Arahants experience of painful feeling

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby Coyote » Wed May 07, 2014 5:39 pm

I have only a very basic knowledge of abhidhamma terminology, so please bear with me.

I have read that abhidhamma states that painful feeling only arises with akusala citta. (See Sujato "mystique of the abhidhamma"). Since an arahant cannot give rise to akusala citta, this could mean only two things in the case of painful feeling (say he/she stepped on a pin), especially in light of suttas like SN 36:6.

1. The painful feeling would arise, but be regarded with kusala citta together with equanimity.
2. The painful feeling itself would be considered neutral feeling. What would ordinarily be considered painful feeling would actually arise as neutral feeling.
3. Or is it something else?

This has been bugging me for a while so any answers are very much appreciated.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby robertk » Wed May 07, 2014 6:18 pm

Coyote wrote:I have only a very basic knowledge of abhidhamma terminology, so please bear with me.

I have read that abhidhamma states that painful feeling only arises with akusala citta. (See Sujato "mystique of the abhidhamma"). Since an arahant cannot give rise to akusala citta, this could mean only two things in the case of painful feeling (say he/she stepped on a pin), especially in light of suttas like SN 36:6.

1. The painful feeling would arise, but be regarded with kusala citta together with equanimity.
2. The painful feeling itself would be considered neutral feeling. What would ordinarily be considered painful feeling would actually arise as neutral feeling.
3. Or is it something else?

This has been bugging me for a while so any answers are very much appreciated.

Dear coyote
Actually painful feeling arises with only some akusala cittas- namely those associated with dosa.

It also arises with some bodily feeling which is vipaka citta , not akusala, and an Arahat may have numerous painful bodily feelings.

Painful feeling is always painful even for an Arahat.
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1288
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby Coyote » Wed May 07, 2014 6:23 pm

robertk wrote:Dear coyote
Actually painful feeling arises with only some akusala cittas- namely those associated with dosa.

It also arises with some bodily feeling which is vipaka citta , not akusala, and an Arahat may have numerous painful bodily feelings.

Painful feeling is always painful even for an Arahat.


Dear Robert, thanks for the reply.

So this should be considered the difference between mental and merely physical pain?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby robertk » Wed May 07, 2014 6:31 pm

Yes an Arahat may experience bodily painful feeling -which is still mental -but directly associated with body.
But he does not have any of the painful feelings associated with aversion that we run of the mill people have so often.
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1288
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby Coyote » Wed May 07, 2014 7:03 pm

Many thanks Robert for your help.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed May 07, 2014 7:54 pm

Hello.

I remember this was discussed about a year ago, but not in the context of abhidhamma. I brought the question up on this topic. The suttas seem to indicate that an arahat can experience unpleasant sensations arising from contact of all of the six senses _ including mind contact. The difference is that the arahat is not disturbed by unpleasantness of any kind. Or so it seems. The link goes to the relevant part.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16735&start=80#p239460

Be well.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
User avatar
Modus.Ponens
 
Posts: 2044
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Funchal, Portugal

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby Peter » Fri May 16, 2014 11:45 am

robertk wrote:Yes an Arahat may experience bodily painful feeling -which is still mental -but directly associated with body.
But he does not have any of the painful feelings associated with aversion that we run of the mill people have so often.


Hello

There is also a story about the Buddha where he had an injurie and did spend the night somewhere and the doctor
could not com to him because doors were closed.
The next morning the doctor asked him about the pain. Yes, indeed the body did feel pain, but the pain was not in the Buddhas mind.
So it is written when I memorize right.

If you feel pain, e.g. toothpain, you can go and pay no attention to the pain by doing something what takes your mind away from the pain.
Isn,t it possible ?
Controlling your mind.

:yingyang:
User avatar
Peter
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 9:13 am

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby Mkoll » Fri May 16, 2014 1:59 pm

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha at the Maddakucchi Deer Reserve. Now at that time his foot had been pierced by a stone sliver. Excruciating were the bodily feelings that developed within him — painful, fierce, sharp, wracking, repellent, disagreeable — but he endured them mindful, alert, & unperturbed. Having had his outer robe folded in four and laid out, he lay down on his right side in the lion's posture, with one foot placed on top of the other, mindful & alert.
SN 1.38

"Unperturbed" seems to be a key word here. Ven. Bodhi has "without becoming distressed". If someone versed in Pali can provide an etymology and additional translations, that'd shed further light.
Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 3521
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby randall » Sat May 17, 2014 1:41 am

hi coyote,

To understand 'S,iv,6' in terms of abhidhamma for an arahat (in my limited understanding) you need to have some basic understanding of the thought process, the 89 cittas, javanas and the ten fetters.

the sutta teaches:
...when the instructed noble disciple is contacted by a painful feeling, he does not sorrow, grieve, or lament; he does not weep beating his chest and become distraught. He feels one feeling--a bodily feeling, not a mental one. Suppose they were to strike a man with a dart, but they would not strike him immediately afterwards with a second dart, so that the man would feel a feeling caused by one dart only. So too, when the instructed noble disciple is contacted by a painful feeling.... he feels one feeling--a bodily one, not a mental one.

