Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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jcsuperstar
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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:49 pm

this question goes to the heart of is the dhamma true or not. if an arahant can suffer than what is the point of buddhism? if an arahant can suffer there is no reason to strive to be an arahant since alas the buddha lied and there is no end to suffering in his system.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby PeterB » Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:04 pm

I dont agree jc superstar. It points to yet another distinction that needs to be made to separate Buddhadhamma from the Veda religions prevalent at the time of its birth.
It is a Hindu/Vedic belief that realised beings do not experience physical or emotional pain.
There is nothing canonical to support this. What is supported is a view that they regard the arising of physical or emotional pain as simply that which arises. They dont own it or define themselves by it.
It is quite clear from the description of the Paranibbana that the Buddha was experiencing pain.
Verse 28 Paranibbana Sutta " sharp and deadly pains came upon him, but The Buddha endured them with patience and mindfulness".
It was simply arising.
The aim of Dhamma is to produce freedom, not to produce robots.

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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby Hoo » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:23 pm


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jcsuperstar
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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:55 pm

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:17 pm

"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

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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby altar » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:09 pm

Hi all,

No one here has mentioned anything about what constitutes depression.
The point has been made that an arahant can experience physical pain. This is clearly a feeling that has no other implications beyond itself as the arahant has no aversion or negativity towards it.
What then are we calling depression? Is it merely a low feeling in the mind? This is NOT what is meant by depression. It usually means negativity towards oneself and towards others resulting in lack of interest. Either a mental thought like a dagger, "I hate myself," or a weight, like, "Why must I get out of bed, ugahhuhh," due to a heavy mind. Heavy with what? One with metta "wakes easily, sleeps easily, and dreams no evil dreams."
Ask yourself, if you had literally no hatred, could you be depressed? It would simply be a feeling in the mind, not real depression, if you think so.

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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:18 pm

What you have described altar are some ways that some people who are feeling depressed experience their reality. However that is the everyday conventional use of the word depression . The clinical use differs from that. Those signs may or may not be present in any number of combinations in Clinical Depression. For example many people with Clinical Depression present with a variety of physiological signs, and may not be aware of a Flattening Of Affect ( "heaviness of feelings ")
It might be surprising for example , but if your doctor suspects Depression she may ask you about your bowel activity....
Depression frequently results in constipation. There is no clear cut off point between the "mind" and the body.
Last edited by PeterB on Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:10 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby altar » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:35 pm


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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:33 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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altar
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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby altar » Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:24 pm

No acinteyyo that is not the question. We know arahants don't suffer from depression if they have it. The question is whether depression actually is a form of suffering, and therefore must have been extinguished by arahants, or not, if it is merely attachment to depression that counts as mental suffering.
That is, I believe the question can be simplified in this way:
Is depression dependent on ignorance and a manifestation of defilements?

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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby Goedert » Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:16 pm


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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:53 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby Hoo » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:21 am


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Nibbida
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Re: Can Arahant suffer from clinical depression?

Postby Nibbida » Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:19 am

No dukkha = no depression.

An arhant may experience emotions like sadness, but depression is beyond sadness. It involves ruminative thinking, tons of papanca, a sense of separateness/withdrawal, and many other features that are contrary to the characteristics ascribed to awakening. Depression is a feedback loop of thinking and emotion. Features of an awakened mind would tend to prevent one from getting into that feedback loop.

People who do jhana practice alone note that anxiety and depression tend to disappear, although normal emotions remain. I have doubt that a stream-entrant would experience any significant depression. If they did, their experience of it would be different than that of most peoples'.


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