How would a Buddhist approach physical pain?

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How would a Buddhist approach physical pain?

Postby ravkes » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:23 pm

Is it possible to be free from suffering even through the worst of physical pain?
Like having your arms chopped off, starvation, thirst, disease, having someone torture you..
All sorts of incredibly painful sensations..you get the idea.
The only way I can see this being experienced is if an intuitive understanding of the illusory nature of reality is revealed..
Making pain just another unreality..
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Re: How would a Buddhist approach physical pain?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:31 pm

I find that if your just mindful of the pain, if you just observe it then there is no mental pain. That is to say we create suffering out of what is just another physical sensation


The Blessed One said, "When touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, were to shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pains of two arrows; in the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental.

"As he is touched by that painful feeling, he is resistant. Any resistance-obsession with regard to that painful feeling obsesses him. Touched by that painful feeling, he delights in sensual pleasure. Why is that? Because the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person does not discern any escape from painful feeling aside from sensual pleasure. As he is delighting in sensual pleasure, any passion-obsession with regard to that feeling of pleasure obsesses him. He does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, or escape from that feeling. As he does not discern the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, or escape from that feeling, then any ignorance-obsession with regard to that feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain obsesses him.

"Sensing a feeling of pleasure, he senses it as though joined with it. Sensing a feeling of pain, he senses it as though joined with it. Sensing a feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, he senses it as though joined with it. This is called an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person joined with birth, aging, & death; with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is joined, I tell you, with suffering & stress.

"Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with a feeling of pain, does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. So he feels one pain: physical, but not mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, did not shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pain of only one arrow. In the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. He feels one pain: physical, but not mental.

"As he is touched by that painful feeling, he is not resistant. No resistance-obsession with regard to that painful feeling obsesses him. Touched by that painful feeling, he does not delight in sensual pleasure. Why is that? Because the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns an escape from painful feeling aside from sensual pleasure. As he is not delighting in sensual pleasure, no passion-obsession with regard to that feeling of pleasure obsesses him. He discerns, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, and escape from that feeling. As he discerns the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, and escape from that feeling, no ignorance-obsession with regard to that feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain obsesses him.

"Sensing a feeling of pleasure, he senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a feeling of pain, he senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, he senses it disjoined from it. This is called a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones disjoined from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is disjoined, I tell you, from suffering & stress.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#shot

This Sutta should go someway in helping to answer your question
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: How would a Buddhist approach physical pain?

Postby Individual » Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:11 am

  • Not "my" pain, just pain
  • Pain is only temporary
  • Pain is my karma. If I respond to it appropriately, I benefit.
  • I should not crave pleasure or be averse to pain
  • "Pain" (physical) not the same as "suffering" (mental).

Also, it isn't strictly buddhist, but deep states of concentration can also help in the relief of pain.

Also... Tylenol! (in moderation) :)
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: How would a Buddhist approach physical pain?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:09 am

It's possible, though I suspect most of us are a long way from being able to experience our arms being chopped off without suffering over it.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: How would a Buddhist approach physical pain?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:58 am

Image
_/|\_
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Re: How would a Buddhist approach physical pain?

Postby ravkes » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:47 am

All great answers.
Even greater image..
Understanding intuitively that pain is just another physical sensation seems to be key here. Seeing right through to the reality of the pain without creating the story about it. Making it possible to be still even when being burned alive..
Thanks guys

:)
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Re: How would a Buddhist approach physical pain?

Postby pegembara » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:31 am

Mental pain is optional but unfortunately not physical pain as the stories of ariyas Godhika, Vakkali, and Channa deaths illustrate.


‘Friend, Sariputta, I do not feel well, will not survive. My unpleasant feelings are severe and increasing, not decreasing. The unpleasant feelings are increasing until the end. Friend, Sariputta, my top hurts a lot. I feel as though a strong man was giving me a headdress with a strong headband. I do not feel well and will not survive. My unpleasant feelings are severe and increasing, not decreasing. The unpleasant feelings are increasing until the end. Friend, Sariputta, my belly hurts a lot as though a lot of air was turning about in my belly. I feel as though a clever butcher or his apprentice was carving my belly with a sharp butcher’s knife I do not feel well and will not survive. My unpleasant feelings are severe and increasing, not decreasing. The unpleasant feelings are increasing until the end. Friend, Sariputta, there is a lot of burning in my body. I feel as though two strong men taking me by my hands and feet are pulling me to a pit of burning embers and are scorching and burning me. I do not feel well and will not survive. My unpleasant feelings are severe and increasing, not decreasing. The unpleasant feelings are increasing until the end. Friend, Sariputta, I will take a weapon to end life.’

http://www.dhammaweb.net/Tipitaka/read.php?id=178
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: How would a Buddhist approach physical pain?

Postby dude » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:40 am

Thank you, pegambara. If a practitioner such as Channa, who studied under the personal instruction of the Buddha, couldn't beat it, can we, who don't even live in his time hope to do better?

Anyone who wants to take the method Shariputra recommended to Channa and see pain as "not me, not myself" is welcome to do that. This Buddhist doesn't like pain. If I have a headache, I'll take an aspirin and be done with it.
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