Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 07/23/2021

Solitude and Kalyanamittata

From Nyanamoli Bhikku’s latest book:

Q: The Buddha encourages the development of seclusion. What then is the best way to cultivate it?

Nyanamoli: You need to start exposing yourself to seclusion gradually. Needing others, however subtly, is quite a serious compro- mise for someone interested in practising the Dhamma. I’m speaking specifically about needing others for your existential wellbeing and sanity. That’s a massive compromise and a huge risk if you never become independent of it. We are all owners of our actions, fully enclosed within them and ourselves. What you do stays with you. No other person can help you with that or take away from yourburden. It’s always on you, your intentions, your decisions, your actions: they always stay within you. You are bound up with your actions and burdened by the results of them. Company makes us forget that.

Thus, you’re alone whether you want to be or not. Enclosed within yourself. Most people choose to distract themselves from that truth. Lots of effort is invested in ignoring it. However, the recognition of that profound truth is where the Dhamma practice starts. You can be very close to others, but fundamentally, your feelings, your choices and responsibilities are things only you are privy to. Rec- ognizing this can reveal that heavy burden, and that’s exactly what the Buddha meant by saying “beings are the owners of their actions”. And the burden accumulates through that ownership and ignorance.

Dhamma within Reach, pp.59-60

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