What did the Buddha mean when saying Anurādha "didn't actually find a realized one (tathāgate) in the present life"?

Are you saying it is not possible to be rid of the desire to escape from pain? That this desire is impossible to uproot?

It is not possible to be rid of desire? To uproot desire totally and completely is not possible? How about craving? Is it not possible to uproot craving? To be totally and completely rid of craving?

To escape from suffering doesn’t the Teacher recommend the uprooting of desire and craving? If it is impossible to uproot craving and desire, then how can their be an escape from suffering?

Again, doesn’t all suffering depend upon the desire for things to be other than they are?


All phenomena are dependent upon the mind labeling them as such. This is perhaps another area where we can respectfully disagree :joy:

The neurological system is involved. We can agree upon this if you like.

Ah, so pain is inherently dukkha? It has the essence or core of dukkha? You simultaneously believe that no phenomena has an essence or core, but also that pain has an essence or core of dukkha? Is pain one thing and dukkha another? Are pain and dukkha the same thing?

I’ll ask the same: what would happen if all desire to be rid of pain was given up and made like a palm stump? Would that pain still entail suffering? If there was not the slightest desire for that pain to cease - a desire not to experience that pain - would suffering be experienced? I assume your answer is ‘yes’ to which I’ll ask ‘how so’?

Have you ever had the experience of pain without the slightest desire for it to end? If not, then how can you know that this experience is suffering? Faith that this is still suffering is one thing, but knowing is another, right? Do you believe it is possible to be rid of this desire?


There is a physical component since viññāna arises with the “meeting” of sense input and contact.
Also, consciousness is co-dependent with nāma-rūpa.
To say that pain is only mental does not align with the teachings here.

That’s not the point. We’re not arahants. But the sutta cited above says it clearly: dukkhāya vedanāya
The point is pain is felt/experienced and pain is a form of dukkha, even when there’s no attachment, aversion, or delusion.

Even life forms like bacteria move away from painful/noxious stimuli. And as noted above, a reflex movement away from pain is utterly free of labeling and mental aversion.
The pain is directly experienced and there’s a reflexive movement away. If it wasn’t a kind of dukkha, organisms wouldn’t have a need to do this.

We’re getting into dialectical word stuff here. :slightly_smiling_face: Pain is painful. Therefore, dukkha: a simple direct experience without abstract considerations.

See SN45.165:

““Mendicants, there are these three forms of suffering.
“Tisso imā, bhikkhave, dukkhatā.
What three?
Katamā tisso?
The suffering inherent in painful feeling; the suffering inherent in conditions; and the suffering inherent in perishing.
Dukkhadukkhatā, saṅkhāradukkhatā, vipariṇāmadukkhatā—
These are the three forms of suffering.
imā kho, bhikkhave, tisso dukkhatā.”

Here “inherent” as a word isn’t directly in the Pāli – it’s more direct: “ordinary” experience of dukkha. Like stubbing a toe.

There is still a conditional “pure” experience of pain/discomfort.

Turning it around, are there painful feelings in parinibbāna? If yes, what would be the problem? Back pain, pain from insect bites, thorns, etc – are these experienced in parinibbāna?
If dukkha is utterly eliminated with the ending of greed, anger, and ignorance, theoretically, painful physical sensations without mental reactivity could persist after the final death. But no one believes this.

Finally, rather than getting into all these speculations, SN36.6 makes it clear that dukkhāya vedanāya is experienced by noble ones.
Can we take the teaching for what it directly says?

So gain and loss, fame and disgrace, blame and praise, and pleasure and pain don’t occupy their mind.
They don’t favor gain or oppose loss.
They don’t favor fame or oppose disgrace.
They don’t favor praise or oppose blame.
They don’t favor pleasure or oppose pain.
Having given up favoring and opposing, they’re freed from rebirth, old age, and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.
They’re freed from suffering, I say.

AN 8.6

Yes, but as the Teacher instructed all teachings should be directly investigated and then personally known; first through logic and conceptuality and then directly and non-conceptually. Faith in the teachings are to be encouraged, but unless you experience pain without any desire to oppose it, then you haven’t directly known if it is suffering, right?

