoyed place of Arahants have been always remote nature: Upasaka might enjoy some of the Theragata to get much inspirations to do not avoid the task in the jungle home town. – user11235 Dec 28 '15 at 14:16
  • Welcome @Samana Johann, ja ich spreche Deutsch viel besser als Englisch... Especially I miss many words for the discourse on the Dharma - but, well, does this really matter... – Gottfried Helms Dec 28 '15 at 18:43
  • So is it, so ist das, it really does not matter in Dhammic sense, es macht im Sinne des Dhammas nichts aus. You are as all others, welcome to join sangham.net for dhammic purposes, language does not matter in German is the main language at this time there. – user11235 Dec 30 '15 at 5:28

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