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Is pain comprised of the four great elements. I believe it is because it has hardness/softness, coolness/hotness, etc.

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    Pain is part of the Feeling(vedana) aggregate, while the 4 great elements are part of the Form(rupa) aggregate. More details about the Five Aggregates on en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skandha – santa100 Oct 5 '15 at 16:43
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I think it is better to use awareness or sensation than pain. Brain get information from sense devises. Mind is macro level than bio-chemistry(Micro level) signals . So mind feels hardness/softness, coolness/hotness, etc. This is how maps reality with experience. without physical contact no real sensations create. But in dreams an in trance mind can imagine anything as real. How it works telepathy and extra sensations are beyond this topic. They may be lower level communications.

Buddhism's main aim is not scientific analyses of physical body. But how to create, process and continuous mind(consciousness) and effect of actions('kamma') to it. Studying using meditation as a tool.

as shown in MahaSathipattana Sutta.

“This is a one-way path, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of grief and lamentation, for the extinction of pain and sorrow, for attaining the right way, for the direct realisation of Nibbāna, that is to say, the four ways of attending to mindfulness.

Which four?

Here, monks, a monk dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world.

He dwells contemplating (the nature of) feelings in feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world.

He dwells contemplating (the nature of) the mind in the mind, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world.

He dwells contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world.

In this context all physical things are consider as 'Rupa' and assume they consists with 4 'Maha Butha'('Datu') Patavi, Apo, Tejo, Vayo. The main advantage of this method is reduce complexity to identify "The Body" exactly not more not less. ("Body as body")

Thus he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body in regard to himself, or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body in regard to others, or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body in regard to himself and in regard to others, or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination in the body, or he dwells contemplating the nature of dissolution in the body, or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination and dissolution in the body, or else mindfulness that “there is a body” is established in him just as far as (is necessary for) a full measure of knowledge and a full measure of mindfulness, and he dwells independent, and without being attached to anything in the world.

In this way, monks, a monk dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body.

In meditation the pain is assume as mind object or experience. this can be consider a single object, (as 'vedana' or 'chiththa') or complex object (5 aggrigate).

As shown In The Section on the Constituents (of Mind & Matter)

Moreover, monks, a monk dwells contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things, in the five constituents (of mind and body) that provide fuel for attachment.

And how, monks, does a monk dwell contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things, in the five constituents (of mind and body) that provide fuel for attachment?

Here, monks, a monk (knows): “such is form , such is the origination of form, such is the passing away of form; such is feeling , such is the origination of feeling, such is the passing away of feeling; such is perception , such is the origination of perception, such is the passing away of perception; such are (mental) processes , such is the origination of (mental) processes, such is the passing away of (mental) processes; such is consciousness , such is the origination of consciousness, such is the passing away of consciousness”.

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No! Patavi, Apo, Tejo, Vayo are elements of Rupa. Pain is a sensation caused by those elements coming into contact with the sense doors while the the mind is present.

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The 4 elements can only be sensed through the scene doors, hence in the stand point of a mediator the 4 elements are sensations too. Without a living observer there cannot be any scene of the elements, hence consciousness, faculty, contact, sensation are essential and any experience of the elements is always through sensations or the characteristics of the elements which are felt.

As a side note, in case this question was motivated by trying to reconcile Pa Auk and U Ba Khin methods. This is one of the potential perceived differences between the Goenka/U Ba Khin meditation method and Pa Auk 4 elements meditation methods but at essence they are the same through 4 elements based method is slightly more granularity by further sub dividing the sensation based experiences based on the characteristics of the elements. Also see: The Dynamics of Theravāda Insight Meditation, The Ancient Roots of the U Ba Khin Vipassanā Meditation, The Development of Insight – A Study of the U Ba Khin Vipassanā Meditation Tradition as Taught by S.N. Goenka in Comparison with Insight Teachings in the Early Discourses for Bhikkhu Anālayo's perspective on the matter.

  • I was wondering about this after reading about namarupa. Nama that is feeling,perception,contact, intention and attention and Rupa which are the 4 elements. And I was trying to disassemble pain into these two parts, nama and rupa because it seems possible to see pain as an object like a piece of metal or a piece of wood or some substance with different degrees of hardness,hotness,cohesiveness and movement. But I don't know if this attempt doesn't misrepresents the Dhamma. – user4878 Oct 10 '15 at 7:00
  • Feeling and the elements are 2 sides of the same coin. If you analyse feeling closely they can be classified by the properties according to the elements. The analysis of the elements is also non other than the 4 elements. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Oct 10 '15 at 12:29
  • @UrsulRosu Titth’ayatana Sutta might be an interesting read for you. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Nov 2 '15 at 16:32
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This question makes no sense. The four elements are material & not related to pain.

Pain is vedana kdhanda rather than rupa khandha.

Venerable sir, might there be another way in which a bhikkhu can be called skilled in the elements?”

There might be, Ānanda. There are, Ānanda, these six elements: the earth element, the water element, the fire element, the air element, the space element, and the consciousness element. When he knows and sees these six elements, a bhikkhu can be called skilled in the elements.

But, venerable sir, might there be another way in which a bhikkhu can be called skilled in the elements?”

There might be, Ānanda. There are, Ānanda, these six elements: the pleasure element, the pain element, the joy element, the grief element, the equanimity element, and the ignorance element. When he knows and sees these six elements, a bhikkhu can be called skilled in the elements.

http://www.yellowrobe.com/component/content/article/120-majjhima-nikaya/321-bahudhtuka-sutta-the-many-kinds-of-elements.html

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