PAIN AND SUFFERING



Why do we enjoy our own pain? What is the mechanism of that?

If you reflect on your past, you will notice that all bad things that happened to you appear as if they happened yesterday and the memory of good things appear as if in a fog. Our ego feels its presence more deeply in pain or in pain-causing events, thoughts, emotions. So we always think about such things which bring unhappiness. In that unhappiness, we feel 'it's happening to me,' even though it happened 10-20 years ago. So pain and suffering are the expression of the ego caused by desires and attachments.



We get so busy in our lives and identify with the body-mind complex. What can we do to see the mind and body as two separate principles?

Body is an instrument for the mind to function and create ignorance. In that state of ignorance we strive for worldly happiness, success, etc. so it's real to us. If we say it's all nothing and sit aside doing nothing, then we end up living in more pain. When the mind starts seeing the pain and its cause, desires, then the mind starts separating its attachment to objects. This non-attachment is not physical but the mind starts seeing there is no actual value in worldly things. If gold is not used as a precious metal in the world, no one will pick up gold lying on the ground. We gave values and we can devalue them. Mind and body are two separate principles but they work together and enable us to function in the world. They function not due to their own power but there is a power of the self-reflecting in mind-body complex. But in a state of ignorance the power of the self is not identified and mind-body complex becomes the knower, perceiver, performer, etc.



Recently my dad died and it gave my mind a lot of pain. I have other people in my life who I am actually attached to. How do we devalue? Intellectually I realize that. How do I take it to a deeper step?

It's quite natural for you to feel pain when your dad died. Children are attached to their parents and parents are attached to their children. This attachment is a rope which ties down people they love. If you reflect on this attachment, you will find that it is a mental conditioning. Because you have established a relationship with them as “my -----”, so our ego expects them to live forever. But if we reflect on truth then we will find that no one is immortal. We can prove it because there is no one alive from past 1000 years. So we have to accept the truth that anyone who takes birth has an end.



It seems we have to go through this pain in order to come to liberation.

Pain reminds us of our goal of achieving liberation. No one wants to live in pain. We are born with some divine knowledge. These are the four situations which make a person to seek for liberation. Buddha was a prince. Everything was available to him. He had a wife and son. Still he felt pain in all that power, property, name, fame, etc. He renounced everything and traveled from place to place in order to seek for eternal peace.



The commentary mentioned the pain of the unborn child. I don't understand what kind of suffering there is in the womb.

When the child is in the womb, it becomes aware of pleasure and pain after the fourth month. The derangement of humors of mother's body can cause pain to the baby.



What about playing violent video games or games on the computer? Is that a form of violence?

There are so many violent games. Why children throw rocks on a frog pond? The frogs are not harming anyone. You see violence is in human nature. That's why first comes nonviolence in the five rules of yames. If you think of opposites of these five rules of yamas, you will find the opposite of yama and niyama support our egocentric existence. We want to feel our existence and we feel it in violence, pain, miseries, selfishness, etc. If in doing good things, we don't feel pride, name and fame, then only that selfless action reduces egocentric desires. We do good things and also want everybody should know about it. In such good work with self-interest, we are not releasing ourselves from the trap of ignorance. Children will play violent games as long as they don't understand what violence is and how it is harming our mind by creating violent memories.



I am wondering about the goal of life and liberation.

What is life? Life is our feeling of I-amness. What does it do? It creates an illusory world for its self-interest. That brings pain and miseries. That state of mind brings the idea of getting liberation. That's our goal. So the purpose of human life is 1) experience which is natural, 2) getting liberation from all experience which we have to attain by purifying our mind by living a virtuous life.



In the unfolding of the divine plan, even though there is more attachment, is it creating the ability for the knower to know itself? Is there a divine plan?

Prakriti exists for the Purusha to be known by itself. Prakriti is for experience and that experience creates pleasure, pain, attachment. When the mind starts seeing the cause of pain, then it starts withdrawing from all pain-causing things. Divine plan is experience and get liberation from all the experienced memories. We are nothing but our memories. We don't know the future and the present is only a moment, so we are living in our past memories. It's hard. But real. Watch your mind and you will notice the past is chasing you all the time and everywhere. The knower is the conscious principle. It doesn't need to know itself because it is only conscious principle inside out. The embodied self which is rooted in the mind acts like the mind. That self needs to achieve liberation from the mental experiences.



On the road to dispassion, is the realization that we have to remove all the pain, and that pleasure is pain, is that what is causing the pain? If you realize that you're trying to get liberation through dispassion and know that you have to let go of all this, does that cause the pain?

If all the memories are totally forgotten, then you are liberated right there. Nirvana is a term for liberation. Nir = without; vana = arrow, or pain causing. Freedom from pain is nirvana. Attachment is that shackle which binds a being into ignorance. Dispassion is that force which breaks the shackle into pieces and liberates the soul.



© 1998 Sri Rama Publishing           
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