Looking for a sutta on self & feelings

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
dhammapal
Posts: 1715
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Looking for a sutta on self & feelings

Post by dhammapal » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:13 pm

Hi,

I vaguely remember a sutta where the Buddha responds to the idea that it is the self that feels, by asking whether the self is the pleasant feeling at one moment or the painful feeling at another, that it can't be both.

Thanks / dhammapal.

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Looking for a sutta on self & feelings

Post by Individual » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:17 pm

Seems inconsistent with what I know of the suttas. Why you looking for it anyway?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

dhammapal
Posts: 1715
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Looking for a sutta on self & feelings

Post by dhammapal » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:56 am

I might be thinking of Majjhima 35. I think the sutta I am looking for has these sentences:
Majjhima 35 wrote:Pay attention, Aggivessana, pay attention to how you reply! What you said afterwards does not agree with what you said before...
The reason I was looking for such a sutta about feelings because I have bipolar disorder and I seem to be a different person when I'm experiencing pleasant feeling to when I experience a painful feeling.

Thanks / dhammapal.

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Looking for a sutta on self & feelings

Post by Nyana » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:26 am

dhammapal wrote:I vaguely remember a sutta where the Buddha responds to the idea that it is the self that feels, by asking whether the self is the pleasant feeling at one moment or the painful feeling at another, that it can't be both.
Maybe DN 15 Mahānidāna Sutta:
  • Now, one who says, 'Feeling is my self,' should be addressed as follows: 'There are these three feelings, my friend — feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, and feelings of neither pleasure nor pain. Which of these three feelings do you assume to be the self?' At a moment when a feeling of pleasure is sensed, no feeling of pain or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pleasure is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pain is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of pain is sensed. Only a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed at that moment.

    Now, a feeling of pleasure is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. A feeling of pain is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. A feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. Having sensed a feeling of pleasure as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of pleasure, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of pain as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of pain, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, 'my self' has perished.

    Thus he assumes, assuming in the immediate present a self inconstant, entangled in pleasure and pain, subject to arising and passing away, he who says, 'Feeling is my self.' Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume feeling to be the self.
All the best,

Geoff

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Looking for a sutta on self & feelings

Post by PeterB » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:16 am

Well selected Geoff...

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Looking for a sutta on self & feelings

Post by Individual » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:27 pm

dhammapal wrote:I might be thinking of Majjhima 35. I think the sutta I am looking for has these sentences:
Majjhima 35 wrote:Pay attention, Aggivessana, pay attention to how you reply! What you said afterwards does not agree with what you said before...
The reason I was looking for such a sutta about feelings because I have bipolar disorder and I seem to be a different person when I'm experiencing pleasant feeling to when I experience a painful feeling.
In my opinion, psychiatrists can do great harm by encouraging people to self-label themselves, even people who are misdiagnosed can start to exhibit neurotic behavior because they're put under the impression that they have something particularly wrong with them when they're normal people. As an example, I know a guy who I wonder has started to exhibit alcoholism possibly because we've kept teasingly called him an alcoholic over and over again just for drinking a bit too much sometimes. Maybe I'm wrong, but there are theories like this, that the development of one's mind is greatly dependent on social interactions; it's susceptible to suggestibility.

Now I'm not saying to stop with whatever pills or treatment you're on, but completely forget about the term "bipolar disorder," and stop thinking of yourself as a "bipolar person," because that's not good.

And what do pain and pleasure have to do with bipolar disorder anyway? From what I understand, bipolar disorder has to deal with episodes of mania (hyperactive, lots of energy and happiness) and severe depression (much worse than regular depression because you have a sort of crash). If that's not your experience, it's possible you were misdiagnosed; it happens quite a lot.

If that is your experience, though, and you do have episodes of mania and depression, my suggestion is to be mindful when the episodes of mania happen and observe the contexts in which they arise. If a certain activity makes you manic (like art or drug-use?), avoid that activity. Don't even think about that activity. And when you start to feel manic, take a deep breath and try to "squeeze" that happiness, to make it smaller, to make it equanimity -- calm happiness and not obsessive happiness. And when the depression happens, just relax and lay down, and wait for it to pass.

When you experience a pleasant feeling -- it's just a pleasant feeling. When you experience a painful feeling -- it's just a painful feeling. There's no person that remains stable or changes.

Self isn't unstable. The mind is unstable. Just because it has habitually harmful, unpleasant, and dysfunctional patterns of activity.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Abiding, Google [Bot], kamui, kroyakor, LuisR, paul and 36 guests