Bullseye

Origin

If we are looking for sufferings, we will certainly get as we wish. Who would make such a foolish wish?

Realistically, we are putting ourselves in suffering all the time. Sometimes, a word from others, a gesture by others, a glint of look, an unsatisfied talk, all of these could put our rest of lives in suffering.

At last, we found arrows are all over our bodies. And these arrows are not shot by others but by ourselves. We cannot help ourselves but attaching to greed and enjoyment.

It’s true that life is full of sufferings. However, is it true that we have no choice but suffering by ourselves?

StoryOn one occasion, the Buddha told bhikkhus at Kalandaka located in the northern suburb of Rajgir city, the capital of the kingdom of Magadha. He said:

“Bhikkhus! An ordinary person can sense happy, unhappy, non-happy and non-unhappy. The same sensations are also in a holy disciple who has practiced to attain high spiritual states. What on earth are the observable difference between their sensations?”

“The blessed one! Your teaching is the holy dharma that we learn from, as well as that we are led to and depend on. Please teaching us and leading us to practice the holy dharma.” the bhikkhus prayed for.

“Bhikkhus! When a ordinary person is physically suffering in body or even facing a danger of death, he cannot help but taking sorrow, grief, pain, misery, followed by losing in confusion and anger and losing self-awareness.

At the moment, there are two sensations arising together and extending, that are, “physical sensation” and “mental sensation”.

In this situation, it is just like a man has been shot by one poisoned arrow and then by the second one right after, that make the suffering in doubled pain.

How come does it happen? It is all because of the ignorance by ordinary people. When happy, they are so addicted to the enjoyment that they put themselves under the control of the greed attachment and become unaware of themselves; when unhappy, they are so attached to the sadness that they put themselves under the control of hatred attachment and become unaware of themselves; when non-happy and non-unhappy, they are in confusion and unclear of the causes of happiness and unhappiness, the transitions between happiness and unhappiness, the attachments to happiness and unhappiness, the scourge hidden in happiness and unhappiness, the demand of freedom, and etc. Without practicing to know the truth, they are suffering with ignorance and without awareness of themselves.

Thus, when happy, he is addicted to the enjoyment; when unhappy, he is attached to the sadness; and when non-happy and non-unhappy, he is still not aware of himself. As a result, an ordinary person is so deeply attached to greed, hatred, ignorance that he holds suffering from birth, age, sickness, death, sadness, grief, sorrow, misery.

Bhikkhus! A holy disciple who has practiced to attain high spiritual states handle the same situations in different ways. When they are physically suffering in body or even facing a danger of death, they do not mentally feel sorrow, sad, pain, misery, angry, confusing, so that they do not lose awareness of themselves.

At this moment, he will have only one sensation, which is physical sensation with no mental sensation. In this situation, it is like he is shot by only one poisoned arrow with no second arrow shot.

When happy, they are mentally free from the enjoyment , so that they are not controlled by greed; when unhappy, they are mentally free from the suffering, so that they are not controlled by hatred; when non-happy and non-unhappy, they attend the truth of the causes of happiness and unhappiness, the transitions between happiness and unhappiness, the attachments to happiness and unhappiness, the scourge hidden in happiness and unhappiness, the demand of the freedom, as a result, they are not under the control of ignorance and sufferings.

Thus, when happy, he is not addicted to the enjoyment; when unhappy, he is not attached to the sadness; and when non-happy and non-unhappy, he is still fully aware of himself. As a result, a holy disciple is totally free from greed, hatred, ignorance and holds no suffering from birth, age, sickness and death, sadness, grief, sorrow, misery.

Sharing

When our first thought raises, our second thought follows and suffering starts with thought by thought, no ending … Our suffering and enjoyment are put in the hand of our greed attachment, we are no longer the masters for ourselves. We hold these attachments in ourselves, while Buddha does not hold any.

It is doable to separate the mental sensation from the physical sensation.

Shifu said: “when you has been shot by one arrow, please protect your mind and consciousness from the second arrow shot. Otherwise, you will put yourself in double pain.”

Thinking

Have you put yourself in suffering today? How could you prevent from suffering in your heart?

Written by: Venerable Guo-chi
Translated by: Lily Lee

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