"Aversion" from bodily pains is dukkha

Hi ,

Would mental aversion from bodily pains be considered as dukkha ?

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If I’m understanding you correctly, SN 36.6 should be of interest.


Hi , thanks for the reference sutta . Perhaps i need to rephrase the question . Suppose an arahant are very sicks and it is extremely painful , he may feel it detached however he might thinks wants to treat the pains or apply some medicines to reduce it . Is that thought to escape painful feeling which is an aversion be considered dukkha in itself .

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I feel there are two things going on:

  1. there is pain and one can notice that there is an instinctive aversion towards pain, arising together with that unpleasant feeling. A tendency to be seperated from the pain. Also a tendency to see and expereince the pain as my pain. There is duality of subject ( a sense of me experiencing) and object (the pain sensed), there is a mentallity. It is not about good and wrong but if this happens you can notice there is the dukkha of that pain and also the dukkha of that mentallity, that is like a mental convulsion or agitation.
    Such anusaya as dosa-anusaya and mana and avijja anausay cause this total situation. They are very strong and it is for a normal human being almost impossible to not become in this situation of bodily and mental suffering. Ofcourse it is not true that if one listen to the teachings, and is instructed, this does not happen anymore. It is not like that.

It is said that a mind freed of anusaya does not develop more like this. So, in theory an arahant has no dosa-anusaya, at least that cannot be triggerd anymore. So mind has no instinctive aversion to pain nor the instinctive tendency to see and expereince the pain as me and mine. It is always about instinctive patterns. Never about choices. One does not really choose to come in this situation.

  1. This does not mean that the mind has become insensitive and does not care at all what it feels or will feel. For example, if it is really hot, it just seeks the comfort of shadow. It is not that any concern for well being is lost, i believe.

So while there is no instinctive aversion towards what is experienced there is the sensitivity to anticipate and treat whenever possible. It is not that one becomes stupid:-)

Hard to say. I think it comes down to how receptive the arahant is to the impression made on the people around them. For instance, you’ll find some cases of arahants deliberately maintaining strict austerity as inspiration for future generations, which is to say, they knew the beneficial and lasting impact it would have on others. Then there are others where the pain was so severe that a knife was used to destroy the body, which has certainly had the effect of confusing future generations.

If you have time to dig into the verses of Thera/Therigāthā you’ll find a wide range of experiences among the arahants, and I think it will help clarify why the answer is not so straightforward. All and all, if an arahant were to seek treatment for pain management it would likely be due to a range of factors, none of which are rooted in greed, hate or delusion.

I see you dont get it , not saying it is out of or due to 3 poisons . If an arahant feel very thirsty , then arise the thought to drink some waters . That thought is dukkha i say . But Nvm i think . :sweat_smile:

The middle way means not imposing bodily suffering unnecessarily, thereby avoiding Hindu extremes. The arahant continues to employ wise attention making balanced decisions about greed and hatred.

The experience of suffering should motivate release, it’s the fuel of insight, providing other factors have been developed:

" “In seeing six rewards, it’s enough motivation for a monk to establish the perception of stress with regard to all fabrications without exception. Which six? 'The perception of disenchantment[1] will be established within me with regard to all fabrications, like a murderer with a drawn sword. My mind will rise above every world. I’ll become one who sees peace in Unbinding. My obsessions[2] will go to their destruction. I’ll be one who has completed his task.”

—Anguttara Nikaya 6.103

"[6] “And what is the perception of dispassion? There is the case where a monk — having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building — reflects thus: ‘This is peace, this is exquisite — the stilling of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving, dispassion, Unbinding.’ This is called the perception of dispassion.”

—Anguttara Nikaya 10.60

Let me ask you question.

Do you understand this statement yet from thag17.2? Very powerful statement by perfected wisdom one.

I don’t long for death;
I don’t long for life;
I await my time,
like a worker waiting for their wages.”

O btw, the thought of pleasure of drink or eat has been ceased by an arahant with perfected of samma samadhi. No more dukkha whether death or alive for an arahant. See an9.33.

So if the “arahant” is motivated by aversion to the pain, then they are no “arahant”.

However, if the “arahant”, completely freed from attraction and aversion, does this or that, then they do so not motivated by attraction sand aversion, but by compassion and wisdom.

that appears to be the claim of the ebt.

I would also just like to append a few fun facts about relying on SN36.6 and SN36.7 for understanding the Buddhist argument.

First here is a machine translation of part of the chinese parallel at SA470:

"For example, if a scholar is struck by one poisonous arrow but not by the second poisonous arrow, then only one feeling will arise. The so-called physical feeling does not produce mental feeling. Being touched for the sake of pleasure is not tainted by sensual pleasure, nor is it tainted by sensual pleasure. For those pleasant feelings, greed does not arise. For painful tactile feelings, anger does not arise. Therefore, anger does not arise. Therefore, hatred does not arise. For those two causes, collection, annihilation, taste , trouble, and separation, we know it as it is. Because we know it as it is, we do not Painful and unpleasant feelings are not linked to delusion, and liberation from pleasant feelings is not linked to them. Painful feelings, and neither painful nor pleasant feelings are linked to liberation. Why are they not linked that greed, hatred, and delusion are not linked to birth, old age, illness, and death. Worry, sadness, annoyance, and suffering are not related .”

Second here is part of the poem at the end of SN36.6:

A wise and learned person isn’t affected
Na vedanaṁ vedayati sapañño,

by feelings of pleasure and pain.
Sukhampi dukkhampi bahussutopi;

This is the great difference in skill
Ayañca dhīrassa puthujjanena,

between the wise and the ordinary.
Mahā viseso kusalassa hoti.

