Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Pondera
Posts: 721
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:02 pm

Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by Pondera » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:21 am

Apparently, the answer is yes. This excerpt from the Paranibbana Sutta shows how
"Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports. It is, Ananda, only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, [19] that his body is more comfortable.
Several inferences can be made based on a few observations.

Nibbana is the end of suffering - the end of pain and the end of sensual desire. Therefore, if a Buddha suffers he cannot possibly be in Nibbana all the time. Therefore, the ending of lust, hatred, and delusion is not enough to guarantee an Arahant or a Buddha emancipation from suffering all the time.

What does the Buddha have to say. He says that “only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, [19] that his body is more comfortable”.

This may lead one to conclude that “Unbinding” and “the cessation of feeling and perception” are the same attainment.

Saengnapha
Posts: 1350
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:54 am

Pondera wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:21 am
Apparently, the answer is yes. This excerpt from the Paranibbana Sutta shows how
"Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports. It is, Ananda, only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, [19] that his body is more comfortable.
Several inferences can be made based on a few observations.

Nibbana is the end of suffering - the end of pain and the end of sensual desire. Therefore, if a Buddha suffers he cannot possibly be in Nibbana all the time. Therefore, the ending of lust, hatred, and delusion is not enough to guarantee an Arahant or a Buddha emancipation from suffering all the time.

What does the Buddha have to say. He says that “only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, [19] that his body is more comfortable”.

This may lead one to conclude that “Unbinding” and “the cessation of feeling and perception” are the same attainment.
Pain and suffering are two different things. Pain is physical, suffering is psychological. Buddhists equate nibbana with the end of suffering, not pain. Fire still burns and has nothing to do with nibbana.

SarathW
Posts: 9593
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by SarathW » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:19 am

Pain and suffering are two different things.
Pain = Vedana
Suffering = Dukkha
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
pitakele
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 11:27 pm

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by pitakele » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:26 am

Pondera wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:21 am
It is likely this topic has been already been discussed at some point in this forum.

Dukkha has been classified as three types in the Anguttara

dukkha-dukkha - painful physical feelings
viparināma dukkha - suffering borne of change
sankhāra dukkha - inherent suffering of conditionality.

Having bodies, Buddha and Arahats experience pain and can become ill. But, without clinging or aversion, their minds aren't at the mercy of physical pain, i.e. their minds don't suffer as well. However, they won't delight in physical pain and will seek means to lessen it or overcome illness. Meditative states, including nirodhasamāpatti, will be one means to do this.

To my understanding, total release from suffering is final nibbāna (nibbāna without residue) on the dissolution of the aggregates. This is not 'death' for the Buddha and Arahats as they already know and live the 'deathless', constant awareness that there is 'no one' to die.
now here = nowhere

User avatar
Pondera
Posts: 721
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:02 pm

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by Pondera » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:53 am

Revisit the first noble truth. You will find that, by definition, pain is suffering. Revisit the first noble truth.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16307
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:23 am

Pondera wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:53 am
Revisit the first noble truth. You will find that, by definition, pain is suffering. Revisit the first noble truth.
OK!
Now this is the noble truth of suffering. Rebirth is suffering; old age is suffering; illness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress are suffering; association with the disliked is suffering; separation from the liked is suffering; not getting what you wish for is suffering. In brief, the five grasping aggregates are suffering.
https://suttacentral.net/sn56.11/en/sujato#sc4
As Pondera points out, to interpret Nibbana (with residue https://suttacentral.net/iti44/) as a permanently blissful state where everything has stopped is quite difficult, so the Ancient Commentaries, and various modern interpretations (e.g. that of Ven Nanananda) don't do that...

:heart:
Mike

Saengnapha
Posts: 1350
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:30 am

Pondera wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:53 am
Revisit the first noble truth. You will find that, by definition, pain is suffering. Revisit the first noble truth.
There is pain that gets translated into suffering by your thought structure. This is psychological, the one who suffers. Without the psychological, there is still pain as I pointed out earlier, but no psychological suffering. None of the noble truths will suffice to explain what nibbana means. Living life without the psychological burden that we carry is indeed a liberation of sorts.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2310
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by DooDoot » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:26 am

Pondera wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:21 am
Nibbana is the end of suffering - the end of pain and the end of sensual desire.
The suttas appear to not define Nibbana as above. The above appears to be your own personal idiosyncratic ideas & fabrications.
Pondera wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:21 am
Therefore, the ending of lust, hatred, and delusion is not enough to guarantee an Arahant or a Buddha emancipation from suffering all the time.
The suttas appear to define & summarize suffering as "attachment to the five aggregates" (SN 56.11). Attachment seems to be the problem (MN 37). I think SN 22.1 is an excellent sutta for beginners to Buddhist theory because it was taught to a very old man with lots of bodily pain and taught in a very simple way that even a child can comprehend.
Pondera wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:21 am
What does the Buddha have to say. He says that “only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, that his body is more comfortable”.
Good question. I think possibly only an arahant would know the answer. However, i think it is the case when the body is afflicted by pain, the body itself becomes exhausted. It does not mean the mind is suffering; even though the pain might be unbearable.

