Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week - Pain and Suffering

by Tenzin Gyatso,
the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

Shantideva says that when you are faced with adverse circumstances, feeling unhappy serves no purpose in overcoming the undesirable situation. It is not only futile but will, in fact, only serve to aggravate your own anxiety and bring about an uncomfortable and dissatisfied state of mind.

...there are generally two types of harm caused by others. One type is direct physical harm inflicted by others and consciously experienced by you. The other type is harm done to your material possessions, reputation, friendship, and so on. Though not directed at your body, these acts are also a type of harm. Let us say that a person hits you with a stick, and you feel pain and become angry. You don't feel angry toward the stick, do you? What exactly is the object of your anger? If it would be appropriate to feel angry toward the factor that impelled the act of hitting, then you should not be angry with the person but with the negative emotions that compelled that person to act. Ordinarily, however, we do not make such distinctions. Instead, we consider the person--the intermediary agent between the negative emotions and the act--as solely responsible, and we hold a grudge against him or her, not against the stick or the delusions.

We should also be aware that since we possess a physical body that is susceptible to pain when hit by a stick, our own body partly contributes to our experience of pain. Because of our body and its nature, we sometimes experience physical pain even when no external causes of pain are present. It is clear then that the experience of pain or suffering comes about as a result of interaction between both our own body and various external factors.

--from The Compassionate Life by Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

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