Simon E. wrote:Precisely Challenge23.
Dentistry cannot in itself lead to Enlightenment. But although at at advanced level in might be possible to dwell in the natural state while having toothache, most of us will be aided in our efforts to dwell in the natural state if we are free from toothache, at least initially.
Just so, psychotherapy cannot Enlighten us, but being free from persistent clinical anxiety might render us able to utilise the means that enable us to dwell in Rigpa.
I can't remember where the quote came from(but if citing sources is needed I'll look it up) but I remember reading in a meditation manual that when one starts meditating it helps tremendously to be in an isolated, quiet area. As part of that if you are suffering from negative conditions such as asthma, impacted teeth, physical addiction issues, schizophrenia, etc. then almost any Buddhist practice will become much, much harder. In my experience, this is why so many people who try to use Buddhism as beginners to correct issues like that have such a hard time(say, if I tried to use it to overcome a bad tooth) but people who are extremely accomplished in Buddhism use that to deal with the same conditions do a lot better(say, Rinpoches who don't need to be put under for surgery). In order for the methods in the Buddhist toolbox to work you have to be very good at them. It is extremely difficult to get good at them if you are dealing with these negative conditions.
However, if you use these other disciplines to relieve these immediate conditions, then practice becomes MUCH easier. If you go to the dentist to get that impacted tooth removed then it will be much easier to do the practice and get good at it. Of course, some people might say that experiencing pain can help one's practice. I've noticed this seem to be true..up to a point. Too much suffering seems to make practice almost impossible, like trying to learn to juggle if someone just chopped off three of your fingers.
tl;dr: Buddhist practice is awesome, but if you have a sucking chest wound, go see a doctor!