Mind seeing mind

The mind sent outside is the origination of suffering.

The result of the mind sent outside is suffering.

The mind seeing the mind is the path.

The result of the mind seeing the mind is the cessation of suffering.

– Ajaan Dune Atulo, Thai Forest Tradition. 

Pain and suffering

“When you get hurt, say, by an arrow, that is pain. The arrow hitting your arm, it hurts. Pain. However, there is a second arrow, which is your reaction to the arrow, the getting angry, the planning revenge, that is beyond pain, that is suffering.”

– Old Buddhist saying, based on teachings in the Sallatha Sutta.

Suffering

When Lord Buddha spoke about suffering, he wasn’t referring simply to superficial problems like illness and injury, but to the fact that the dissatisfied nature of the mind itself is suffering. No matter how much of something you get, it never satisfies your desire for better or more. This unceasing desire is suffering; its nature is emotional frustration.

– Lama Yeshe, Tibetan Buddhism.

The End of Ill

Now have I understood how ill does come,

Craving, the Cause, is dried up in me.
Have I not walked, have I not touched the End Of ill โ€” the Ariyan, the Eightfold Noble Path.

– Verse attributed to Bhikkhuni Sangha.

The tail of the snake

We human beings don’t want suffering. We want nothing but pleasure. But actually, pleasure is nothing but subtle suffering. Pain is blatant suffering. To put it in simple terms, suffering and pleasure are like a snake. Its head is suffering; its tail is pleasure. Its head contains poison. Its mouth contains poison. If you get near its head, it’ll bite you. If you catch hold of its tail it seems safe, but if you hold onto its tail without letting go, it can turn around and bite you just the same. That’s because both the head of the snake and the tail of the snake are on the same snake.

Both happiness and sadness come from the same parents: craving and delusion. That’s why there are times when you’re happy but still restless and ill at ease โ€” even when you’ve gotten things you like, such as material gain, status, and praise. When you get these things you’re happy, but your mind isn’t really at peace because there’s still the sneaking suspicion that you’ll lose them. You’re afraid they’ll disappear. This fear is the cause that keeps you from being at peace. Sometimes you actually do lose these things and then you really suffer. This means that even though these things are pleasant, suffering lies fermenting in the pleasure. We’re simply not aware of it. Just as when we catch hold of a snake: Even though we catch hold of its tail, if we keep holding on without letting go, it can turn around and bite us.

So the head of the snake and the tail of the snake, evil and goodness: These form a circle that keeps turning around. That’s why pleasure and pain, good and bad are not the path.

โ€“ Ajahn Chah, Theravada, Thai Forest Tradition.

Two sides of a coin

Any happiness there is in the world ultimately turns to pain. Why? Consider the two sides of a coin: just because what we desire is to be seen on the front does not mean that dislike wonโ€™t soon appear on the back. Likewise, hope and fear are a single coin, one entity with two facesโ€”on the other side of a moment in which we hope for more happiness will be our fear of more suffering. Until attachment is eliminated, we can be certain of having both hope and fear. As long as there is hope and fear, the delusions of samsara will be perpetuated and there will be constant suffering. Thus attachment is the nature of both hope and fear: looking at the ultimate emptiness of the self-envisioned magical illusion of hope and fear, we should hang loosely in the flow.

– Tulku Pema Rigtsal, Nyingma, Tibetan Buddhism.

Orphan

Our mind, when there’s no one looking after it, is like a child without parents to look after it โ€” an orphaned child, a child with no protector. A person without a protector suffers, and it’s the same with the mind. If it’s not trained, if its views aren’t straightened out into right views, it’s put to a lot of difficulties.

– Ajahn Chah, Theravada, Thai Forest Tradition.

Thorns

Things are simply the way they are. ย They don’t give us suffering. Like a thorn: Does a sharp thorn give us suffering? ย No. It’s simply a thorn. ย It doesn’t give suffering to anybody. ย If we step on it, we suffer immediately.

Why do we suffer? ย Because we stepped on it. So the suffering comes from us.

– Ajahn Chah, Theravada, Thai Forest Tradition.