4

So I have been doing different meditation techniques to control/reduce different poisons(Klesha) of mind. Such as I do

  1. Asuaba(Perception of Unattractiveness) for Lust

  2. Perception of Loving Kindness (Metta) for Hatred

  3. Anapanasati for overflowing of thoughts

  4. Perception of Compassion (Karuna) for thoughts of harming

  5. Perception of Sympathetic-Joy (Muditha) for jealous and so on.

But when ever I encounter thoughts or memories of sorrow and pain, loss, I get confused on what meditation technique I should use to overcome it. All the dark memories haunt me, and i tend to fight them. But most of the time I fail to overcome them. And in that process my mind and body energy is already consumed and i become tired and sometimes i get a migraine.

Is there any specific technique to overcome sorrow and pain? I know that Satipattanaya is there only way of overcoming sorrow, pain and loss, But i want to know the specific technique that I could practice on.

A sutta reference is appreciated.

-Metta

  • Detachment. would be my suggestion. But all the methods overlap. – PeterJ Sep 14 at 14:05
5

Each technique a type of character or mental biase.

  • Greedy: the ten foulness meditations; or, body contemplation.
  • Hating: the four brahma-viharas; or, the four color kasinas.
  • Deluded: mindfulness of breath.
  • Faithful: the first six recollections.
  • Intelligent: recollection of marana or Nibbana; the perception of disgust of food; or, the analysis of the four elements.
  • Speculative: mindfulness of breath. The six non-color kasinas and the four formless states are suitable for all temperaments.

See: Kammaṭṭhāna

The main techniques to overcome sorrow are:

These address the root cause.

Samantha techniques temporarily suppresses the hindrances which being clarity to continue into Vipassanā. So some of the techniques you mention are not the most suitable through if you practice the Brahmavihara and loathsome mediation in such a way that it develops Insight this also can be helpful. The more sure way is always 4 Satipatthana and Anapanasati practised as Vipassana than to develop Samatha.

As for specific techniques, they are described below. In short, what you have to do is concentrate on the feeling of sorrow and other experiences until you understand it.

One of the shortest renderings of Insight meditation is as follows:

(1) having put away covetousness and displeasure in the world, a monk dwells exertive, fully aware, mindful, contemplating body in the body.

(2) Having put away covetousness and displeasure in the world, he dwells exertive, fully aware, mindful, contemplating feeling in the feelings.

(3) Having put away covetousness and displeasure in the world, he dwells exertive, fully aware, mindful, contemplating mind in the mind.

(4) Having put away covetousness and displeasure in the world, he dwells exertive, fully aware, mindful, contemplating phenomena [dharmas] in the phenomena.

Sacca Vibhanga Sutta and also similar passage is found in (Magga) Vibhaṅga Sutta

One of the recurring elements here is putting away covetousness and displeasure in the world which is the task at hand. In addition you have to put effort to that task and also you should not have a lapse of mindfulness when doing this task, otherwise you will not attend to it and perhaps do something else. In short the key elements are awareness, clear comprehension and abandoning craving.

Covetousness and displeasure are result of mental reaction to sensations:

(1) the latent tendency to lust reinforced by being attached to pleasant feelings;

(2) the latent tendency to aversion reinforced by rejecting painful feelings;

(3) the latent tendency to ignorance reinforced by ignoring neutral feelings.

Pahāna Sutta

In addition the 6 sense bases can be the source of these sensations which result in unwholesome roots:

i. On seeing a form with the eye,

  • one investigates the form that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the form that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the form that is the basis of equanimity.

ii. On hearing a sound with the ear,

  • one investigates the sound that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the sound that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the sound that the basis of equanimity.

iii. On smelling a smell with the nose,

  • one investigates the smell that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the smell that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the smell that is the basis of equanimity.

iv. On tasting a taste with the tongue,

  • one investigates the taste that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the taste that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the taste that is the basis of equanimity.

v. On feeling a touch with the body,

  • one investigates the touch that is the basis for mental joy,
  • one investigates the touch that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the touch that is the basis of equanimity.

vi. On cognizing a mind-object with the mind,

  • one investigates the mind-object that the basis of mental joy,
  • one investigates the mind-object that is the basis of mental pain,
  • one investigates the mind-object that is the basis of equanimity.

