Twelve ascetic practices

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Twelve ascetic practices (Tib. སྦྱངས་པའི་ཡོན་ཏན་བཅུ་གཉིས་, Wyl. sbyangs pa'i yon tan bcu gnyis; Skt. pāṃśadhūtaguṇa, Pal. dhutanga)[1] — twelve practices of conduct pertaining to the shravaka yana that avoid the two extreme forms of lifestyle, over-indulgence in sense pleasures[2] and excessive self-punishment. They are:[3]

  1. Wearing clothes found in a dust heap,
  2. owning only three robes,
  3. wearing felt or woolen clothes,
  4. begging for food,
  5. eating one’s meal at a single sitting,
  6. restricting the quantity of food,
  7. staying in isolation,
  8. sitting under trees,
  9. sitting in exposed places,
  10. sitting in charnel grounds,
  11. sitting even during sleep, and
  12. staying wherever one happens to be.


  1. In the Pali scriptures there is mention of thirteen practices. See Dhammadana
  2. This is rather a free translation of 'dod pa bsod nyams kyi mtha' (Adam).
  3. According to The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, 'twelve ascetic virtues', vol. 2, p. 169