Could it be that you’re faith is grounded in ‘dialectic word stuff’ that pain is dukkhāya vedanāya? Again, I’ll ask: is pain one thing and dukkha another? Are pain and dukkha the exact same phenomena in all cases? Can we substitute the word ‘dukkha’ for the word ‘pain’ and make complete sense? Do they both label the exact same referrent in all cases? If not, then pain is one thing and dukkha another, right?

Do you have faith that it is possible to experience pain without any desire to oppose it as in AN 8.6?


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No, I say, that experience is teleological and functions automatically. Consciousness acts, based on pain pleasure principle and tries to arrive at experience of the least affliction.

Afternote: You say that, as far as you see it, the arahat’s experience functions automatically. By this I presume that you mean it functions without any self or agent or master to direct it. But I do not say otherwise. All that I would add is that this automatically functioning experience has a complex teleological structure.

The puthujjana’s experience, however, is still more complex, since there is also avijjā, and there is thus appropriation as well as teleology. But this, too, functions automatically, without any self or agent to direct it. On account of the appropriation, however, it appears to be directed by a self, agent, or master. Avijjā functions automatically, but conceals this fact from itself. Avijjā is an automatically functioning blindness to its automatic functioning. Removal of the blindness removes the appropriation but not the teleology.

Nanavira Thera

So, what I am saying is: (again Nanavira)

And so I came to understand that all our actions, from the most deliberate to the most thoughtless, and without exception, are determined by present pleasure and present pain. Even what we pompously call our ‘duty’ is included in this law—if we do our duty, that is only because we should feel uncomfortable if we neglected it, and we seek to avoid discomfort. Even the wise man, who renounces a present pleasure for the sake of a greater pleasure in the future, obeys this law—he enjoys the present pleasure of knowing (or believing) that he is providing for his future pleasure, whereas the foolish man, preferring the present pleasure to his future pleasure, is perpetually gnawed with apprehension about his future. And when I had understood this, the Buddha’s statement, Pubbe cāham bhikkhave etarahi ca dukkhañ c’eva paññāpemi dukkhassa ca nirodham (‘Both now and formerly, monks, it is just suffering that I make known and the ceasing of suffering’) (M. 22: i,140), came to seem (when eventually I heard it) the most obvious thing in the world—‘What else’ I exclaimed ‘could the Buddha possibly teach?’

Again, see the first quote. Intentionality as indispensable part of experience is fundamental aspect of experience and is as much valid for arahat - as for puthujjana, and since in the first case, there is simply nobody there, your description of intentionality in terms “desire” and “craving” is inappropriate. Consciousness simply recognises what is painful and what is pleasant and it will do so even if states of greed, hate and delusion are totally removed. Otherwise an individual could not function, fire should be avoided since contact with it is harmful. But how consciousness could know that it is harmful if not by experiencing it as painful? Removing hand from contact with fire goes automatically and has nothing in common with craving and desire. At least at the most fundamental level. In the case of puthujjana intentionality of experience is associated with craving and desire, but even if these are removed consciousness still will avoid pain and pursue pleasure. When there is toothache, arahat also goes to dentist :smirk:

No. If things are such that in one’s own experience there are states of greed, hate and delusion, desire to remove them is quite appropriate, contrary, to accept such states and hope that they disappear by themselves is to be delusional :slightly_smiling_face:

Your question about the propriety of sending good wishes (‘Is not wishing desire, and so to be shunned?’) can be answered, though not in one word. There is desire and desire, and there is also desire to end desire. There is desire that involves self-assertion (love, hate) and desire that does not (the arahat 's desire to eat when hungry, for example), and the former can be either self-perpetuating (unrestrained passion) or self-destructive (restrained passion). Self-destructive desire is bad in so far as it is passionate, and therefore good in so far as, translated into action, it brings itself to an end. (By ‘translated into action’ I mean that the desire for restraint does not remain abstractly in evidence only when one is not giving way to passion, but is concretely operative when there is actually occasion for it, when one is actually in a rage. To begin with, of course, it is not easy to bring them together, but with practice desire for restraint arises at the same time as the passion, and the combination is self-destructive. The Suttas say clearly that craving is to be eliminated by means of craving [A. IV,159: ii,145-46]; and you yourself are already quite well aware that nothing can be done in this world, either good or bad, without passion—and the achievement of dispassion is no exception. But passion must be intelligently directed.) Since an arahat is capable of desiring the welfare of others, good wishes are evidently not essentially connected with self-assertion, and so are quite comme il faut .

