"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

September 16, 2011

The Important Difference Between Pain and Suffering

"The difference between pain and suffering is the difference between freedom and bondage.  If we’re able to be with our pain, then we can accept, investigate and heal. But if it’s not okay to grieve, to be angry, or to feel frightened or lonely, then it’s not okay to look at what we are feeling, and it’s not okay to hold it in our hearts and to find our peace with it. 
When we can’t feel what must be felt, when we resist or try to run from life, then we are enslaved.  Where we cling is where we suffer, but when we simply feel the naked pain on its own, our suffering dies...That’s the death we need to die. 
Through ignorance, through our inability to see Dhamma, to see things as they really are, we create so many prisons. We are unable to be awake, to feel true loving-kindness for ourselves, or even to love the person sitting next to us. 
If we can’t open our hearts to the  deepest wounds, if we can’t cross the abyss the mind has created through its ignorance, selfishness, greed, and hatred, then we are incapable of loving, of realising our true potential. We remain unable to finish the business of this life."
From The Joy Hidden in Sorrow
Reflections given by Ajahn Medhanandi

What does Ajahn Medhanandi mean when she talks of "feeling the naked pain on its own?"  And how does doing that cause our suffering to "die?"  Everybody feels pain, so what is this compassionate Buddhist nun pointing to?  Surely not just sitting there and stoically bearing the pain!

If you'd like to learn how the Buddha's teaching can help you deal with acute and chronic pain and bring about an end to suffering, please take a look at these articles:

Alleviating Suffering by Facing the Pain

Using Meditation to Get Acquainted with Pain-Are You Serious?

What to Do in Meditation When You Are Flooded with Mental Pain

For more in-depth dharma articles and instruction, visit:  METTA REFUGE

No comments:

Post a Comment