One Arrow: Episode 179


One Arrow.jpg

You might have heard the expression "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Sometimes it's attributed to the Buddha, but it's much more likely that it originated from an unknown source, coming from some member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

However, the phrase is consistent with the Buddha's teachings, as we see in this quote from the Sallatha Sutta:

“When touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, were to shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pains of two arrows; in the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental.”

How can we avoid telling ourselves stories about our pain? How can we experience the pain alone? How can we avoid piercing ourselves with that second arrow?

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