Nanavira Thera

It seems you think what the Teacher said is not possible?

They don’t favor pleasure or oppose pain.
AN 8.6


It seems to me that you don’t understand what the nature of experience is, and my post, as for now, wasn’t helpful. But let’s try:

In order to not favour pleasure and not oppose pain successfully, neutral feeling has to be known. And to really know such feeling is to find it as pleasant.

“Lady, what is pleasant and what is painful in regard to pleasant feeling? What is painful and what is pleasant in regard to painful feeling? What is pleasant and what is painful in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling?”“Friend Visākha, pleasant feeling is pleasant when it persists and painful when it changes. Painful feeling is painful when it persists and pleasant when it changes. Neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling is pleasant when there is knowledge [of it] and painful when there is no knowledge [of it].”

MN 44

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Ok, so you do agree that it is possible to not favor pleasure or oppose pain. Good!

Can you explain why your emphasis on knowledge of neutral feeling is required in order not favor pleasure or to oppose pain? What are you trying to point out here that I don’t understand? Are you saying that all feelings are neither-painful-nor-pleasant because inherently painful feelings and inherently pleasant feelings don’t exist? And upon knowing this one has eliminated ignorance and therefore the belief in inherently painful feelings and inherently pleasant feelings dissolves? Is this what you’re trying to say?

It seems that we agree that the desire for painful feeling to go away is to be given up and that upon giving this up, suffering does not arise when encountering painful feeling. We agree on that now, right? If not, why are my words wrong again?



No. Just direct experience. And why else would the Buddha say dukkhāya vedanāya ??
Sometimes it helps to keep things direct and simple. :slightly_smiling_face:

Because the senses and aggregates are still present for an awakened one, the nerves and impulses are still working, so pain will be experienced as painful feeling, which in the sutta cited is dukkhāya vedanāya.

Again from SN36.6:

“When they’re touched by painful feeling, they don’t resist it.
There’s no underlying tendency for repulsion towards painful feeling underlying that.”

Why would there need to be any mention of resistance if the sheer feeling of pain wasn’t painful?
The arahants have no mental duress but the physical sensation remains and if it’s conditional it’s not nibbāna.
And if the only freedom from all dukkha is nibbāna (final nibbāna), then the sensations of pain, being painful even just physically, are dukkha.

“If they feel a painful feeling, they feel it detached.
Dukkhañce vedanaṁ vedayati, visaññutto naṁ vedayati.”
Here it is again.

From the ending verse:

"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.

This points to the cessation of “mental” suffering but not to physical dukkha, which the sutta states here and elsewhere is still experienced.

I enjoy our convos Yeshe. :slightly_smiling_face: :pray:

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As do I :joy:

Perhaps we can agree that physical “dukkha” is a wordly concern that we should not occupy our minds with? That physical “dukkha” is not a problem to be solved or avoided? I put “dukkha” in quotes as there is much disagreement about the proper translation of dukkha as you know and because you don’t seem to want to answer whether pain is one thing and dukkha another? :joy:

Can we agree that physical dukkha is just not a concern that has anything to do with making an end of suffering? :pray:

I have impression that you haven’t read carefully my first two posts. Otherwise you would not ask this question, because

  1. Opposing pain / favourig pleasure is much less fundamental than pain / pleasure principle so while pain / pleasure principle is inescapable due to very nature of experience, one can escape from opposing pain, and favouring pleasure, precisely by understanding how pain / pleasure principle. works.

