Upali Learns to How to Live as a Hermit

1A few months ago I wrote here why some people find meditation blissful and others misery. Here is a sutta that takes that idea to the extreme.

Once the monk Upali came to the Buddha and said, “Teacher, I think it is time that I should go deep into the jungle and live as a hermit.”

The Buddha replied, “It is very hard to live as a hermit in the jungle. Few people really enjoy that much solitude. If you don’t have jhana, the jungle can drive you truly crazy. If you try it without jhana, you will simply fail.

“Imagine that there is a deep lake. An elephant could come to the lake to happily play and wash. He is large enough to stand even in the depths of the lake. But if a rabbit or a cat tried the same thing, they wouldn’t be able. They are not big enough to find their footing. It’s the same as someone trying to be a hermit in the jungle without jhana.

-Anguttara Nikaya, Book of Tens, #99


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