Suffering in relation to sensations

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ravkes
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Suffering in relation to sensations

Postby ravkes » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:00 am

Before I came across the Buddhadharma I suffered a lot mentally. I had done drugs, I was doing poorly in school and I was about to kill myself. It was only until I started a meditation practice that I started to see clearly. I saw how 100% of my suffering was self-inflicted, therefore I after 6-8 months of mindfulness meditation my suffering diminished.

I can definitely see how meditation and the teachings of the Buddha can help someone suffering in that sense. But how would his teachings apply to someone who is starving, extremely thirsty or undergoing severe physical pain? Could these sensations simply be seen as they are without suffering?

If this is the case, millions in poverty could be helped.

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Goofaholix
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Re: Suffering in relation to sensations

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:18 am

I think if somebody is starving then the mental anguish (aka suffering) that results is the least of their problems. Better to feed them.

However if somebody who was free from suffering found themselves starving then yes they wouldn't suffer.
"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

ravkes
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Re: Suffering in relation to sensations

Postby ravkes » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:28 pm

True. I guess my question wasn't phrased that well though. I can see many spiritual teachers and Zen Masters who preach about how to ease mental suffering, but when you throw them into a situation where physical pain is in the mix they'd probably suffer like the rest of us. Which makes me think that the Dharma is for people who already have their basic needs met to ease very obvious illusory suffering (petty crap brought upon those who cannot enjoy their luxuries, spiritual searching). Therefore, if people who really need the dharma (the impoverished because they're too busy trying to get food and water to meditate) can't practice it then what's the point?

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kirk5a
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Re: Suffering in relation to sensations

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:44 pm

ravkes wrote:True. I guess my question wasn't phrased that well though. I can see many spiritual teachers and Zen Masters who preach about how to ease mental suffering, but when you throw them into a situation where physical pain is in the mix they'd probably suffer like the rest of us. Which makes me think that the Dharma is for people who already have their basic needs met to ease very obvious illusory suffering (petty crap brought upon those who cannot enjoy their luxuries, spiritual searching). Therefore, if people who really need the dharma (the impoverished because they're too busy trying to get food and water to meditate) can't practice it then what's the point?

It's easy for me to say that someone busy trying to get food and water can practice. I humbly acknowledge I'm nowhere near that situation. But, I believe such a person can practice, even someone on their deathbed can practice. Here's an example from the suttas:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

[Anathapindika:] "I am not getting better, venerable sir. I am not comfortable. My severe pains are increasing, not lessening. There are signs of their increasing, and not of their lessening. Extreme forces slice through my head, just as if a strong man were slicing my head open with a sharp sword... Extreme pains have arisen in my head, just as if a strong man were tightening a turban on my head with a tough leather strap... Extreme forces carve up my stomach cavity, just as if an expert butcher or his apprentice were to carve up the stomach cavity of an ox with a sharp butcher's knife... There is an extreme burning in my body, just as if two strong men, seizing a weaker man with their arms, were to roast and broil him over a pit of hot embers. I am not getting better, venerable sir. I am not comfortable. My severe pains are increasing, not lessening. There are signs of their increasing, and not of their lessening."

[Ven. Sariputta:] "Then, householder, you should train yourself in this way: 'I won't cling to the eye; my consciousness will not be dependent on the eye.' That's how you should train yourself. 'I won't cling to the ear... nose... tongue... body; my consciousness will not be dependent on the body.' ... 'I won't cling to the intellect; my consciousness will not be dependent on the intellect.' That's how you should train yourself.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

ravkes
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Re: Suffering in relation to sensations

Postby ravkes » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:35 am

WOW. Great passages. Thank you. Seems so easy to do intellectually, but to actually realize it into one's being.. that's a different story eh?

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kirk5a
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Re: Suffering in relation to sensations

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:03 pm

The instructions did bring immediate relief to Anathapindika. If we decide "it's easy" we might overlook the clinging as it is happening. If we decide "it's hard" we might overlook being awake right now. Cheers!
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Suffering in relation to sensations

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:59 pm

Hi ravkes

On the one hand there is no point waiting until everything is perfect before we begin practice - it will never happen. On the other hand if things arent quite good, it can difficult for someone to start the practice. One way or the other, the important think is to begin practice and keep going. When practice is sufficiently advanced, even extreme pain wont get in the way- I know of one person from the meditation class that I teach had her baby, without pain relief, using practice methods.

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