04.05.12 : Suffering Vs Blessings | Two Proven Pain-Free Solutions For Meditators | Suffering Within Suffering, Decay & Process | Guanyin Bodhisattva: From Seeking To Becoming Compassion
- Quote: Suffering Vs Blessings
To experience suffering is to end suffering.
To enjoy blessings is to exhaust blessings.
- Buddhist Saying
(When we face inevitable sufferings bravely, they will end. When we indulge in pleasures complacently, they will end. The Middle Way is to make the best of our suffering, while treasuring our blessings best we can.)
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TDE Book 5 Is Here Realisation: Two Proven Pain-Free Solutions For Meditators
The only good about suffering
is that it reminds us
that it is good to rise above it.
A recurring problem for many beginner meditators (and those who practise chanting, which is essentially a meditative practice too) is that of physical pain, especially for those who practise seated crossed-legged. (A chair can be used though, for cases where sitting on the floor proves too difficult.) Aches in the legs can be so serious that not only do they make it agonising to sit long, they can be a terrible source of distraction from the actual meditation, as one fidgets indefinitely. The following are two seemingly opposite yet equally effective remedies for dissolving pain to share. Unrelenting mindfulness and determination is needed though – at least enough of them, until the pain subsides. Ironically, to overcome pain either way is also practice of meditation – to transform the 'enemy' of pain into an ally for training calmness, concentration and clarity of mind.
'"Care" Not About The Pain' is what I call the first method. If your meditation method is not Vipassana (which includes watching the rise and fall of sensations), just maintain your mindfulness on your original subject of meditation. For example, it could be your breathing, or the name of Amitabha Buddha (Amituofo – which connects to his blessings for healing the pain). As the mind can only be at one 'place' at a time in each thought moment, the fact that you are feeling the pain means your mindfulness has already drifted off, or is repeatedly straying away from the subject of meditation, gravitating towards the pain, toggling to-and-fro rapidly. What the mind does not 'mind', it does not mind – and the body will not feel it. In fact, in meditation practice, unless it requires focus on parts of your body, you should not feel the burden of your body (with its pains), as you are supposed to be working with your mind only.
'"Care" About The Pain' is what I call the second method, as based on Vipassana (insight) meditation. Watch any pain at arises mindfully… but do not magnify it with frustration or imagination. Just watch it as it is, with all its changing, possibly throbbing forms, until it disappears… without a trace. This will seem surprisingly faster than you thought it would be. Paradoxically, the key is patience. The pain will disappear because all sensations that rise eventually will fall, even if they fluctuate for a while.The key is to make peace with the pain, so as to accept it from moment to moment, so as to see its workings clearly. It is amazing how acceptance instantly creates peace of mind. In contrast, fret over physical pain aggravates it mentally, making it seemingly constant and longer lasting. The Buddha likens this to shooting oneself with an arrow of suffering when already shot once by pain!
Do use the first method if you do not wish to shift your mindfulness away from your original meditation subject (if not practising Vipassana then). However, it is intriguing to see the moment pain dissipates in the light of mindfulness. There is a great sense of relief, surprise and joy when you catch a glimpse of the truth of impermanence. It is no longer theory merely agreed with in principle, but experienced! Do you recall the very moment your last headache disappeared? Probably not, due to the lack of mindfulness – but it definitely did disappear, or your head would still hurt! As the second method trains our patience, it increases our ability to rise above discomfort.True tolerance is without any thought of tolerating. Watch the pain unflinchingly and you will realise it to be unsubstantial and tolerable. As they say about life, 'Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional!'
If you do not make
'something' of your suffering,
you literally suffer for 'nothing'.
The Faith Factor: Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land
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Why Shoot Ourselves With Extra Arrows?
Comparison Of Pure Land Practice With Samatha & Vipassana Meditation (On Deathbed)
Share Articles: tde@... Excerpt: Suffering Within Suffering, Decay & Process
Refuge only in the worldly and material,
in clothing, food, lodging, wealth…
eventually leads to suffering,
when one is forced to part from them in death,
when one has no greater refuge in the spiritual.
An example of Suffering within Suffering is to be penniless and also without any food to eat or any place to live. This suffering is experienced by poor people. Lacking the very necessities of life, they cannot even find work. This kind of suffering is not easy to bear. But wealthy people suffer even more. They experience the Suffering of Decay.
Having money, they have to continuously calculate about it. "I'll put this much in the bank. I'll take this much out and put it into a business venture. I'll take that much…" and on it goes like that all day long. They keep on counting their money until their hair turns white, their teeth fall out, their eyes stop working, and their ears go deaf. But then trouble comes. The robbers get their number. They break in at night and pick the safe clean. [Editor: Wealth can lead to welfare of one and many too, but becomes problematic when clung to without generosity or used without wisdom.]
People in poverty get accustomed to their suffering, but when the Suffering of Decay hits wealthy people, they can't take it. It's very bitter. Well, then, if you're neither rich nor poor, there's no suffering, right? There's still suffering: the Suffering of Process. Everyone goes through the process of ageing. From youth, people pass into middle age, and then become old. Once they're old, they die. This process never stops. It continues with every passing thought.
The Universal Door of Guanyin Bodhisattva
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