Finally, the text string visaññutto occurs only at SN36.6 and SN36.7 in the entirety of the the 4 principle nikayas.

It does not occur in the entirety of the Vinaya.

It does not occur in the entire Abhidhamma outside the Kathuvathu.

It occurs 66 times in KN, almost all in the Netti, Pati and Mil.

Of course the number of times a word occurs in the ebt is “meaningless” and made even more “meaningless” by the fact that it “meaninglessly” occurs over 60 times in known to be late sectarian books.

but I would just caution against relying on SN without fully understanding the argument of D and M, and the parallels of S in Chinese and the fact that some parts of SN have OBVIOUSLY been edited with language and terms that come from the period of the Netti and Pati.

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I guess you are able to answer for yourself . Do you know Buddha asked Ananda massaged His back pains ?

No it isnt. A person awakened is free from dukkha, cannot be reckoned in terms of dukkha, does not act vecause of attraction or aversion, if freed in this very life.

All the parinibbana stuff is weak tea

So this is another case of Pali knowledge being essential. Just look up visamyutto — an equivalent to visaññutto only differing in scribal editing. I’m not following the discussion here, but I noticed this. And in fact this pericope occurs in many suttas.

So if later texts tend to have visaññutto, of course when these were written down in various scripts hundreds of years later it’s easy for a variant to have alternative readings that show up in later texts. That has no bearing on the actual word / cognate and its usage itself; that speaks to the scribal editing which everybody knows was later. (So late as to be not too many decades ago in the case of SuttaCentral, the Burmese editions being known for editing word forms to fit traditional grammars)

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Thanks @Vaddha !


Does not occur in DN until DN33 and DN34
Does not occur in MN except for MN18 and MN98
Does not occur in SN
Ocuurs in AN 17 times
Occurs in KN 25 times mostly in known to be late books
Occurs in Abhi 0 times.

If you expand to

visaṃyutt (removing the final a to admit more compounds)

You get no more hits for DN
You get a few more for MN
A few more for SN.

I am not saying that particular words can be used to unfailingly identify late concepts, just that there is a clear distribution of concepts that is statistically identifiable by tracking the spread of compounds.

It is definitely made more complicated becasue pali, but it is usually a pretty good guide, even when follow up words like you have provided are examined.

here is a more complete table:

Vin: 0
DN: 10
MN: 31
SN: 9
AN: 18
KN: 28
Abhi: 1

(so including
kāmayogavisaṃyutto (1)
visaṃyutto-iti (1)
nandisaṃyojanavisaṃyutto (1)
visaṃyuttoti (1)
bhavayogavisaṃyutto (1)
sabbayogavisaṃyuttaṃ (3)
visaṃyuttaṃ (25)
sabbayogavisaṃyuttā (4)
visaṃyuttā (11)
sabbalokavisaṃyutto (1)
visaṃyutto (46)
suvisaṃyuttaṃ (5))

So this root does not occur in the VInaya, does not occur in the substantive part of DN, being confined to the “appendix” suttas DN33 and DN34, it’s distribution in M (for eg at 18, 22, 66) is interesting but probably to much to get into right now, anyway, it is clearly the earlier root becasue


Vin: 0
DN: 0
MN: 1
SN: 4
AN: 0
KN: 72
Abhi: 7

visaññuttaṃ (6)
visaññuttāti (1)
visaññuttā (2)
visaññutto (75))

Never oocur in the Vinaya.
Never occur in DN except in DN33 and DN34
Never occurs in AN.
Occurs, frequently, about 60 times, in the NIdessa, which is known to be late, and accounts for the vast majority of the occurances of the term.

This is a readily identifiable pattern with multiple roots. one will be distributed across the nikayas roughtly evenly, while another will occur rarely outside of SN, then in SN, then over and over again in late material like Netti and Patti and Kathuvatthu.

Once you see it for the thousandth time and realise that no mater how many times you point it out on here no one will admit it, you get used to the whole thing.

Pain is in the 1st Noble Truth. When awakened an Arahant still experiences this type of dukkha, which has arisen due to craving. The two types of Nibbana does make sense.

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When an Arahant feels thirst, he quenches it. When the Buddha feels back pain, he gets Ananda to massage it out until it’s better.

Why should an Arahant endure pain?

Yes he shouldnt or he could be dead soon due to stupidity . A thought wanting to quench thirst is dukkha , because it was propelled by conditions .

Isn’t it possible to quench thirst without thinking, “I need water.”? To just do it?

A person may recognize dukkha, but that is mere perception. And a person may seek out water without desiring that water; simply knowing “water quenches thirst”.

Without thought we are rocks :joy:

Why do you think the intention of the Arahant is to ‘escape painful feeling’?

The conflation of Dukkha vedana with Dukkha is a conceiving of an unliberated Mind. They are not the same thing. If painful Feeling and Suffering were the same thing, the Buddha could not have found an escape from Dukkha while still alive… and Buddhism would be a suicide cult similar to Jainism.

When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with three things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What three things? The three kinds of feelings. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these three things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.

The Arahant is rooted in Right Intention. They take the necessary steps to deal with whatever has arisen (viz painful feeling) because of compassion for the body - without viewing the body or the pain as belonging to them and without being attached to any particular outcome.

Mil 3.2.4
“For an arahant, your majesty, there is no delight nor repugnance, and arahants do not destroy what is unripe. The wise ones wait for full maturing"

Can I ask what word or words are being translated with “aversion” in the Pali?