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dhutaṅga yathāsantatika


Meaning of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga

The Pali term «yathāsantatika» means «the one who has the habit of only dwelling at a spot attributed to him».

"yathāsanta" = "spot attributed for dwelling"

When this practice is conveniently done, with constancy and diligence, with the determination of not breaking it, we say that there is «yathāsantikaṅga» (state of mind arising out of dwelling on a spot that is attributed to oneself).

When a bhikkhu (responsible or having more seniority) tells another bhikkhu, who practises the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga: «This spot is yours, please do settle down here!», the bhikkhu is well contented with that spot, without searching for another.

Adoption of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga

For adopting this dhutaṅga, it is convenient to pronounce the following phrase whether in Pali, whether in the language of one's choice...

In Pali:

«senāsanaloluppaṃ paṭikkhipāmi, yathāsantatikaṅgaṃ samādhiyāmi.»

In English:

«I renounce to change of spot once such a sleeping spot has been attributed to me, I will train into being self-contented with the sleeping spot that will be attributed to me.»

The three kinds of practitioners of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga

According to restrictions, there do exist three kinds of practitioners of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga:

  1. ukkaṭṭha yathāsantatika, the noble practitioner of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga
  2. majjhima yathāsantatika, the intermediate practitioner of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga
  3. mudu yathāsantatika, the ordinary practitioner of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga

1. the noble practitioner

The noble practitioner of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga doesn't ask for changing the sleeping spot even if something prevents him for sleeping. When someone ascribes a spot to him, he doesn't ask: «Is there any danger?», «Is there not any danger?», «Is it far off?», «Is it close by?», «Are there snakes?», «Are there scorpions?», «Are there insects?», «Is there hot weather in it?», «Is there cold weather in it?», etc.

Should he inquire this way, his dhutaṅga is no more the one of a noble practitioner.

2. the intermediate practitioner

The intermediate practitioner of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga can inquire about the spot that is attributed to him, but shouldn't proceed to watch it. If he does so with the intention to check out whether this spot is convenient for him or not, he is just an ordinary practitioner.

3. the ordinary practitioner

The ordinary practitioner of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga can inquire about the spot that is attributed to him as lodging and proceed to watch it for ascertaining by himself. Should this spot pose a threat to his health, or if it doesn't provide any tranquillity, he can ask for his spot to be changed without however breaking his dhutaṅga.

The advantages of the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga

By practising the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga, we can benefit with the following advantages...

  1. Obeisance to the instructions given by Buddha when he says: «One must know how to be fully contented with the conditions we benefit with and what we get.»
  2. Joy and will to see one's companions always satisfied with their lodging.
  3. We get rid of the state of mind (detrimental for the development of vipassanā or of samatha) that lies in considering, verifying and deeming the quality of things.
  4. Reject of the appreciation and the depreciation.
  5. Closure of the doors of attachment and desire cultivated towards other monasteries (sleeping spots) that we do not have.
  6. We benefit with a convenient means to provide for what we need, while managing to be satisfied with little.

Remark: the practice of a dhutaṅga alone enables one to understand its advantages.

The way to break the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga

As soon as a bhikkhu who practises the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga, who cannot be satisfied with the spot that is attributed to him for settling down, harbours the wish to change the spot, with the intention to obtain a better lodging, he breaks his dhutaṅga.

The way to practise the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga

In a monastery belonging to the saṃgha, is usually found a person who is in-charge of attributing to bhikkhus dwelling spots, backing up with their seniority (the best spots being attributed to the eldest monks (in seniority). When we attribute his lodging spot to a bhikkhu who practises the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga, the later should not say: «It is a good spot», «It is a bad spot», «There is hot weather in it», «There is cold weather in it», «It is spacious», «It is too narrow», etc. He must accept his spot without protests, neither by making comments. He should not either ask from a bhikkhu who has more elderliness than himself that the later should give him his spot. He should merely be contented by dwelling, fully satisfied, in the lodging that has been attributed to him.

Encouragement to practise the yathāsantatika dhutaṅga

By practising this dhutaṅga, we get rid, within our mind, of the desire to obtain good spots and things. We are very easily contented with what we get. We can be satisfied with strict minimum, even with the worst sleeping mat. We are free of aversion, we are very tolerant.

For these reasons, Buddha himself and bhikkhus endowed with wisdom do practise this dhutaṅga.

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Origin: Book in Burmese language

Author: Monk Devinda

Date: 2001

Translator: Monk Dhamma Sāmi

Date of translation: 2004, January

Update: 2005, June the 18th