What are the suttas that note about ascetic practices (dhutaṅga)?


Thirteen kinds of ascetic practices have been allowed by the Blessed One to clansmen who have given up the things of the flesh and, regardless of body and life, are desirous of undertaking a practice in conformity [with their aim].
They are:
i. the refuse-rag-wearer’s practice,
ii. the triple-robe-wearer’s practice,
iii. the alms-food-eater’s practice,
iv. the house-to-house-seeker’s practice,
v. the one-sessioner’s practice,
vi. the bowl-food-eater’s practice,
vii. the later-food-refuser’s practice,
viii. the forest-dweller’s practice,
ix. the tree-root-dweller’s practice,
x. the open-air-dweller’s practice,
xi. the charnel-ground-dweller’s practice,
xii. the any-bed-user’s practice,
xiii. the sitter’s practice (Vissuddhimagga, 2011, pp 55).

Some people argue that these practices are originally introdused by Ven. Buddhagosha thero. However, there are number of suttas and texts in EBTs mention ascetic practices; at least one of them.

I found Sappurisa Sutta (MN 113) mentions number of ascetic practices.
i. paṃsukūliko
ii. piṇḍapātiko
iii. rukkhamūliko
iv. sosāniko
v. abbhokāsiko
vi. nesajjiko
vii. yathāsanthatiko
viii. ekāsaniko

What are the other suttas that discuss about ascetic practices? Is it possible to find all 13 practices in EBTs?


In EBT, please check parivāra, upālipañcakaṃ, dhutaṅgavaggo
Not in any other sutta as far as I know.


One or two also be enough.

Arañña Vagga has few of those.


In SN 16.5, Maha-kassapa states the following nine practices:

Being a forest dweller (arannako), an almsfood eater (pin d apatiko), a rag-robe wearer (pam sukuliko), a triple-robe user (tecıvariko), a person who is of few wishes (appiccho), contented (santuttho), secluded (pavivitto), aloof from society (asam sattho), and energetic (araddhaviriyo).


About Dhuta practice in early Buddhism (the texts: SA 1141 = ASA 116 = SN 16.5; cf. EA 12.5-6), you may read the following article by Choong Mun-keat, pp. 300-302.

Kassapa Samyutta 2017 JRAS.pdf (395.2 KB)
“A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Kassapa Samyutta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on the Venerable Kasyapa”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Cambridge University Press), Vol. 27, Issue 2 (2017), pp. 295-311.


These are not dhuta (/ascetic) practices. But characteristics of sallekha patipadā.

having few wants, being content with what one has, seclusion, uninvolvement in companionship, persistence, virtue (see sila), concentration, discernment, release, and the direct knowing and seeing of release. Sallekha

See Sallekha sutta for more information about sallekha patipadā. Sallekhapariyāya


In the Theragāthā the sitter’s practice is said to have been undertaken by the arahants Anuruddha:

“For the last fifty-five years
I have not lain down to sleep;
Twenty-five years have passed
Since drowsiness was uprooted.”

and Kāḷigodhāputtabhaddiya:

Not lying down to sleep, persevering,
Happy with the scraps in my alms-bowl;
Bhaddiya, son of Godhā,
Practices jhāna without grasping.

Actually the latter appears to have observed almost all of the dhutangas.


Thank you so much for your responses.

All 13 practices are found in main four nikāyas (EBTs).

Suppose my disciples were loyal to me because I’m content with any kind of alms-food. Well, there are disciples of mine who eat only alms-food, wander indiscriminately for alms-food, happy to eat whatever they glean. When they’ve entered an inhabited area, they don’t consent when invited to sit down.
‘Santuṭṭho samaṇo gotamo itarītarena piṇḍapātena, itarītarapiṇḍapātasantuṭṭhiyā ca vaṇṇavādī’ti, iti ce maṃ, udāyi, sāvakā sakkareyyuṃ garuṃ kareyyuṃ māneyyuṃ pūjeyyuṃ, sakkatvā garuṃ katvā upanissāya vihareyyuṃ, santi kho pana me, udāyi, sāvakā piṇḍapātikā sapadānacārino uñchāsake vate ratā, te antaragharaṃ paviṭṭhā samānā āsanenapi nimantiyamānā na sādiyanti (MN 77)


Also worth reading SuttaCentral
“Mendicants, these four people are found in the world. What four?

  1. One person mortifies themselves, pursuing the practice of mortifying themselves.
  2. One person mortifies others, pursuing the practice of mortifying others.
  3. One person mortifies themselves and others, pursuing the practice of mortifying themselves and others.
  4. One person neither mortifies themselves nor others, pursuing the practice of not mortifying themselves or others. They live without wishes in the present life, extinguished, cooled, experiencing bliss, having become holy in themselves.

This sutta describes each, with considerable attention to how to “have this noble spectrum of ethics, this noble sense restraint, and this noble mindfulness and situational awareness,” and what to do once this is established, in terms of practice leading to liberation “neither mortifies themselves nor others, pursuing the practice of not mortifying themselves or others.”