Dhātu Vibhaṅga Sutta

To prevent your mental reaction to sensation becoming unwholesome you can try:

“Nothing is worth clinging to”

When this was said, the venerable Mahā Moggallāna said this to the Blessed One: “In what way, bhante, in brief, is a monk freed through the destruction of craving, that is, one who has reached total perfection, the total security from bondage, the total holy life, the total consummation, the highest amongst gods and humans?”

“Here, Moggallāna, the monk has learned that nothing is worth clinging to. And, Moggallāna, a monk has learned that nothing is worth clinging to, thus: he directly knows all things [he directly knows the nature of the all]. Having directly known the nature of all things, he fully understands all things.

Having fully understood all things, he knows whatever feelings there are, whether pleasant, painful or neither painful nor pleasant.

As regards to those feelings, [Section on Disillusionment and Revulsion (Nibbida) follows]

he dwells contemplating impermanence in them;

he dwells contemplating dispassion [fading away of lust] in them;

he dwells contemplating ending (of suffering) in them;

he dwells contemplating letting go (of defilements).

When he dwells contemplating impermanence in them, contemplating dispassion in them, contemplating ending in them, contemplating letting go, he does not cling to anything in the world. Not clinging, he is not agitated; being not agitated, he himself surely attains nirvana.

Pacalā Sutta

Another rendering of the same is as follows:

If he feels a pleasant feeling,

  • he understands that it is impermanent;
  • he understands that it is not to be clung to;
  • he understands that there is no delight in it.

If he feels a painful feeling,

  • he understands that it is impermanent;
  • he understands that it is not to be clung to;
  • he understands that there is no delight in it.

If he feels a neutral feeling,

  • he understands that it is impermanent;
  • he understands that it is not to be clung to;
  • he understands that there is no delight in it.

If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it in a detached manner.

If he feels a painful feeling, he feels it in a detached manner.

If he feels a neutral feeling, he feels it in a detached manner.

Dhātu Vibhaṅga Sutta

You should be careful that you do not react to the sensation with unwholesome thoughts which are craving, aversion or ignorance.

(1) the latent tendency to lust reinforced by being attached to pleasant feelings;

(2) the latent tendency to aversion reinforced by rejecting painful feelings;

(3) the latent tendency to ignorance reinforced by ignoring neutral feelings.

Pahāna Sutta

Now to reduce mental chatter you can use initial and sustained application:

When, bhikshu, this samadhi has been cultivated, well cultivated by you, then you should train yourself thus:

“I will dwell exertive, clearly aware, mindful,

observing [contemplating] the in the,

removing covetousness and displeasure [discontent] in regard to the world.”

Thus, bhikshu, you should train yourself.

When, bhikshu, this samadhi has been cultivated, well cultivated by you, then, you, bhikshu,

THE 1 ST DHYANA:

should cultivate this samadhi with initial application, with sustained application;

should cultivate this samadhi without initial application, with only sustained application;

THE 2 ND DHYANA:

should cultivate this samadhi without initial application, without sustained application;

should cultivate this samadhi with zest;

THE 3RD DHYANA:

should cultivate this samadhi zest-free;

should cultivate this samadhi attended by comfort;

THE 4 TH DHYANA:

should cultivate this samadhi attended by equanimity.

Saṅkhitta Dhamma Sutta

Also one should abandon fabrications. [Samma Ditthi Sutta] One such fabrications is thinking and pondering. [Cūla Vedalla Sutta] Beyond the 1st Jhana you can cut this out. Also thinking and pondering leads to latent tendencies (see: Anusaya by Piya Tan). Suppressing it thinking and pondering suppresses concept proliferation which in turn suppresses the latent tendencies. The Jhana also suppress the 5 Hindrances.

“Bhikshu, as regards the source from which proliferation of conception and perception assails a person: if one were to find nothing there to delight in, nothing there to welcome, nothing to cling to—this is the end of

  • the latent tendency of lust,
  • the latent tendency of aversion,
  • the latent tendency of views,
  • the latent tendency of doubt,
  • the latent tendency of conceit,
  • the latent tendency of desire for existence, and
  • the latent tendency of ignorance.

This is the ending of the taking up of the rod and the sword, quarrels, disputes, mayhem [strife], slandering and lying —here these evil unwholesome states cease without remainder.”

Avuso, dependent on the [eye | ear | nose | tongue | body | mind] and [form | sound | smell | taste | touch | mind-object], [eye | ear | nose | tongue | body | mind]-consciousness arises.

