Ayya Vimala, Ayya Viveka, Ayya Kathrin and Anagarika Sabbamitta will go on Tudong from 1st-14th May 2017 in Germany and Belgium. For a Tudong, there is never an exact route but more a general direction. We will start on 1st May in Sankt Wendel in Saarland, Germany and walk towards the site of the new Tilorien monastery in Belgium.
‘Tudong’ is the Thai form of dhutanga, meaning literally ‘means of shaking off’, i.e. the practices that emphasise renunciation, and it can refer to the thirteen dhutanga austerities, or to the forest bhikkhus who live observing all or some of these and other renunciate practices, or more narrowly, to the custom of walking for weeks, months, or even years on end with just a bowl containing spare robes and essentials such as a razor, sewing equipment and matches; a water kettle; and a ‘glot’ – a large umbrella with mosquito-net which acts as a tent. Mostly dhutanga walks are undertaken by bhikkhus of the forest monasteries when they are considered stable enough and well grounded in the Vinaya-discipline. You have to learn to live simply to go tudong, and to handle yourself with skill in the face of such difficulties as not finding alms food, disease, and bad weather. Moreover, for a foreigner there are the problems of language and custom, and as a meditator outside the shelter of the teacher, doubts about one’s practice and one’s purity, I could see quite clearly that it would be enormously strengthening to walk through that lot and keep on going, and its flavour and appearance very much fitted those ideals of homelessness and simplicity that had led me to take ordination.
Note from Ayya Vimala on 20-04-2017: Something changed in my plans due to the work that needs to be done for SuttaCentral Next. It has been difficult for me in the last months to find enough time to spend on the coding of the front-end and I cannot see this situation change until the end of June. Therefore, I have decided not to go on the Tudong but to do a coding/meditation retreat for 2 weeks instead.
However, the Tudong will continue with Ayya Viveka, Ayya Kathrin and Anagarika Sabbamitta. Sabbamitta will post frequent updates on Facebook with pictures of the nuns on Tudong as long as they are in Germany. The pictures from their passage through Luxembourg/Belgium will be posted afterwards.