Sallatha Sutta: The Buddha on Pain

Buddhism not only teaches us how to free ourselves from suffering that results from attachment to the pleasure resulting from mental and physical contact, it also teaches us how to deal with pain. Those with a more Epicurean mindset may be susceptible to despair when confronted with serious pain, but the Buddhist scriptures teach us how to deal with intense pain and even to live a happy life in the midst of such pain. The Buddha distinguishes between the response to pain that characterizes those not trained in the Dhamma vs. those not skilled in the teaching, by describing the non-Buddhist as one who is hit by one dart, the physical pain, and then experiences intense mental suffering suffering due to his bondage to mental and physical contact and his dependence upon pleasant contact for happiness.

This intense mental suffering resulting from despair over the experience of physical pain is characterized as a second dart that only compounds suffering. On the other hand, the Buddhist, who knows that belief in a self is an illusion and that both pleasure and pain are temporary, is able to endure this pain through mindfulness meditation and is not dependent upon pleasant contact for happiness. Because he has broken the fetter of dependence upon pleasant physical and mental contact for happiness, he is able to endure the pain.

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Experienced psychology writer and practitioner of psi abilities. Looking forward to contributing to a worldwide awakening to the reality of psi phenomena.

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