Thread: Difficulties

  1. #1
    Dear friends,

    Have you had difficulties with any of the Buddhist teachings and practices?

    Please share

  2. #2
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Concord, New Hampshire, U.S.A.
    Yes. I have had difficulty consistently complying with "The Simile of The Saw":

    In particular, this passage:
    "Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.
    "Monks, if you attend constantly to this admonition on the simile of the saw, do you see any aspects of speech, slight or gross, that you could not endure?"

    My main concern is eventually running out of limbs.

  3. #3
    There's an alternate translation for MN 21 here:

    Also, in MN 28, Ven Sariputta gives an example of the simile of the saw spoken by the Buddha, so having this pure attitude towards others was obviously considered very important.

    I assume that such extreme examples were used in order to get the message across about not giving in to anger, even in very difficult circumstances. Here's the passage from MN28 :

    "And if other people attack the monk in ways that are undesirable, displeasing, & disagreeable — through contact with fists, contact with stones, contact with sticks, or contact with knives — the monk discerns that 'This body is of such a nature that contacts with fists come, contacts with stones come, contacts with sticks come, & contacts with knives come. Now the Blessed One has said, in his exhortation of the simile of the saw, "Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding." So my persistence will be aroused & untiring, my mindfulness established & unconfused, my body calm & unaroused, my mind centered & unified. And now let contact with fists come to this body, let contact with stones, with sticks, with knives come to this body, for this is how the Buddha's bidding is done.'

  4. #4
    Here's some advice about anger from Gil Fonsdal taken from his article "Working with Anger":

    How can we work with this difficult emotion?

    Meditation can be very helpful. In it we can experience our anger without inhibitions, judgments, or interpretations. It can be a relief to discover a capacity for witnessing anger without either pushing it away or engaging with it. In fact, meditation may well be the safest place to be angry, to learn to let it flow through us freely, without either condemnation or approval.

    With non-reactive mindfulness as the foundation, we can investigate anger deeply through the body, emotions and thoughts. Anger can open us to a world of self-discovery.

    Anger tends to be directed outward towards an object, towards other people, events, or even parts of ourselves. In mindfulness meditation, we turn the mind away from the object of anger to study the source of the anger and the subjective experience of being angry.

    We can investigate anger through the sensations of the body. The direct experience of anger may result in sensations of heat, tightness, pulsation or contraction. The breathing may become heavy or rapid, and the heart may beat strongly. Since these sensations are direct and immediate, bringing attention to them helps lessen the preoccupation with the object of the anger and with the story of why we are angry. This in turn, helps us to be more fully present for the anger in and of itself.

    Turning our attention away from the object of our anger is important because, while the conditions giving rise to anger may be varied, the direct causes of hostile anger are found within the person who is angry.

    More at the link:

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