A Nice Night’s Sleep in the Cold Forest (podcast)

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And speaking of sleep…

Once the Buddha was staying near Alavi on a mat of leaves by a cow path in the Simsapa Woods. Hatthaka, out taking a walk, saw him there. He bowed to the Buddha and ask, “I hope you have been sleeping well on this mat of leaves.”

“Yes,” the Buddha replied, “I always sleep well.”

“But,” said Hatthaka, “these winter nights are cold. There is a lot of snow this time of year. The cow path has been trampled hard, and your mat of leaves is very sparse. Your robes are thin, and the wind is blowing hard. How can you still sleep well out here?”

“Let me ask you a question,” said the Buddha. “Let’s say there was a rich man with a nice house. It was well-made and free of drafts. Inside there was a comfortable horse-hair couch with a fleece blanket, a wool blanket, an embroidered blanket, and a deer-hide blanket. It also had a canopy and red cushions. There was a lamp always burning, and his 4 charming wives were there to give him every comfort. What do you think, would he sleep in ease?”

“Yes, absolutely.”

“But isn’t it possible that he might become seized with desire for something? That he might want something that he could not have?”

“True.”

“And if he was seized by desire for something, wouldn’t his sleep be disturbed? But I have abandoned this kind of desire. It has been completely destroyed and will never bother me again, so I sleep with ease.”

“And isn’t also possible,” continued the Buddha, “that this rich man could could be seized by hatred for something or someone? That he would despise them.”

“Yes, that is so.”

“And if he was seized by hatred for something, wouldn’t his sleep be disturbed? But I have abandoned this kind of hatred. It has been completely destroyed and will never bother me again, so I sleep with ease.”

“And isn’t also possible,” continued the Buddha, “that this rich man could could be seized by delusion?”

“Yes, that is so.”

“And if he was seized by delusion, wouldn’t his sleep be disturbed? But I have abandoned this kind of delusion. It has been completely destroyed and will never bother me again, so I sleep with ease.”

-Hatthaka Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya III.35

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