Living in forests far away from other people is not true seclusion. True seclusion is to be free from the power of likes and dislikes. It is also to be free from the mental attitude that one must be special because one is treading the path.
Those who remove themselves to far forests often feel superior to others. They think that because they are solitary they are being guided in a special way and that those who live an ordinary life can never have that experience. But that is conceit and is not help to others. The true recluse is one who is available to others, helping them with affectionate speech and personal example.
From "Buddha Speaks," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.