I posted this question in Were the Buddha's extreme ascetic practices also Brahminical? - #9 by thomaslaw
But it may be useful to have an individual topic, Dhuta-angas in Early Buddhism, for discussion:
The Visuddhimagga lists the thirteen ‘ascetic practices’ dhuta-angas (Dhutanga - Wikipedia). Do any EBTs or Pali suttas record the Buddha teaches all the thirteen practices of dhuta as a set of practices?
One of the dhuta practices, no. 13. "Sitter’s Practice (nesajjik’anga) — living in the three postures of walking, standing and sitting and never lying down ", seems very difficult to practice, and also not good for health, both mental and physical. What do you think regarding this dhuta practice? Is this practice useful for the cessation of dukkha?
They are in the Theragatha, the list of 13 isn’t there, but a similar list of practices is. See Thag16.7, Kāḷigodhāputtabhaddiya. These practices also get a reference in the Anguttara nikaya, in the Book of Fives, starting from AN5.184.
There is at least one other individual bhikkhu who reported not lying down, Venerable Anuruddha, at Thag16.9 (who didn’t lie down for fifty-five years). For a full list of references see the relevant PTS dictionary entry: SuttaCentral
This is also reported of a handful of known male and female Buddhist meditation masters in history, and likely even more unknown ones too.
Many elderly people sleep upright regularly, it’s not so hard to do in a good chair. But your feet might swell if you do it a lot. I could imagine that some people might prefer the lighter sleep they get in a chair.
It seems that at least they were well-regarded in the early sangha, which would be a hint for their effectiveness. See for more details Freiberger (2006): “Asceticism and Its Critics: Historical Accounts and Comparative Perspectives” (243-246).
Thanks for the suttas information on dhutangas. I think the lifestyle of dhutanga practices is not about sila in early Buddhism.