Liberation through Feelings.
These are notes from Chapter 11 in Joseph Goldstein’s book,
The purpose of these teaching is freeing the mind from
It is about liberation
Getting more comfortable in our lives
Or sorting out our personal histories
These might be helpful
But this exploration is about the larger questions of birth,
aging, disease, and death
And how we can be free in this great cyclical wheel of
The Buddha begins this section with:
“And how, Bhikkhus,
does one in regard to feelings, abide contemplating feelings?”
what is meant by the word feelings
which is the English translation of the Pali word vedana?
14 different meanings of feelings
in the Webster dictionary.
Opinions or attitudes
In Buddhism, feelings
is more narrowly defined with a specific meaning
Mindfulness of feeling is one of the master keys that both
reveals and unlocks the deepest patterns of our conditioning.
specifically refers to
With the content of each moment’s experience
feelings are both physical and mental phenomena
Feelings is used
The four foundations of mindfulness
As one of the five aggregates of existence
As a key link in the teaching of dependent
condition our various responses in the mind and actions in the world.
If we are not mindful:
Pleasant feelings habitually
condition desire and clinging
Unpleasant feelings condition
dislike and aversion
Neutral feelings condition delusion
is, not really knowing what is going on
These same feelings are the vehicle to our freedom.
A trained and untrained mind
The uninstructed worldling
The instructed noble disciple
Usually in an untrained mind:
The first dart is contact with a painful feeling
The second dart is our unpleasant mental
reaction to the first dart, producing more suffering
With more suffering, we try to seek delight in
We need to be mindful of the original feeling tone.
Many of our actions throughout the day come from trying to
avoid negative feelings.
In later chapters we will explore the teaching of the
enjoyment of sense pleasure
The escape from sense pleasures
For now, let’s just say, sense pleasures are transient, they
are not a refuge from suffering.
“Being contacted by that same painful feeling, one harbors no aversion
Being contacted by painful feeling, one does not seek delight in
If one feels a pleasant feeling, one feels it detached.
If one feels a painful feeling, one feels it detached.
If one feels a neither-painful-nor pleasant feeling, one feels it
This, bhikkhus, is called a noble disciple who is detached from birth,
ageing and death; who is detached from sorrow, pain, displeasure and despair,
who is detached from suffering.
This, bhikkhus, is the distinction, the disparity, the difference
between the instructed noble disciple and the uninstructed worldling.”
Desirable things do not provoke one’s mind,
Towards the undesired one has no aversion.
There is a difference with
staying with the first dart and feeling it
And then, noticing the distraction
and exaggeration that happens with our reactions to the first dart, we get lost in our reactions.
The difference between the initial unpleasant sensations, and being lost in reactivity, starts to become clear.
Why does our mind cling to the reactivity of patterns of
fear and hope.
that the painful feelings would go on forever
hope that they would finally go away.
Why doesn’t the mind just naturally rest in the ease of mindful
Why don’t we just come back to the sensations of the present
It is possible to retrain the mind
We can see the power and depth of our habituated responses.
It is possible to make an end to suffering by abandoning
awareness of feelings.
We may say, How could this be possible, abandoning clinging to desire and aversion?
Buddha says, this is something we can do and that we do it
in the moment.
In the moment we say,
When feeling a pleasant feeling, one knows, “I feel a pleasant
When feeling an unpleasant feeling, one knows, “I feel an unpleasant
When feeling a neutreal feeling, one knows, “I feel a neutral feeling.”
It is a simple, direct, and clear recognition of the feeling
aspect of experience.
We don’t need to analyze, judge, compare, or even
particularly to understand why these feelings are happening,.
Its simply to know that
Pleasant feelings are like this
Unpleasant feelings are like this
Neutral feelings are like this.
This is a mindfulness practice.
Just noting pleasant, unpleasant, neutral.
Seeing the transient nature of feelings.
Or the practice of:
like this, I don’t like this
the feelings that preceded these judgments
Seeing the changing
nature of feelings
From noticing the quickly changing nature of pleasant,
unpleasant, and neutral
We can have more direct insight into their impermanent
Through seeing how transient the feelings are, changing all
We can become less identified with them
attached, less fearful
Just as many diverse winds
Blow back and forth across the sky,
Easterly winds and westerly winds,
Northerly winds and southerly winds,
Dusty winds and dustless winds,
Sometimes cold, sometimes hot,
Those that are strong and others mild-
Winds of many kinds that blow;
So in the very body here,
Various kinds of feelings arise,
Pleasant ones and painful ones,
And those neither painful nor pleasant.
But when a bhikkhu who is ardent
Does not neglect clear comprehension,
Then that wise one fully understands
Feelings in their entirety.
Having fully understood feelings,
One is taintless in this very life.
Standing in dhamma, with the body’s breakup,
The knowledge-master cannot be reckoned.
Training the mind
Training the mind in observation of different feelings and
Do we indulge or resist?
Are we mindful and non-reactive?
Can we see clearly the impermanent nature of
How do we react to the unpleasant?
How does the mind react to illness?
o Buddha: “you
should train like this: my body may be sick yet my mind will remain unafflicted.
Can we train our minds for dying which can be uncomfortable
and unpleasant? We can learn to be
at peace or ease even with uncomfortable feelings.
It is not the objects in our life that are MAKING us annoyed.
Its our reactions to the objects that we can practice with.
is our attachment or aversion to the object that is producing our distress
the object itself.
“Whatever feeling one feels, whether pleasant, unpleasant or
in those feelings
Contemplating thus, one does not cling to anything in this world. When one does not cling, one is not
agitated. When one is not
agitated, one personally attains Nibbana.”
Labels: Buddhist detachment, Buddhist impermanence, Joseph Goldstein"s Mindfulness, Mindfulness of feelings, moment-to-moment awareness, Satipatthana Sutra, vedana