Meditation in Nature

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
User avatar
Lobsang Chojor
Posts: 655
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:08 pm
Location: Yorkshire, England

Meditation in Nature

Post by Lobsang Chojor » Sun Jan 03, 2016 12:11 am

Tashi Delek,

Has anyone here tried to meditate in nature?

And, do you have any advice/techniques for doing this?

:namaste:
"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
  • Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 1520
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: Japan

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by Zhen Li » Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:25 am

I do it from time to time. It's really no different from meditation indoors, with the exception of there being extra distractions (sound, feeling, smells, insects). I'd firstly ensure that I have a firm regimen planned out, i.e. know what to do when I sit, in what order, and so forth. Then, when I sit, be it indoors or outdoors, I know what duty I have set for myself.

Sitting outdoors can be a good way to test how good your focus is. I usually make a rule, such as, if I get distracted I have to start from the beginning (e.g. if I am meditating on the 12 links, I'd have to start back at 1. Ignorance). Focusing comes easily to some, harder to others -- often if you are used to multitasking, you will be more likely to get distracted. Also, when we don't have very active stimulation, something like an itch can feel like the biggest issue in the world! But if we were dancing and singing, we wouldn't even notice an itch like that, and it would disappear before we even noticed it arise. We need to learn how to observe these things arising and passing away as they are -- or to just focus on the task we set for ourselves. Outside, there are extra distractions like this. A bug can be very distracting. But unless we're somewhere with dangerous insects or animals, we really have no reason to worry about any bug crawling on us.

At the same time, one should of course practice the middle way. If it is excessively hot or cold outside, or raining, that may be a good reason to not sit outside. But ideally, I believe, we should be able to be in a state of constant meditation. So we can shovel snow and be in a state of dhyana, or walk in the tropical sun during a heatwave and feel completely comfortable with priti and sukha, while being mindful that if we were to sit without adequate protection from the elements, we might harm ourselves. This is, I think the Ch'an ideal: mindful and in dhyana all the time.

User avatar
Lobsang Chojor
Posts: 655
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:08 pm
Location: Yorkshire, England

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by Lobsang Chojor » Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:21 am

Many thanks for this, I am planning to do this next time I visit the local monastery. I did wonder about insects as I've heard about them being distracting before, but with good practice I think the meditator can manage.

:namaste:
"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
  • Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

SpinyNorman
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:19 pm

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by SpinyNorman » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:42 pm

Manjushri Fan wrote:Has anyone here tried to meditate in nature?
I sit and watch waves regularly, which is a sort of meditation. I also work with the elements while out in nature.

User avatar
Lobsang Chojor
Posts: 655
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:08 pm
Location: Yorkshire, England

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by Lobsang Chojor » Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:55 pm

SpinyNorman wrote:I sit and watch waves regularly, which is a sort of meditation. I also work with the elements while out in nature.
Very cool, in what way do you work with the elements? It shows the stereotype of buddhists :tongue: :yinyang:
"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
  • Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

User avatar
Ayu
Former staff member
Posts: 7007
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by Ayu » Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:58 pm

Depends what kind of nature you mean. :smile:
I love doing meditation outdoors, as long as there are no disturbing phenomena like mosquitos, coldness, storm, rain, burning sun. But if I have some protection against these inclemecies, I love it.
Best meditations I had under trees on hot days, at the seaside with good clothes, on the top of something like a mountain or a tower, in the wood while walking.
I'm so used to do that, thus it's easy to focus the mind on any meditation practice I know. It is even possible to visualize a diety while walking - well, as good as I can. There is no difference between my trials at home or while walking. ;)
If I was handicaped and couldn't go outside into the nature, I would miss it very much.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

User avatar
Virgo
Global Moderator
Posts: 3481
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:47 am
Location: Uni-verse

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by Virgo » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:08 am

Manjushri Fan wrote:Tashi Delek,

Has anyone here tried to meditate in nature?
Yes.
And, do you have any advice/techniques for doing this?

:namaste:
Yes. Go there and meditate. :)

Seriously though, I find it is good for long life practice. You go out into nature, you take a hike through the woods or somewhere like that, you breath the fresh air, after about an hour or so you really start to feel good being in the elements. Being on the earth is good, being near water is good, the warmth of the sun is good, or being near a fire, the fresh air is good, the freedom and space from everything is excellent.

Then you sit down and do some long life or purifcation practice. It is also good to do some yogic breathing and so on.

Being in the elements is good. Even when I am in the city, driving over the Connecticut River on the bridge I open the windows in my Suburu and let some of the fresh air coming off the river in.

Kevin

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 1335
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:50 pm
Location: South Florida, USA

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by seeker242 » Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:39 am

Walking meditation thru a forest is very good. Just like the Buddha did! :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

SpinyNorman
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:19 pm

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by SpinyNorman » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:06 am

Manjushri Fan wrote:
SpinyNorman wrote:I sit and watch waves regularly, which is a sort of meditation. I also work with the elements while out in nature.
Very cool, in what way do you work with the elements? It shows the stereotype of buddhists :tongue: :yinyang:
Mostly practical observation of the 6 elements, ie earth, water, wind, fire, space and consciousness. Being by the sea is a great place to do it!

tingdzin
Posts: 1075
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by tingdzin » Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:06 am

Excellent to do this. It can help with the headiness that is the bane of Western Buddhists, and reintroduce you to Reality in a way that discursive meditation cannot.

If you want a first-class, step-by-step introduction to meditation on the elements, read Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's "Healing with Form, Energy, and Light".

