How to React Pain?

revised on 2024-06-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 20th April 1962

In the Buddha’s time, some monks asked the following question: What are the differences between worldlings and noble beings (ariyas) in relation to pain? When the worldling feels pain in the body, he also feels pain in the mind (domanassa), as if struck by a spear twice, experiencing both mental and physical pain. He has the desire (taṇhā) to feel better, leading to the rise of taṇhā. Unable to find a way to make taṇhā cease, ignorance (avijjā) also arises, resulting in four factors.

For noble beings and their disciples (sutavā ariya sāvaka), if an enemy strikes once with a spear, he returns the strike once, i.e., when feeling arises, they contemplate its anicca. (This talk is based on a sutta from the Khandhavagga Saṁyutta). Thus, lobha, dosa, and moha all cease, but in the worldling, all arise. Therefore, the D.A process cuts off at three places, i.e., at three places: the beginning, the middle, and the end.

There are three places where vedanā does not arise: the foot nails, finger nails, tips of the head hair, and dry skins. It can arise in all other places. Follow it with knowledge wherever it arises.

(Sayadaw mentioned the story of a forest monk eaten by a tiger and how he dealt with dukkha vedanā.)

Isn't it still painful if discerning of anicca? It is not painful. Then anicca and magga are fitting in. Vedanā and I/me together is another thing (These two are different: Anicca and magga is the right view; vedanā and me is the wrong view). Vedanā and ñāṇa (nyan) together is the knowledge of discerning the mind (nāma pariccheda ñāṇa). If anicca and magga fit together, it is the knowledge of insight or lakkhaṇa ñāṇa.

No one can abandon bodily pain, but can abandon displeasure (domanassa – i.e., mental pain). Bodily pain also arose for the Buddha. If you can practice anicca and magga fitting together, then practice in the morning and realize Dhamma in the evening (from Aṅguttara Nikāya). Why is that? Because kilesas do not come in between the practice. This means other mental states come in to disturb the practice. You only discern anicca sometimes. They come between anicca and magga, preventing magga from arising. But you must also contemplate the anicca of the incoming dhamma. And then go back to the primary objects.

If you can’t overcome the coming-in dhamma, don’t go back to the primary objects. They are kilesa māra. Whatever arises is ehi-passiko — come and contemplate me. Whatever arising dhamma that you can contemplate becomes sandiṭṭhiko — apparent here and now. Then it becomes diṭṭha dhamma for you (seeing it by oneself).

revised on 2024-06-10

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