Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/31/2014

The Second Dart

It’s funny how quickly we can forget that the body is made up of the elements and, like all other conditioned things, is subject to anicca. In my case, I pulled my back yesterday and have been suffering for it since. No, it’s not precisely the physical pain that is causing the suffering but, rather, it’s the second arrow (to use the Lord Buddha’ metaphor) that is causing the dukkha. Physical pain is unavoidable dukkha but my reaction to it doesn’t have to create more suffering. Unfortunately, I have not been wise enough to see that clearly.

I had a hard time trying to locate the sutta from which the parable of the second arrow comes so I will includeit below for any who are interested in reading the original teaching.

Sallatha Sutta: The Dart

“An untaught worldling, O monks, experiences pleasant feelings, he experiences painful feelings and he experiences neutral feelings. A well-taught noble disciple likewise experiences pleasant, painful and neutral feelings. Now what is the distinction, the diversity, the difference that exists herein between a well-taught noble disciple and an untaught worldling?

“When an untaught worldling is touched by a painful (bodily) feeling, he worries and grieves, he laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. He thus experiences two kinds of feelings, a bodily and a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart and, following the first piercing, he is hit by a second dart. So that person will experience feelings caused by two darts. It is similar with an untaught worldling: when touched by a painful (bodily) feeling, he worries and grieves, he laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. So he experiences two kinds of feeling: a bodily and a mental feeling.

“Having been touched by that painful feeling, he resists (and resents) it. Then in him who so resists (and resents) that painful feeling, an underlying tendency of resistance against that painful feeling comes to underlie (his mind). Under the impact of that painful feeling he then proceeds to enjoy sensual happiness. And why does he do so? An untaught worldling, O monks, does not know of any other escape from painful feelings except the enjoyment of sensual happiness. Then in him who enjoys sensual happiness, an underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feelings comes to underlie (his mind). He does not know, according to facts, the arising and ending of these feelings, nor the gratification, the danger and the escape, connected with these feelings. In him who lacks that knowledge, an underlying tendency to ignorance as to neutral feelings comes to underlie (his mind). When he experiences a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling or a neutral feeling, he feels it as one fettered by it. Such a one, O monks, is called an untaught worldling who is fettered by birth, by old age, by death, by sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. He is fettered by suffering, this I declare.

“But in the case of a well-taught noble disciple, O monks, when he is touched by a painful feeling, he will not worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. It is one kind of feeling he experiences, a bodily one, but not a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart, but was not hit by a second dart following the first one. So this person experiences feelings caused by a single dart only. It is similar with a well-taught noble disciple: when touched by a painful feeling, he will no worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. He experiences one single feeling, a bodily one.

“Having been touched by that painful feeling, he does not resist (and resent) it. Hence, in him no underlying tendency of resistance against that painful feeling comes to underlie (his mind). Under the impact of that painful feeling he does not proceed to enjoy sensual happiness. And why not? As a well-taught noble disciple he knows of an escape from painful feelings other than by enjoying sensual happiness. Then in him who does not proceed to enjoy sensual happiness, no underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feelings comes to underlie (his mind). He knows, according to facts, the arising and ending of those feelings, and the gratification, the danger and the escape connected with these feelings. In him who knows thus, no underlying tendency to ignorance as to neutral feelings comes to underlie (his mind). When he experiences a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling or a neutral feeling, he feels it as one who is not fettered by it. Such a one, O monks, is called a well-taught noble disciple who is not fettered by birth, by old age, by death, by sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. He is not fettered to suffering, this I declare.

“This, O monks, is the distinction, the diversity, the difference that exists between a well-taught noble disciple and an untaught worldling.”

(Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn36/sn36.006.nypo.html)

May I at least rejoice in having seen the second arrow for what it was. Wishing you all a Happy New Year and less unnecessary dukkha in 2015!

 

 


Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing this teaching. The analogy is very helpful; I have often lamented over my lamenting, feeling disappointed for creating more suffering on top of suffering–and that is the third dart–self denigration for having forgotten my power to be aware of this moment without having to analyze or judge it. Maybe I will be successful in holding this image in my mind, and maybe it will help me to stay with the bodily sensation and not get caught up in the mental anguish next time I experience pain. Thank you again for sharing.

    • I am glad you found it useful. Happy New Year Lorien!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Categories

Cattāri Brahmavihārā

Practicing the Dhamma-vinaya in the context of a full-blown lay life.

STOIC ANSWERS

A guide for life

Professional Awesome Racing - Time Attack and Downforce Specialists

RACE.WIN.REPEAT. | Text or Leave VOicemail at 765-267-8567

Centro Studio Misteri Italiani

Tradizioni Magico-popolari, Stregoneria Italiana, Miti e credenze, luoghi misteriosi, ma anche Druidismo e Sciamanesimo nel mondo. Cosa c'è di diverso dagli altri siti? Noi li studiamo RICERCANDO sempre sul LUOGO!

*luz de atención constante*

En este blog encontrarás una cuidada selección de traducciones en español sobre el camino interior.