SuttaCentral

Should I take a nap?


#1

Hi Friends,
A while ago I created this EBT related flowchart for a friend’s birthday. I thought I would share it for your entertainment and benefit.


#2

:laughing: Too much thinking :rofl:

better to > take a nap :smiley:


#3

If only I had this as a young monk, things would have been so much easier!


#4

This is my favorite thing I’ve seen in a while. :heart:


#5

That chart is stunning and I no longer feel alone in my nodding. :rofl:

Thank you for the insight on carbs. :pray:

And regarding sleepiness during walking meditation I have found even more remedies:

  • walk faster and breathe more :running_man:
  • walk slower and balance on one foot longer :leg: :foot:
  • step on a rock or sharp seed unintentionally :small_red_triangle: :foot: :scream_cat:
  • walk in the street wary of cars :scream_cat:
  • stop and stand with eyes closed (standing meditation) :business_suit_levitating:

#6

Listen to some fast dance music, if you’re a lay person!


#7

Since making this I have seriously cut back on the naps. However, while making it it was indeed too much thinking and many naps were required.


#8

I have seen a lot on cutting down on sleeping in the EBTs and in the western work ethic. I guess it’s an antidote to laziness. But I also get to see people who are suffering because of lack of sleep, sometimes due to these same teachings in the meditation class, cultural expectations or shift work patterns. I recall Ajhan Brahmavanso asked one woman to sleep in the first few days of the retreat as she was stressed from overwork.


#9

I was very surprised to read about cutting down on sleeping in the EBTs. It seemed quite harsh and mortifying to self and others given that one can die from lack of sleep.

Yet I have slowly come to see another perspective, that one might indulge in sleep just as one might indulge in eating. And I have also found that meditating before sleep reduces tiredness. It is rather…interesting. :thinking:


#10

No you’ve been attacked by a ‘confounder’ - the gradual lack of sleep, is due to a prion disease, which eventually kills them.

I’ve also found sleeping in preparation for meditation, helps.

Does sleeping mean you are under the spell of one of the five hindrances - sloth and torpor?! Apparently this isn’t right as the Buddha and arahanths slept. Then what is sloth and torpor?


#11

A better wording of mine would have been “there is fatal insomnia”. There are also indications of harmful long-term effects of lack of sleep.


#12

Mat: as a doctor, are you telling us that humans don’t actually need sleep?


#13

au contraire I think there’s a piece of work to be done, to ferret out the difference between natural sleepiness and sloth & torpor.

Since it wouldn’t be possible to know how much is sloth and torpor and how much is natural sleepiness the best experiment would be to measure how much one normally sleeps vs how much they sleep when at a retreat. That is, after they have developed a near jhana level of samadhi; of course it will be hard to recreate but it it is likely to see a drop in the number of hours required.


#14

Yes. How much sleep was considered appropriate in the Buddha’s day? Were people then as sleep deprived as we are now? Were they generally indulgent, and sleeping a great deal? The background seems to matter when the advice is to be relatively wakeful. I could see this perhaps being terrible advice in some cultural contexts, but great in others.


#15

The Buddha’s instructions on sleep were generally directed at monastics. Most of us aren’t over worked and sleep deprived like the lay community.

Speaking from personal experience, sleep can be a great way to indulge and also avoid facing up to the crazy mind and the (intentional) monotony of daily life in a monastery. Since realising that I was using my afternoon nap as an idulgence and escape mechanism it has mostly been canned. I only tend to need a nap if I’ve had a ‘busy’ by monastery standards day.

I was listening to a talk recently, possibly by Aj. Amaro, which said that the amount of sleep even arahants take is very variable. Also, HH Dalia Lama says in one of his recent books he needs a full 8 hrs to function, but that he likes getting up at 3.30am to meditate. Personally, I seem to have found my sweet spot at around 6hrs and I think that’s what many in my community get too.


#16

good teachings to recall and recite are these;
admonishment given to the monks in the an6.17

[…]those mendicants who were junior, recently gone forth, newly come to this teaching and training slept until the sun came up, snoring. The Buddha saw them doing this, with his clairvoyance that is purified and superhuman. He went to the assembly hall, sat down on the seat spread out, and addressed the mendicants:

“Mendicants, where is Sāriputta? Where are Mahāmoggallāna, Mahākassapa, Mahākaccāna, Mahākoṭṭhita, Mahācunda, Mahākappina, Anuruddha, Revata, and Ānanda? Where have these senior disciples gone?”

“Soon after the Buddha left those venerables each went to their own dwelling.”

“So, mendicants, when the senior mendicants left, why did you sleep until the sun came up, snoring?

What do you think, mendicants? Have you ever seen or heard of an anointed king who rules his whole life, dear and beloved to the country, while indulging in the pleasures of sleeping, lying, and drowsing as much as he likes?”

“No, sir.”

“Good, mendicants! I too have never seen or heard of such a thing.

What do you think, mendicants? Have you ever seen or heard of an appointed official … a hereditary official … a general … a village chief … or a guild head who runs the guild his whole life, dear and beloved to the guild, while indulging in the pleasures of sleeping, lying, and drowsing as much as he likes?”

“No, sir.”

“Good, mendicants! I too have never seen or heard of such a thing.

What do you think, mendicants? Have you ever seen or heard of an ascetic or brahmin who indulges in the pleasures of sleeping, lying, and drowsing as much as they like? Their sense doors are unguarded, they eat too much, they’re not dedicated to wakefulness, they’re unable to discern skillful qualities, and they don’t pursue the development of the qualities that lead to awakening in the evening and toward dawn. Yet they realize the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements.”

“No, sir.”

“Good, mendicants! I too have never seen or heard of such a thing.

So you should train like this: ‘We will guard our sense doors, eat in moderation, be dedicated to wakefulness, discern skillful qualities, and pursue the development of the qualities that lead to awakening in the evening and toward dawn.’ That’s how you should train.”

also the Kusita-Arambhavatthu Sutta: The Grounds for Laziness & the Arousal of Energy
it is quite long so i will spare you the wall of text but it is a very good one for these purposes
Kusita-Arambhavatthu Sutta: The Grounds for Laziness & the Arousal of Energy