Please note: In the quote, the Buddha says: "his body is more comfortable". It appears the Buddha is not referring to his mind.

For example, when I get physically tortured by my Thai masseur, it can be extremely oppressive; but i don't really suffer over it. If she asked: "I am hurting you to much", I just smile & say: "Mai pen rai krup; mai took mai sook".
Reverend Sāriputta, I’m not keeping well, I’m not alright. The pain is terrible and growing, not fading; its growing is evident, not its fading. The winds piercing my head are so severe, it feels like a strong man drilling into my head with a sharp point. The pain in my head is so severe, it feels like a strong man tightening a tough leather strap around my head. The winds piercing my belly are so severe, it feels like an expert butcher or their apprentice is slicing my belly open with a meat cleaver. The burning in my body is so severe, it feels like two strong men grabbing a weaker man by the arms to burn and scorch him on a pit of glowing coals. I’m not keeping well, I’m not alright. The pain is terrible and growing, not fading; its growing is evident, not its fading. Reverend Sāriputta, I will commit suicide. I don’t wish to live.”
:candle:
Pondera wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:53 am
Revisit the first noble truth. You will find that, by definition, pain is suffering. Revisit the first noble truth.
No. The first noble truth appears to summarise all suffering as attachment (upadana). :roll:
saṃkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā.

in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.

In brief, the five grasping aggregates are suffering.

in short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects.

in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering.

In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.

SN 56.11
Twice above, Pondera it seems you failed to literally read the sutta. For DN 16, it appears you did not read the Buddha say his "body" is more comfortable; similar to the Buddha saying that not sitting in very hot sun or in freezing ice the body is more comfortable. For SN 56.11, it appears you did not read the summary or defining ("saṃkhittena") of what dukkha really is.

Since the 1st sermon was spoken to five puthujjana, it appears probable that the Lord Buddha, to gain the trust & faith of the five puthujjana, first had to give evidence of his competence & explain what the ordinary unenligthened worldly view of what suffering is, namely, giving birth, getting sick, getting old, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, despair, separation, etc. Then (afterwards) it seems the Buddha summarized all of this suffering as in reality being attachment & egoism (upadana).

For example, if "pain" was suffering according to the 1st noble truth, then separation from the loved would always be suffering.
17. Then, when the Blessed One had passed away, some bhikkhus, not yet freed from passion, lifted up their arms and wept; and some, flinging themselves on the ground, rolled from side to side and wept, lamenting: "Too soon has the Blessed One come to his Parinibbana! Too soon has the Happy One come to his Parinibbana! Too soon has the Eye of the World vanished from sight!"

But the bhikkhus who were freed from passion, mindful and clearly comprehending, reflected in this way: "Impermanent are all compounded things. How could this be otherwise?"

18. And the Venerable Anuruddha addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Enough, friends! Do not grieve, do not lament! For has not the Blessed One declared that with all that is dear and beloved there must be change, separation, and severance? Of that which is born, come into being, compounded and subject to decay, how can one say: 'May it not come to dissolution!'? The deities, friends, are aggrieved."

DN 16
Revisit the first noble truth. You will find that, by definition, ATTACHMENT is suffering. Revisit the first noble truth. :pig: :roll:
Last edited by DooDoot on Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:15 am, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 706
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by seeker242 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:07 am

A Buddha does not suffer simply because his body feels pain. :meditate:
"Monks, an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person feels feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, feelings of neither-pleasure-nor-pain. A well-instructed disciple of the noble ones also feels feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, feelings of neither-pleasure-nor-pain. So what difference, what distinction, what distinguishing factor is there between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person?"
...

The Blessed One said, "When touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught...."

As he is touched by that painful feeling, he is resistant. Any resistance-obsession with regard to that painful feeling obsesses him....

"Sensing a feeling of pleasure, he senses it as though joined with it. Sensing a feeling of pain, he senses it as though joined with it. Sensing a feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, he senses it as though joined with it. This is called an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person joined with birth, aging, & death; with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is joined, I tell you, with suffering & stress.


"Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with a feeling of pain, does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. ...

"As he is touched by that painful feeling, he is not resistant. No resistance-obsession with regard to that painful feeling obsesses him...

"Sensing a feeling of pleasure, he senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a feeling of pain, he senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, he senses it disjoined from it. This is called a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones disjoined from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is disjoined, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"This is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Pain is suffering, but only for an "uninstructed run-of-the-mill person."