SpinyNorman
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:19 pm

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by SpinyNorman » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:00 pm

tingdzin wrote:If you want a first-class, step-by-step introduction to meditation on the elements, read Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's "Healing with Form, Energy, and Light".
Thanks, but that's too shamanic for my taste. I use the elements more as an insight practice into conditionality and interconnectedness.

SpinyNorman
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:19 pm

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by SpinyNorman » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:02 pm

Ayu wrote:I love doing meditation outdoors, as long as there are no disturbing phenomena like mosquitos, coldness, storm, rain, burning sun. But if I have some protection against these inclemecies...
Something I've noticed is that I'm not at all bothered by natural sounds if I'm meditating outside, though I do still find man-made noise distracting.

User avatar
Ayu
Former staff member
Posts: 7007
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by Ayu » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:21 pm

SpinyNorman wrote:
Ayu wrote:I love doing meditation outdoors, as long as there are no disturbing phenomena like mosquitos, coldness, storm, rain, burning sun. But if I have some protection against these inclemecies...
Something I've noticed is that I'm not at all bothered by natural sounds if I'm meditating outside, though I do still find man-made noise distracting.
Yes, I have to explain, I'm not too often in real lonely nature. I just visit the nature-like spots around the city. People are bothering me, if they come too close. But sometimes this is also just an issue to work with.
Once I sat at the seaside (no meditation posture). It was cold, but some people took a walk on the beach. As I was looking on the waves I expected the people to pass by. But one noisy family decided to take rest just three meters afar from me!!!! :lol:
I never understood, why they where doing this - but it was a good training to keep my mind flexible.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

tingdzin
Posts: 1075
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by tingdzin » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:22 am

SpinyNorman wrote:Thanks, but that's too shamanic for my taste. I use the elements more as an insight practice into conditionality and interconnectedness.
There are also the kasina meditations in Theravada, some information on which is available on the Internet. These are usually (I think) used to develop shamatha, but there are some methods which also go into vipassana stuff.

SpinyNorman
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:19 pm

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by SpinyNorman » Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:44 am

tingdzin wrote:
SpinyNorman wrote:Thanks, but that's too shamanic for my taste. I use the elements more as an insight practice into conditionality and interconnectedness.
There are also the kasina meditations in Theravada, some information on which is available on the Internet. These are usually (I think) used to develop shamatha, but there are some methods which also go into vipassana stuff.
Yes, I've used a colour kasina in the past. You can also work with the elements, altbough I find watching waves more illuminating than looking at a bowl of water. ;)

In terms of the OP, an interesting distinction is meditating in nature v. meditating on nature. I seem to recall watching clouds while I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism.

User avatar
skittles
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:24 am

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by skittles » Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:04 am

I tried meditating at the beach once. Seemed like a good idea, but it really wasn't.

When you meditate regularly, you want a space that is consistently good for meditating in. A room without windows or noise or vibrations traveling through the floor is good. If the room is on the first floor and there is a second floor that is better too, because the rain can be noisy. It's also nice if you're the only one that ever goes in for some reason. Go underground if you can. If you can, keep the wiring in the walls to a minimum if you can hear or feel the wires and magnetic fields oscillating.
"My main teacher Serkong Rinpoche, who was one of the teachers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, explained that having a protector is like having a very strong and vicious dog. If you are a strong person, you could go sit and guard your own gate every night to make sure that thieves don’t attack, but usually people wouldn’t do that. It’s not that we don’t have the ability, it’s just: why bother? You could post a dog there instead." - Alex Berzin http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... rs_ab.html

SpinyNorman
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:19 pm

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by SpinyNorman » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:35 am

skittles wrote:If you can, keep the wiring in the walls to a minimum if you can hear or feel the wires and magnetic fields oscillating.
Maybe an isolation tank would be useful: ;)
http://www.collective-evolution.com/201 ... -and-soul/

User avatar
skittles
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:24 am

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by skittles » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:49 am

That sounds nice. It would complicate using all my ritual doodads and reading my texts.
"My main teacher Serkong Rinpoche, who was one of the teachers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, explained that having a protector is like having a very strong and vicious dog. If you are a strong person, you could go sit and guard your own gate every night to make sure that thieves don’t attack, but usually people wouldn’t do that. It’s not that we don’t have the ability, it’s just: why bother? You could post a dog there instead." - Alex Berzin http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... rs_ab.html

Sennin
Posts: 716
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by Sennin » Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:11 pm

For me at around the 45 minute mark into meditation or simply relaxing outside, I find the petty disturbances are more of enhancements and ornaments. Meditating outside is extremely pleasurable to me if in the right conditions, but I find being inside more introspective.
Shhh, look...a crystal!

User avatar
Qing Tian
Posts: 262
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:18 pm

Re: Meditation in Nature

Post by Qing Tian » Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:09 pm

A couple of weeks ago I was in the garden practising - taijiquan and so on - and at the end of my exertions I stood in the centre of the lawn for a moment before sinking into a cross-legged seated position. Automatically I began anapanasati. It was early evening. Time passed. Cats entered the garden, prowled around. Birds visited and re-visited. A hedgehog trundled across the lawn. All was as it should be. I felt a deep sense of peace. Heaven knows what the neighbours thought to see a man all dressed in black meditating in the middle of his garden.

In general, the sounds I find distracting are associated with powered devices; tools, cars, industry and so on. People, animals, insects, the weather are just natural.

Out in the public part of nature, as it were, I similarly find no difficulty in meditating. Not sure why, but probably it is because I sit without the expectation of being disturbed, so I am not tense and anxious to begin with.


Will have to consider this some more on the next outward trip.
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”

Post Reply

Return to “Meditation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 17 guests