Being contacted by that same painful feeling, he harbours no aversion towards it. Since he harbours no aversion towards painful feeling, the underlying tendency to aversion towards painful feeling does not lie behind this.....He understands as it really is the origin and the passing away....


In the thought process when there is physical contact there arises either 'kusala vipaka citta' or 'akusala vipaka citta' accompanied by pleasant feeling or painful feeling, then the process does a couple other things(investigates and determines) then the process reaches the javanas. all of these cittas so far will remain fixed on either the kusala or akusala it started with, there's no changing them. But just after these we come to the "javanas" which are seven cittas, their function is to run through or "experience" the resultant citta. These javanas are not fixed, they can be kusala or akusala or kiryia for arahats based on the "wise attention or unwise attention"(yoniso manasikara) we have at that moment(s) of "experience".

In the abhidhamma there are 89 cittas(different types of consciousnesses), around half of them can/will be the consciousnesses that are doing the function of being aware during the javana part of the thought process(obviously not all at once). Some are akusala, some are jhana and some are beautiful wholesome cittas etc. For normal people like us who have not cut off any of the fetters, we can have 'wise attention' some of the time but chances are unless your able to keep mindful all the time were probably having 'unwise attention' by constantly reacting with craving and aversion due to ignorance. With an arahat since they have cut off all 10 fetters, this makes it virtuously impossible for any of the unwholesome cittas that we normal people react with to even arise.

There are ten fetters which can all can be associated with unwholesome cittas in some way or other:
1)personality-belief
2)doubt
3)clinging to rights and rituals
4)sensuous craving
5)ill will
6)craving for fine-material existence
7)craving for immaterial existence
8)conceit
9)restlessness
10)ignorance

1-3 are cut off at sotapanna, once returner has "diluted" the grosser parts of 4-5 on top of cutting off 1-3, a non-returner fully cuts off 1-5, and an arahat abandons all 10 fetters. All of these fetters can be associated with the 14 akusala cittas that are rooted in greed, hatred and delusion.



An arahat can experience the painful feeling(first dart) but their mental reaction(second dart) will only go as far as neutral feeling due to having all unwholesome cittas abandoned due to cutting off the 10 fetters. It should be noted that the cittas that arise for an arahat are kiriya(functional cittas) and they have no kammic potency, while the cittas that arise for everyone else are still subjected to kamma.



edit:
I'm sure there's a lot more involved to have a more detailed explanation. My understanding is pretty limited and more general.


sources:
Comprehensive manual of Abhidhamma: pg. 124,171,172
Visuddhimagga I, 53-59
MN 2 (Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes)
MN 27,15 (Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes)
The Displeller of Delusions I, pg 10-11
Mind Overcoming it's Cankers, Acharya Buddharakkhita
Last edited by randall on Mon May 19, 2014 3:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"Bhikkhus, possessing five factors, speech is well spoken, not badly spoken; it is blameless and beyond reproach by the wise. What five? It is spoken at the proper time; what is said is true; it is spoken gently; what is said is beneficial; it is spoken with a mind of loving-kindness. Possessing these five factors, speech is well spoken, not badly spoken; it is blameless and beyond reproach by the wise."
AN 5 198
randall
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:13 pm

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby SarathW » Sat May 17, 2014 6:50 am

Randall
Excellent, as always!
:goodpost:
SarathW
 
Posts: 2320
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby Peter » Sat May 17, 2014 12:21 pm

randall wrote:. These javanas are not fixed, they can be kusala or akusala(kiryia for arahats) based on the "wise attention or unwise attention"(yoniso manasikara) we have at that moment(s) of "experience".


An arahat can experience the painful feeling(first dart) but their mental reaction(second dart) will only go as far as neutral feeling due to having all unwholesome cittas abandoned due to cutting off the 10 fetters. It should be noted that the cittas that arise for an arahat are kiriya(functional cittas) and they have no kammic potency, while the cittas that arise for everyone else are still subjected to kamma.


.


So, to keep it a bit easier, can it be said that at the point of javana (impulsion) the person (arahat) has the possibility to decide what will happen to the incoming "impuls" ?
In this case the striking of the dart.
There is just a changing of dealing with pain ? Pain is firstly bodily, then it will arise and will go through the whole processes of consciousness after the first contact (phassa) and it will
reach this level of javana, where the decision of kusala, akusala or neutral can be made.
So there the pain will be cut off and it will not reach the mental basis of feeling (vedana) that would be pain.
As it will be in all other cases of arising of incoming dhammas.

Could it be said like this ?

