Ajahn Amaro


Tudong is an ancient monastic practice of journeying on foot through the countryside, often for weeks or months at a time, living simply and close to the elements and often relying on the kindness of strangers to provide sustenance along the way.

The Thai word tudong comes from the Pali dhutaṅga. The term refers to a set of practices such as living on one meal a day, not sleeping in a building or not lying down to rest, which are designed to help us cut through complacency by relinquishing our usual psychological escapes. By limiting access to and control over food, sleep and physical comfort, the only escape from dukkha, the experience of unsatisfactoriness, is via attitude.

Tudong is thus designed to help us meet the customary ways in which we evade, negotiate, deny or weasel our way out of discontent and difficulty and instead learn to be adaptable, spiritually robust. It is very easy to tweak the world in any way we can contrive or finagle, in order to get away from what we dislike and to get what we want; if we are accomplished at such tweaking, we never see how much we have made ourselves slaves to self-centred desire and aversion.

The practice of tudong is one means of breaking free of that bondage and enjoying the bliss of contentment.

This reflection by Ajahn Amaro is from Forest Sangha Newsletter, #93, 2014, (pdf) p. 23.