Buddhist resources on coping with pain

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andrewuk
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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby andrewuk » Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:11 am

I am very happy to read this post. Thank you very much for posting all those helpful information.

Once I asked Bhikkhu Samahita and when he said 'when there is a body, there is pain'. I felt that quote very 'awakening' as I never thought about physical pain in that way.

I read this a while ago -

Pain Not Suffering by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Darlene Cohen, Shinzen Young and Reginald Ray.
http://archive.thebuddhadharma.com/issu ... /pain.html

Shinzen Young also has CDs on working with pain.
http://www.shinzen.org/

Bhikkhu Bodhi once told me that Saddha (trust, confidence or faith) is important in dealing with pain. One has to try to find a cure for one's condition but if no cure is forthcoming one has to find some meaningful activity to sustain one's interest and some methods of practice to help one cultivate one's mind and develop wholesome qualities. This is where trust or faith (saddha) is important. One can use it as an opportunity to develop several paramis: patience, equanimity, compassion and loving-kindness for others who are subject to still worse suffering than us; energy in pursuing the good despite the handicap, etc.

He also suggested to me to listen to his lectures 'In the Buddha's Words' and the Majjhima Nikaya series.

For me, I find Buddhanusati very helpful - it lifts the mind up and keeps things going. OR just to recollect what a noble disciple would do when in pain. And it is very enjoyable listening to Dhamma talks by Bhikkhu Bodhi and others. This has become my daily activity and interest..

Another method I find helpful is Metta Bhavana. I don't find that focusing on the pain very helpful as it tends to intensify the pain for me. As I try to put all the attention on pain, it gets really powerful and gigantic. (defilements tend to arise when the mind is narrow or tight) What I find helpful is open minded metta bhavana. (just being open and soft towards it, know it and be 'friendly' towards it, don't harm it etc) This is boundless metta and when the mind is boundless, if greeds/aversions arise, they do not overcome or pervade the mind. And this actually helps physical pain.

I have to do this early though - if I 'catch' it or notice the pain pretty late, then it will last longer and stronger.

Another very helpful method is what I learned from Bhikkhu Ananadajoti's lectures and attitude - anicca or perception of impermanence. It made me realise that I am not 'always' in pain. Or the pain was just really bad a few days ago but it got better a few days later. It's like a river flowing through.. sometimes it hits some rocks and sometimes it doesn't. So it's just a matter of being patient.. To go through this pain with patience, whether it takes one hour or a life time. In this way, I don't get overly excited when I am better and I don't get overly down when I am in pain.

Another very helpful thing Ven Anandajoti taught in his talk is to recollect one's wholesome deeds. Or to recollect one's good qualities. This is not to boost one's ego but to encourage oneself to do more wholesome deeds. This really bring calmness and joy, which I find helpful for both physical and mental pains.

I have also learned that I have to live with it, not fight it or to push it away. There can be very strong mana or conceit when I wanted to 'sit through pain' or biting the teeth to overcome the pain. This is an attitude that I took pain as an enemy.. And of course, I didn't win :-)

I sincerely hope that you and others would be pain free.

Andrew
Meditate, don't be negligent, lest you may later regret it!

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retrofuturist
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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:25 am

Greetings,

Question: "When we suffer a great deal from physical illness, should we try to maintain our calm, or should we contemplate the feeling of suffering and fight it off?"

Response from Ajahn Thate: http://www.dhammathai.org/e/dhamma/qa/qa3.php#15

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

danieLion
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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:35 pm

Hi Andrew and Retro,
Thanks for the posts. They both contain important information and I intend to respond to all their points as time and pain permit.
Best,
Daniel

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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:47 pm

Quick Note:
I believe (this is an ongoing experiment) Joseph Goldstein's "mantra" "It's okay to be uncomfortable" is working for me the past few days (along with practice, acupuncture, massage and Tylenol in moderation NSAIDs--aspirin, ibuprofen give me abdominal cramps).

I'll have more to say on this later.

Best,
Daniel

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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:12 pm


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Dmytro
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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby Dmytro » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:19 am

Hi Daniel,

I would like to recommend an excellent resource:
http://www.reversingchronicpain.com/

It's not Buddhist, but it has some similar methods involving breath, etc.

Best wishes, Dmytro


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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:31 am

Living with Chronic Illness or Pain by Arinna Weisman and Larry "Somebody" (who says some very moving things).

http://www.dharmaseed.org/retreats/1280/

Overall, very excellent and practical advice. My initial aversion to the "hippie vision quest" vibe was overwhelmed by the fact the more I listened to her and others share the more I kept thinking, "I'm not alone." This is especially true if you have issues of shame with illness: not the "good" kind we find in the Buddha's advice to his son in MN 61, for instance, but the "bad" kind where you blame yourself for things you can't control (old age, sickness, death, discomfort, chronic pain conditions, etc...). Likewise with the asking for help discussions and DEALING WITH DOCTORS AND OTHER MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS.

Unless you're completely new to Buddhism, you can probably skip the first talk (and probably most of the second); and if you've experience with body scans and/or metta you can probably skip those guided meditations too.

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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:58 am

Hi andrewuk,
Thanks for your wonderful post. My experience with all those strategies is very similar.

The unpredictability of chronic pain or illness requires us to have as many tools at our disposal as possible. Otherwise, we slip too easily into trying to take it out on others or going from the extreme of thinking that when we're not in pain or have a good day we're cured, and the other extreme of thinking when we're in pain or have a particularly bad day that ALL hope is lost.

Best,
Daniel

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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:15 am


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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:16 am


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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:43 am


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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:19 am


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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:28 am


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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:40 am


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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:50 am

Here in the Dragon’s jaws:

Many exquisite jewels.

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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:47 am


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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:43 pm


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Re: Buddhist resources on coping with pain

Postby danieLion » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:03 am

:heart: :heart: :heart:
Streams:
by Gil Fronsdal

by Darlene Cohen


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