Or: the arahat is aware (he/she knows about the injury) that the body feels pain, but it does not arise at the feeling-consciousness of pain.
The arahat knows that pain is an illusion, a feeling arisen from outside and the process of the incoming impuls is just the same as any other impuls; as there are feelings, thoughts ... .

Pain is always mental. The body itself can not feel pain.
Pain is just like a screw which is loosely and blocks something, so that the motor gets stucked or irritiated. So the screw as a part of the body is the one which makes (pain), so part of the motor gets irritated (feels pain).

The mind makes our world.

:juggling:
User avatar
Peter
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 9:13 am

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby Peter » Sat May 17, 2014 1:00 pm

Visuddhimagga, XVII, 238

But, monks, the well-taught Ariyan disciple,
when touched by painful feeling,
weeps not, wails not, cries not aloud,
knocks not the breast, falls not into utter bewilderment.
He feels but one feeling, the bodily, not the mental...
If he feels a feeling that is pleasant,
he feels it as one freed from bondage.
If he feels a feeling that is painful,
he feels it as one that is freed from bondage.
If he feels a neutral feeling,
he feels it as one that is freed from bondage.
This well-taught Ariyan disciple, monks,
is called 'freed from the bondage of birth, old age,
from sorrow and grief,
from woe, lamentation and despair,
freed from the bondage of dukkha.' So I declare....'
User avatar
Peter
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 9:13 am

Re: Arahants experience of painful feeling

Postby randall » Sun May 25, 2014 6:35 pm

Peter wrote:
can it be said that at the point of javana (impulsion) the person (arahat) has the possibility to decide what will happen to the incoming "impuls" ?


hello Peter,

The way I understand it(which is pretty limited) is since an arahant does not accumulate anymore kamma (hence, the reason their cittas are only functional/kiriya,), things are just what they are without any attachments or reactions with craving and aversion etc.("the javana can be determined by the quality of the object without attachment"). This is to be taken in a general sense of the process but if the Arahant wants they can also have different states of mind that don't normally accord to general situations (ie. meditating on a dead body would be a joyful experience, or something extremely desirable can been looked upon with equanimity). As for people who have not reached any stage of enlightenment, due to our ignorance and "perversions"(vipallasa), if were not mindful and having wise attention(as well as not having cut off any of the fetters), then the mind states rooted with greed, hatred, and delusion will always arise.


the CMA(chapter IV, 17) says:
When an Arahant experiences an extremely desirable object, his javanas occur as one of the four functional cittas accompanied by joy....when he experiences an undesirable or desirable-neutral object, the javanas occur accompanied by equanimity.......However, with the appropriate mental determination, an Arahant can arouse cittas accompanied by equanimity towards an extremely desirable object and cittas accompanied by joy towards an undesirable object.



All javanas of unenlightened and enlightened beings are unfixed(they can be changed compared to the resultants etc, that cannot) but due to the unenlightened beings perversions and not cutting off any roots or eliminating any fetters etc. it will be impossible to allow the javanas to be determined by the quality of the object because the unenlightened beings will always continue to react with a mind state rooted in one of the three roots (unlike the Arahant who has eliminated such views and perceptions and are free from generating any new kamma). That's why the need for non-enlightened beings to constantly guard the doors and senses and have wise attention to minimize the reactions due to ignorance.


The Buddha teaches us about perversions(A IV, 49, Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation):
Bhikkhus, there are these four inversions of perception, inversions of mind, and inversions of view. What four? (1)The inversion of perception, mind, and view that takes impermanent to be permanent; (2)the inversion of perception, mind, and view that takes what is suffering to be pleasurable; (3)the inversion of perception, mind, and view that takes what is non-self to be self; (4)the inversion of perception, mind, and view that takes what is unattractive to be attractive. These are the four inversions of perception, mind, and view....

Perceiving permanence in the impermanent,
perceiving pleasure in what is suffering,
perceiving a self in what is non-self,
beings resort to wrong views,
their minds deranged, their perception twisted.

Such people are bound by the yoke of Mara,
and do not reach security from bondage.
Beings continue in samsara,
going to birth and death...

see Visuddhimagga XXII, 68 to see how the perversions are cut off in the same manner as the fetters (by stages of enlightenment) therefore eliminating akusala cittas along the way. Also see M 152 on how an arahant can "abide perceiving the repulsive as unrepulsive...etc" with "appropriate mental determination").

also see:
Venerable Silananda - Handbook of abhidhamma I, pg62-66
Dispeller of Delusion I, 10-11
"Bhikkhus, possessing five factors, speech is well spoken, not badly spoken; it is blameless and beyond reproach by the wise. What five? It is spoken at the proper time; what is said is true; it is spoken gently; what is said is beneficial; it is spoken with a mind of loving-kindness. Possessing these five factors, speech is well spoken, not badly spoken; it is blameless and beyond reproach by the wise."
AN 5 198
randall
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:13 pm


Return to Abhidhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests