Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
SkyFox
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2021 1:29 pm

Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by SkyFox »

Hey guys. Have any of you dealt with painful chronic conditions and still managed to meditate or practice? My health conditions have worsen badly. I can no longer eat anything but meat or get terrible allergic reactions with my throat closing up. I don't think I have long to live. I want to be able to devote what time I have left to the dharma, but it's terribly difficult with the pain, physically and mentally.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 9817
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

SkyFox wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:55 pm Hey guys. Have any of you dealt with painful chronic conditions and still managed to meditate or practice? My health conditions have worsen badly. I can no longer eat anything but meat or get terrible allergic reactions with my throat closing up. I don't think I have long to live. I want to be able to devote what time I have left to the dharma, but it's terribly difficult with the pain, physically and mentally.
Yes. It is very difficult. Almost impossible. Facing death is also an issue in itself.
From my own experience I can say:

1. Slow down and don’t expect things or try to do too much. Really just slow down a lot. Relax and don’t ‘fight’ the pain.

2. Visualize that you are actually taking on the suffering of all sentient beings. Then you are generating compassion for others which in turn takes your own focus off of you. It’s like if you are helping someone in need, you forget about any inconvenience it is causing you. Same psychology.

3. Think of dharma practice as preparing for your next life. In other words, you are actually getting a head start on the future. Then what is happening to you now doesn’t feel so important.

These methods might or might not help you, but they helped me so I’m sharing them. They may take time. Give them more than 5 minutes!
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook produces outward insight.
User avatar
SkyFox
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2021 1:29 pm

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by SkyFox »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 4:16 pm
SkyFox wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:55 pm Hey guys. Have any of you dealt with painful chronic conditions and still managed to meditate or practice? My health conditions have worsen badly. I can no longer eat anything but meat or get terrible allergic reactions with my throat closing up. I don't think I have long to live. I want to be able to devote what time I have left to the dharma, but it's terribly difficult with the pain, physically and mentally.
Yes. It is very difficult. Almost impossible. Facing death is also an issue in itself.
From my own experience I can say:

1. Slow down and don’t expect things or try to do too much. Really just slow down a lot. Relax and don’t ‘fight’ the pain.

2. Visualize that you are actually taking on the suffering of all sentient beings. Then you are generating compassion for others which in turn takes your own focus off of you. It’s like if you are helping someone in need, you forget about any inconvenience it is causing you. Same psychology.

3. Think of dharma practice as preparing for your next life. In other words, you are actually getting a head start on the future. Then what is happening to you now doesn’t feel so important.

These methods might or might not help you, but they helped me so I’m sharing them. They may take time. Give them more than 5 minutes!
Thank you friend. You've given so much good advice from the start till now. Suffering of all sentient being is a great way to put it. I thought of ending my life to escape this suffering, but I know that just leads to more suffering. My mother would die without me. I'm simply existing for her sake. For her, that's enough. I just fell terribly bad that I'm unable to be a filial son.

It's funny how when you are dying you start to gain some new perspective on life which you wish you knew earlier.
jet.urgyen
Posts: 2839
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by jet.urgyen »

SkyFox wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:55 pm Hey guys. Have any of you dealt with painful chronic conditions and still managed to meditate or practice? My health conditions have worsen badly. I can no longer eat anything but meat or get terrible allergic reactions with my throat closing up. I don't think I have long to live. I want to be able to devote what time I have left to the dharma, but it's terribly difficult with the pain, physically and mentally.
seems like a "hungry ghost" symptom. i would devote to Avalokiteshvara o Buddha Amithaba, there are something called mantras of them, if you apply them with the aim of preparing for for your death you may be able to prevent a bad future.

try to find some buddhis teacher and ask "please, the time for my death quickly approaches, please give me transmission and instructions on the mantra of Avalokiteshvara or Buddha Amithaba so i can prepare" , if you can't let me know. i myself will help.
true dharma is inexpressible.

The bodhisattva nourishes from bodhicitta, through whatever method the Buddha has given him. Oh joy.
User avatar
SkyFox
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2021 1:29 pm

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by SkyFox »

jet.urgyen wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 9:17 pm
SkyFox wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:55 pm Hey guys. Have any of you dealt with painful chronic conditions and still managed to meditate or practice? My health conditions have worsen badly. I can no longer eat anything but meat or get terrible allergic reactions with my throat closing up. I don't think I have long to live. I want to be able to devote what time I have left to the dharma, but it's terribly difficult with the pain, physically and mentally.
seems like a "hungry ghost" symptom. i would devote to Avalokiteshvara o Buddha Amithaba, there are something called mantras of them, if you apply them with the aim of preparing for for your death you may be able to prevent a bad future.

try to find some buddhis teacher and ask "please, the time for my death quickly approaches, please give me transmission and instructions on the mantra of Avalokiteshvara or Buddha Amithaba so i can prepare" , if you can't let me know. i myself will help.
Please help me friend.
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 2879
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: Tokyo
Contact:

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by Zhen Li »

I have continued to live with chronic pain since my teenage years. Sitting in a meditation hall is possible but not comfortable. While most people can spend the time focusing on their breath or object of meditation, my time is spent watching my mind going back to the pain. Eventually, you come to be able to use the mind's movement as the object of meditation. This allows you to gain some objectivity and not associate with the pain: the pain is not yourself, so it doesn't matter if it is there. It just is there.

In any case, in Mahāyāna Buddhism, we don't need to meditate to practice the Dharma fully. The full path is available for us by aiming to attain birth in Amitābha's Pure Land. So, my practice is now Pure Land practice. Maybe you can do some searches about this online, or browse the Pure Land forums and ask questions about it if it piques your interest.
anagarika
Posts: 170
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:45 am

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by anagarika »

Zhen Li wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 10:07 am Eventually, you come to be able to use the mind's movement as the object of meditation. This allows you to gain some objectivity and not associate with the pain: the pain is not yourself, so it doesn't matter if it is there. It just is there.
I very much agree with this and have found this approach to be really helpful.

Sometimes if the pain or discomfort is not that bad, it is possible that the mind will absorb into something else (breath, kasina, loving kindness, ...) and stops paying attention to it after some time. However if the pain or unpleasant sensation is too prominent, it will keep attracting attention to itself. In that case, it is necessary to stop the mind from trying to get away from it. The vibhava tanha (desire to get rid of) must be quenched first and the unpleasant sensation itself has to become the primary object. In other words, you have to make sure your mind is free from any desire to move away from the pain and also free from any notions of "wrongness" about the pain (aka "this pain sucks, it ruins my meditation, it shouldn´t be there"). You must completely plunge into it, forget about any desire of attaining concentration etc. Go against the habits of bhava/vibhava tanha and let the pain or whatever unpleasant sensation there is permeat the entire field of attention. If your surrender is genuine and there is no mental feeling of wrongness about the pain, you fill soon find that the mind and the pain in some way separate. Or you could say that there is pain, and knowing of pain. The knowing of pain is untouched by the pain.

There are other ways of working with pain, but this one works pretty well for me.
User avatar
Zhen Li
Posts: 2879
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Location: Tokyo
Contact:

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by Zhen Li »

That's a pretty good summary of how this approach works. :good:

Pain can be overbearing at times and it might be hard to see a way to detach from it. Still, you probably get itches and notice them, inevitably itching them. An itch is distracting but not overbearing. Starting with something like that, watching the mind as it gets distracted by itches, and not giving into the habitual urge to itch, might be a gentle introduction to this kind of method.
White Lotus
Posts: 1339
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:56 pm

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by White Lotus »

Focus the pain to slay all notions of self. Literally focus the pain and amplify it into killing your ego. No self, no problem.

When self is no longer an issue pain becomes piquant/spicy.

Hot food no longer burns, iced food no longer chills.

If you can die to self you will die to pain. Life will become radiant.

Samsara is nirvana, but this is not obvious until you have died to self. Then above is as below, below is above.

All paths unite, the Buddha actually begins to shine. What is the point in having a Buddha that does not shine.

There has to be a radical change. With this change pain loses its sharpness.

If you can slay self you drop all negative karma and so the meat eating will be neither here nor there.

Best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 1492
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by Matt J »

I haven't read it, but Shinzen Young had a process called "Breakthrough to Pain."

Mingyur Rinpoche has some videos on it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cBt0ILsyvM
Narrow view, narrow mind.
jet.urgyen
Posts: 2839
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by jet.urgyen »

SkyFox wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 11:54 pm
jet.urgyen wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 9:17 pm
SkyFox wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:55 pm Hey guys. Have any of you dealt with painful chronic conditions and still managed to meditate or practice? My health conditions have worsen badly. I can no longer eat anything but meat or get terrible allergic reactions with my throat closing up. I don't think I have long to live. I want to be able to devote what time I have left to the dharma, but it's terribly difficult with the pain, physically and mentally.
seems like a "hungry ghost" symptom. i would devote to Avalokiteshvara o Buddha Amithaba, there are something called mantras of them, if you apply them with the aim of preparing for for your death you may be able to prevent a bad future.

try to find some buddhis teacher and ask "please, the time for my death quickly approaches, please give me transmission and instructions on the mantra of Avalokiteshvara or Buddha Amithaba so i can prepare" , if you can't let me know. i myself will help.
Please help me friend.
check your inbox.
true dharma is inexpressible.

