Hunting and Gathering the Dharma

An American abbot in California, trained in the Thai Forest tradition, chooses the fringes of wilderness over domesticated urban Buddhism and extols the virtues of the wandering, mendicant monk.Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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© Ray K. MetzkerDawn. I'm sitting at the edge of a mesa in southern Utah. Above me is a vast, pale expanse of sky; below me, the town of Rockville; and beyond it rise the rose—and salmon—colored cliffs of Zion National Park.

If this were Thailand, I could go down into Rockville for alms. Then I'd be free to wander the mesas—meditating under rock ledges by day and on top of them by night—for weeks on end. As it is, the friend who drove me here will soon be fixing our meal, and in only a few days we'll have to retUrn to our responsibilities in California: his to his family, mine to my monastery.

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