Abstaining from lying down: anyone practiced this Dhutanga?

I was inspired by a Taiwanese monk to try abstaining from lying down.
And after reading this encouraging article on how to ease into sleeping while seated cross-legged, I resolved to make an effort.

Just wondering if anyone else has any experience they might be willing to share?

If not, please let me know if this undertaking is of interest to y’all and i will try to document my own experience in the interest of providing info and encouragement to future practitioners.

Many Thanks!



Here is a thread that talks about this topic. Please have a look using the search facility, before posting new topics. We have such a treasure house of resources, all archived :slight_smile: Hence we are not like general chat rooms, rather we look to get good in depth answers to subjects, that are archived, and can be easily accessed by search :slight_smile:

Enjoy :slight_smile:


There is an intense exam held by the scholastic Japanese Hossō sect, a variety of East Asian Yogācāra Buddhism, that a German recently passed. This thread reminded me of it.

From the linked article:

The examination process is no simple task. The examinee must undertake three grueling and strictly regulated weeks of pre-examination training, which they spend in isolated study. For the duration of the training, the monk must memorize lengthy Buddhist texts written in Kanbun, a form Classical Chinese used in Japan from the Heian period (794–1185), including learning the correct intonation for recitation.

During this period of rigorous training, the subject is permitted to eat only two meals per day: breakfast and lunch, and must sleep while seated upright. The student is allowed to leave the study room on the 1st, 6th, 11th, 16th, 21st, 26th, and 31st days of the month but only to visit certain other places, such as making pilgrimages to the nearby Kasuga-taisha Shinto shrine.

The oral examination itself, known as ryugi , lasts two hours, during which the subject is required to answer doctrinal questions from the examiner in a dialogue style. Although the contents of the exam are revealed beforehand, the questions must be answered in correctly expressed Kanbun.

Ahead of his exam, Saile was quoted say saying: “I am nervous, as this is an ancient event that has been carried out over 1,000 years. I hope to perform in the exam satisfactorily and meet everyone’s expectations.” ( The Mainichi )

Hosso school monastics are permitted to undertake the exam only once in their lifetime. In the past, failing has resulted in the monk’s expulsion. Saile is the first Kofuku-ji monk to sit for the the exam in eight years. It also marks one of the rare occasions that a foreigner has passed the exam.


@MOCA what do you mean by dance in the topic title? Is it a typo? :confused:

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I took it as a colloquialism, like if you were getting on a train and said you were doing the “locomotion mambo.” Maybe that is just my demented head. :upside_down_face:


Haha, yes maybe you’re right. :smile:

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Do (you) tango? :dancer::man_dancing:


In the context of an extended meditation retreat, your need for sleep starts to go way down (as you’re simply not exposing yourself to so much stimulation and activity). In that context, refraining from lying down for a few days or even weeks can be very beneficial.

However, I don’t recommend it as an extended practice. There were a couple monks at my temple (one has since left) who took on this practice more permanently, and both developed serious back problems from the slouching, sleeping-while-sitting position.


Thanks very much! I suppose I will delete this topic.
Is there a suitable place to report my findings after the experiment?

EDIT: erm… How do i delete the topic again?

:wink: to “dance”, not literally, but figuratively. Abstinence, when done with skill, appears effortless and joyful!


What is the purpose of abstaining from lying down?
Why not re-direct all of that effort towards developing skill in the Noble Eightfold Path instead?


i like your down-to-earth questions.

my understanding of the optional austerities (dhutanga) prescribed by the teacher is that one invest energy in the present in order to arouse even greater energy.

my friend, if you would be so good as to point out for me – a sleepy slothful man of low energy and prey to many vices – a still more skillful way of developing the path than arousing energy, i will bow down to you in gratitude.

lol, no need. I am still learning too.

Perhaps focusing one’s efforts on the sixth factor of the Noble Eightfold Path could be a suitable practice - to be honest, for me too!


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What is the purpose for the “greater energy”?

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i think we’re both pursuing the same thing in our own way

… ?
not sure i understand the question. it seems profound.

in either case, the answer is ‘to walk the path’

I noticed that I didn’t clarify, by sixth factor, I meant right effort or energy.

I noticed you seem to be doing a practice (austerity) in order to arouse energy as the end.
It made me think instead of developing a means to get to energy as the end, why not develop that directly as a means to happiness or Nibbana as the end.

Perhaps reflection on the prospect of (y)our own eventual death could help arouse urgency, which seems related in that it could help overcome cloth.

Another simple solution could be to eat more moderately and healthy foods - this is often related to energy levels. Walking meditation seems like it could help overcome stagnation.

For me personally, I think trying to studying and practicing the Dhamma-Vinaya as a whole seems sufficiently challenging and engaging to arouse energy - perhaps learn parts of the Dhamma-Vinaya that I wasn’t aware of previously.


of course. you put me to shame with your considerate reply.
i hope mine does you justice.

actually, we are in accord that skillful use of energy is a means to nibbana.

indeed :slight_smile: i can attest to the many benefits conferred by these practices.

but then, sometimes the mind is inspired by a nagging ambition to go beyond these, and take on a challenge because it is difficult.

here is my question for you to consider:

how else but by harnessing and taming our own natural energies are we to be bold and challenge the limits of what we think is possible?

at the risk of disruption, each of us is responsible for remembering that we play a decisive role in either imposing or abandoning limitations on the mind.

the path starts with right view, and to me, right view is calculated risk. like the scientific method.



Thank you for thinking in a discerning fashion about the value of what you are posting. Would you like one of the moderators to delete this thread?

Alternatively we could close it for you, so that no further comments are possible Which do you prefer?