Jnana wrote:tobes wrote:I'll grant you that that if the objective of your meditation is achieving the jhanas, then the mountaintop is infinitely superior; you would be explicitly be withdrawing from the senses, and in the latter two, from any kind of form.
But if the objective of your meditation is gaining insight into emptiness, then there is no need to withdraw from the senses and the various worlds of form.
It's a very glib juxtaposition you make - if you're in the forest your mind could be occupied with the most perverse of sexual fantasies, and if you're online you could be conducting a webcast enlightening hundreds of dharma students. In both cases, what do you think really matters?
Most of the great Buddhist teachers have spent considerable time, even the majority of their lives, in retreat. Resorting to the wilderness is also included in numerous practice injunctions. For example, Tilopa:
KYE MA! Listen with sympathy!
With insight into your sorry worldly predicament,
Realising that nothing can last, that all is as dreamlike illusion,
Meaningless illusion provoking frustration and boredom,
Turn around and abandon your mundane pursuits.
Cut away involvement with your homeland and friends
And meditate alone in a forest or mountain retreat;
Exist there in a state of non-meditation
And attaining no-attainment, you attain Mahamudra.
I'm not denying that there are great ascetic traditions in many Buddhism's.
But to take even the tradition you cite here - for every Milarepa in a cave, there are a hundred Kagyupa's in noisy monasteries.