The bodhisattva nourishes from bodhicitta, through whatever method the Buddha has given him. Oh joy.
User avatar
SkyFox
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2021 1:29 pm

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by SkyFox »

jet.urgyen wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 4:07 am
SkyFox wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 11:54 pm
jet.urgyen wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 9:17 pm

seems like a "hungry ghost" symptom. i would devote to Avalokiteshvara o Buddha Amithaba, there are something called mantras of them, if you apply them with the aim of preparing for for your death you may be able to prevent a bad future.

try to find some buddhis teacher and ask "please, the time for my death quickly approaches, please give me transmission and instructions on the mantra of Avalokiteshvara or Buddha Amithaba so i can prepare" , if you can't let me know. i myself will help.
Please help me friend.
check your inbox.
I did. Thank you very much friend, but I've found some good mantra's on youtube.
Mirror
Posts: 336
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:53 am

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by Mirror »

The practice of Tonglen has helped me greatly. Developing loving-kindness and compassion is the best antidote to suffering in my experience. Think about those with the same or worse suffering than you, it keeps maintain a positive perspective. Also imagine your suffering represents suffering of others and by this others' suffering diminishes.

You can use your suffering to generate renunciation of Samsara and develop faith in Amitabha and vow to be reborn in his Pure Land.
Memento mori
Remember that you die
User avatar
Ayu
Global Moderator
Posts: 13374
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by Ayu »

SkyFox wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:55 pm Hey guys. Have any of you dealt with painful chronic conditions and still managed to meditate or practice? My health conditions have worsen badly. I can no longer eat anything but meat or get terrible allergic reactions with my throat closing up. I don't think I have long to live. I want to be able to devote what time I have left to the dharma, but it's terribly difficult with the pain, physically and mentally.
I dealt with pain from time to time. (Just now, two days ago, I happened to break my arm.)

I found buddhist practice extremely helpful these days but for sure it's not possible to perfom it in perfection.
Helpful and easy are practices that take care of others, like tonglen, medicine buddha, Vajrasattva...
You lie on your bed or sit in the waiting room of the hospital and perfom for all people around you. Or for all people who suffer the same disease like you. For all of them, not excluding yourself, but you're one amongst many.
If anything that you are trying to do is too difficult, skip the difficult items and do the easier ones. The day before yesterday, in hospital, my mind was only able to sing medicine buddha mantra in a youtube's version. I couldn't think of any other practice, because the pain was hard.
I think it was a good practice anyhow and I hope we all burned a lot of negative karma.
User avatar
SkyFox
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2021 1:29 pm

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by SkyFox »

Ayu wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 3:19 pm
SkyFox wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:55 pm Hey guys. Have any of you dealt with painful chronic conditions and still managed to meditate or practice? My health conditions have worsen badly. I can no longer eat anything but meat or get terrible allergic reactions with my throat closing up. I don't think I have long to live. I want to be able to devote what time I have left to the dharma, but it's terribly difficult with the pain, physically and mentally.
I dealt with pain from time to time. (Just now, two days ago, I happened to break my arm.)

I found buddhist practice extremely helpful these days but for sure it's not possible to perfom it in perfection.
Helpful and easy are practices that take care of others, like tonglen, medicine buddha, Vajrasattva...
You lie on your bed or sit in the waiting room of the hospital and perfom for all people around you. Or for all people who suffer the same disease like you. For all of them, not excluding yourself, but you're one amongst many.
If anything that you are trying to do is too difficult, skip the difficult items and do the easier ones. The day before yesterday, in hospital, my mind was only able to sing medicine buddha mantra in a youtube's version. I couldn't think of any other practice, because the pain was hard.
I think it was a good practice anyhow and I hope we all burned a lot of negative karma.
Thank you very much Ayu. You guys are the reason I'm still here. I contemplated ending my life in the past few days. Death was no longer scary, and neither was the knife. However, after reading many post, I've changed my mind.

We've been suffering endlessly for unknown aeons, so what's a few decades of suffering? Even if I can't eat vegetarian like I wanted, I will do so in my next life. Thank you again; I was so closing to wasting this precious human chance :smile:
White Lotus
Posts: 1339
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:56 pm

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by White Lotus »

The more difficult it is; the faster and deeper the progress you make. Use your pain, don’t waste it. Too precious.

You are wonderful. Be strong even if that means becoming weak and gentle.

Thank you Sky Fox for this thread. Helpful. :consoling:
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
User avatar
SkyFox
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2021 1:29 pm

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by SkyFox »

White Lotus wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 7:51 pm The more difficult it is; the faster and deeper the progress you make. Use your pain, don’t waste it. Too precious.

You are wonderful. Be strong even if that means becoming weak and gentle.

Thank you Sky Fox for this thread. Helpful. :consoling:
Thank you friend, so are you :twothumbsup:
Miorita
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2022 11:37 pm
Location: US

Re: Praticing Buddhism with Pain.

Post by Miorita »

I'm happy you changed your mind, SkyFox.

Don't go yet to youtube for mantras! Eventually your pain will subside.

I work at it that hard-headed people give up the causes of their behavior.
Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”