Firstly it should be recognised favouring pleasure and opposing pain, as Suttas describe it, has a limited validity, and it refers to sensory experience. And than:

  1. One should recognise that this is endless affair, and pleasure one can secure for oneself is unstable and impermanent, so we can the very pursuit of sensory pleasure and opposing sensory pain describe as painful.

But it is not enough merely to recognise it, since consciousness habitually acts this way, and in order to see such habit as painful, the way of escape from it has to be seen, which offers something more pleasant.

And this is precisely pleasure of not opposing pain and pleasure received from sensory contact. But since habit it firmly established on emotional level, we are entitled to describe it as addiction, consciousness has to be taught that in fact such neutral feeling is more pleasant than habitual reaction on sensory impact. So it requires training to really arrive at knowledge that remaining neutral is in fact pleasant. But since celibacy isn’t very popular in society, and also many who keeps celibacy for some time later give up, you may guess that to find plessure in indifference towards sensory contact isn’t essy affair.

We can try to escape from such habit also by jhans, still fact remains, habit must be seen as painful, and there must be knowledge about something which is more pleasant or at least less painful.


It’s like asking if ocean water and wetness are different. In certain respects they’re not exactly identical but at the same time they’re not different and they can’t be separated.

We agree that during life the physical aspects of existence are what they are and can’t be permanently stopped, (temporarily they can be in jhana and the formless attainments).

At the same time, if all conditions are not seen as fundamentally dukkha then, imho there is the risk of not completely developing nibbidā and virāga to the point of completely letting go for full liberation.

From Snp3.12:

"Then the Teacher went on to say:

"“Having known everything that is felt—
“Sukhaṁ vā yadi vā dukkhaṁ,
whether pleasure or pain,
Adukkhamasukhaṁ saha;
as well as what’s neutral,
Ajjhattañca bahiddhā ca,
both internally and externally—
Yaṁ kiñci atthi veditaṁ.
as suffering,
Etaṁ dukkhanti ñatvāna,…"


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What if you don’t have to “feel” stuff to live your life? There must be a Way… :sunglasses:

If the Buddha talks about sense-contact he does not refer to EM-waves contacting the retina, or sound-waves contacting the eardrum etc. If for example a sound waves hits the eardrum, that is not sense contact the Buddha means. If as a result of processing that, an awareness of a certain sound arises, that sound is not the soundwave. That sound is, as it were, the human interpretation of the brain/mind of that soundwave hitting the ear drum.

Buddha teaches that 2 truths need to be known (MN26) and both are hard to see:

  • the truth of the element of sankhata in our lifes: the arising and cessation of formation, the constructing of temporary states, liable to cease, desintegrate. This is seeing Paticca Samuppada. How all this dependly arise. If this then that. With this as condition that arises.

  • the truth of the element of asankhata in our lifes; that what is not seen arising, ceasing, that what is no formation of khandha, that what is not a construction and not liable to desintegrate; the stilling of all formations, dispassion, peace, Nibbana.

Both are hard to see (MN26). But both elements in our life need to be known (MN115)

If we cannot come to this agreement, and you denie that there is something in this life that is asankhata, i think we cannot come to some agreement about all this. Because, if asankhata is denied there is no escape of suffering, like is said in Udana. If you believe there are only khandha’s, and all khandha’s are inherently suffering…ofcourse there is no escape of suffering.…But EBT does not teach this, that is for sure. It also teaches asankhata. But if you denie such, ofcourse you see no other way to end suffering but to cease at a last death. Udana 8.3 is about this.

Hello @knigarian,

I have tried to read them carefully and after this admonishment I went back and read them again. Unfortunately, I still cannot understand how what you are saying about this pain/pleasure principle explains the apparent emphasis you place on why knowledge of neutral feeling is required in order not favor pleasure or to oppose pain. I apologize for my inability to read carefully enough or understand the point you are trying to convey.


They are different :slight_smile:

Neither can be found when analyzed with penetrative insight, but conventionally speaking ocean water and wetness are different. They do not refer to the same basis of designation.


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Someone could mess up his or her sense perception organs with narcotics and experience the water as dry, for example. Another example is demons can see a river as fire, while Devas as a cool stream.

Of course there is – final nibbāna.