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2310
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by DooDoot » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:11 am

seeker242 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:07 am
Pain is suffering, only for an "uninstructed run-of-the-mill person."
Good Sir. Could you kindly & compassionately explain in brief or, otherwise, in detail, the meaning of "uninstructed run-of-the-mill person"? Your explanation, I trust, will be for our long term happiness & benefit.

:anjali:

santa100
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by santa100 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:23 pm

DN 16 wrote:Ānanda, I am now old, worn out, venerable, one who has traversed life’s path, I have reached the term of life, which is eighty. Just as an old cart is made to go by being held together with straps, so the Tathagata’s body is kept going by being strapped up. It is only when the Tathagata withdraws his attention from outward signs, and by the cessation of certain feelings, enters into the signless concentration of mind, that his body knows comfort.
Paying close attention to the highlighted words, it'd be valid to say that only the Buddha's "body" still suffer after enlightenment. So unless one equates: Buddha's body == Buddha, the statement "A Buddha's body suffers after Enlightenment" is very different from: "A Buddha suffers after Enlightenment".
SN 22.87 wrote:For a long time, Lord, I have wanted to come and set eyes on the Blessed One, but I had not the strength in this body to come and see the Blessed One."

"Enough, Vakkali! What is there to see in this vile body? He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees me; he who sees me sees Dhamma. Truly seeing Dhamma, one sees me; seeing me one sees Dhamma."

James Tan
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by James Tan » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:08 pm

Greetings ,

There seems to be a contradiction in the approach to define the meaning of suffering , pointing to the Buddha /arahant and to the unenlightened person .
Buddha /arahant free from attachment therefore no more suffering psychologically but with bodily pains which is not suffering , some disagree .

For unenlightened person there is attachment , therefore , there is psychological suffering and also bodily pains which is suffering .

Now , for an unenlightened person with attachments , there is a delusion thinking that the five aggregates is a unchanging entity , equating the body with the mind . So, the uninstructed run of the mill person is same with the body and mind . There are identical therefore both is considered suffering .


However , we can't refer the Buddha as the body and mind ?! Can we ? If we refer Buddha as his body(and mind) that is false ! If we don't refer Buddha as the body (and mind) , how are you going to determine what or which is in the suffering or not ?!
Shall we define what or whom is the Buddha we are talking about ?!
Or do you think the Buddha is the Dhamma ?!
:reading:

User avatar
robertk
Posts: 2803
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by robertk » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:39 pm

James Tan wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:08 pm
Greetings suffering .


However , we can't refer the Buddha as the body and mind ?! Can we ? If we refer Buddha as his body(and mind) that is false ! If we don't refer Buddha as the body (and mind) , how are you going to determine what or which is in the suffering or not ?!
Shall we define what or whom is the Buddha we are talking about ?!
Or do you think the Buddha is the Dhamma ?!
Vis. XVI:

"Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there;
Nibbana is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveller on it is seen.

Even now there is no James or Robert in the deepest sense. And also there was no Buddha as some sort of existant being.

There are, and were, however, the five khandhas, namarupa, arising and passing away.

This is basic Dhamma, but get it right and other aspects will be clear.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16307
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:28 am

robertk wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:39 pm
Even now there is no James or Robert in the deepest sense. And also there was no Buddha as some sort of existant being.

There are, and were, however, the five khandhas, namarupa, arising and passing away.

This is basic Dhamma, but get it right and other aspects will be clear.
Thanks Robert. There are the khandhas, and suffering, but no suffering being.

The first two of these verses by Sister Vajirā are often quoted, but the last one is the important one here:
Māra, is this your theory?
This is just a pile of conditions,
you won’t find a sentient being here.

When the parts are assembled
we use the word ‘chariot’.
So too, when the aggregates are present
‘sentient being’ is the convention we use.

But it’s only suffering that comes to be,
lasts a while, then disappears.
Naught but suffering comes to be,
naught but suffering ceases
.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn5.10/en/sujato#sc4--7
:heart:
Mike

User avatar
robertk
Posts: 2803
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Does a Buddha Suffer after Enlightenment

Post by robertk » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:34 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:28 am
robertk wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:39 pm
Even now there is no James or Robert in the deepest sense. And also there was no Buddha as some sort of existant being.

There are, and were, however, the five khandhas, namarupa, arising and passing away.

This is basic Dhamma, but get it right and other aspects will be clear.
Thanks Robert. There are the khandhas, and suffering, but no suffering being.

The first two of these verses by Sister Vajirā are often quoted, but the last one is the important one here:
Māra, is this your theory?
This is just a pile of conditions,
you won’t find a sentient being here.

When the parts are assembled
we use the word ‘chariot’.
So too, when the aggregates are present
‘sentient being’ is the convention we use.

But it’s only suffering that comes to be,
lasts a while, then disappears.
Naught but suffering comes to be,
naught but suffering ceases
.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn5.10/en/sujato#sc4--7
:heart:
Mike
Perfect quote Mike.
:anjali:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 91 guests