  • The meeting of the three is contact.

  • With contact as condition, there is feeling.

  • What one feels, one perceives.

  • What one perceives, one thinks about.

  • What one thinks about, one mentally proliferates.

From that as source, proliferation of conception and perception assails a person regarding past, future and present [forms | sounds | smells | tastes | touch | mind-objects] cognizable through the [eye | ear | nose | tongue | body | mind].

Madhu,piṇḍika Sutta

Above clarity from the suppression of hindrances and latent dependencies can be used to further develop Insight.

One should also contemplate causality:

As such, bhikshus, the instructed noble disciple closely and wisely attends to dependent arising itself, thus:

“When this is, that is;

  • with the arising of this, that arises.

  • When this is not, that is not;

  • with the ending of this, that ends.”

Bhikshus, dependent on pleasant contact, a pleasant feeling arises. With the ending of the pleasant contact, the pleasant feeling that arose in dependent on that pleasant contact, ceases, is stilled.

Bhikshus, dependent on painful contact, a painful feeling arises. With the ending of the painful contact, the painful feeling that arose in dependent on that painful contact, ceases, is stilled.

Bhikshus, dependent on neutral contact, a neutral feeling arises. With the ending of the neutral contact, the neutral feeling that arose in dependent on that neutral contact, ceases, is stilled.

Assutava Sutta 2

The arising and passing nature of the sensations result in unsatisfactoriness. Uncontrollable nature results in unsatisfactoriness. What cases sensations are also arising and passing which case the sensations to arise and pass. The cause of sensations are not controllable. Therefore, the whole sphere of experience is unsatisfactory.

  • pleasant feeling is pleasant when it persists, painful when it changes;
  • painful feeling is painful when it persists, pleasant when it changes;
  • neutral feeling is pleasant when there is knowledge of it, painful when there is no knowledge of it.

Cūla Vedalla Sutta

The whole sphere of what can be experienced can be categorized into 3 sensations and their variant. (Indriya Bhāvanā Sutta and Sal,āyatana Vibhanga Sutta different shades of these sensations.) As noted above the whole sphere of sensations is unsatisfactory. Since what can be experienced and know fall into the 3 sessions the whole sphere of experience is also unsatisfactory. The aggregates of consciousness is unsatisfactory as what it cognises is unsatisfactory. The aggregates of sensations is unsatisfactory. The aggregate of which classifies as favorable, unfavorable and neutral is unsatisfactory as the mental reaction to such and the sensations that follow are unsatisfactory. The experience thought the body is unsatisfactory and the perceptions about form is unsatisfactory. This lead to the 1st Noble Truth.

What does one know [cognize] with that consciousness?

  • One knows, "It is pleasant."
  • One knows. "It is painful."
  • One knows, "It is neutral."

Dhātu Vibhaṅga Sutta

Also see:

Finally the way to develop the Brahmavihara along with insight is as follows:

The goal of Metta meditation is to develop friendly feeling towards all living beings though Sila, Samadhi and Panna (in combination with equanimity) can be developed with it.

This is achieved by breaking down the mental classification you have towards individual beings or classes of them into groups which you deem favorable, unfavorable or neutral and reacting to them with pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feeling associated with each classification. One such classification systems would be me, beings I like, neutral or unknown beings and being you do not like. When you break down the classification you will like everyone like yourself. Another classification could be same country, neutral country and enemy country. When you break down the mental classification system you will love everyone as your fellow country men. Another classification could be higher life forms, lower life forms and same level life forms. When you break down this classification you will love all living beings equally.

When you classify if a being is from a favorable category you react with pleasant sensation, unfavorable category with unpleasant sensation and neutral category with unpleasant sensations. These sensation lead to the unwholesome roots of craving for the favorable and pleasant, aversion towards the unfavorable and unpleasant and ignorance towards the neutral, as discussed in the Pahāna Sutta. When such reaction stops you stop creating negative mental states and come out of misery.

In order to develop Metta you should wish every one in every category you can imagine to be well and happy. Also know how the classifications are woulding in the back of your mind and know mental reaction and sensation. Say you remember and foe look at the mental reaction and sensations that follow. If you remember a loved one see the mental reaction and the sensations that follows. Try to be equanimous knowing the changes and and arising and passing nature of the sensations.

Once the favorable and unfavorable categorisations are broken you do not despair if you meet with non loved one and with equanimity you do not get attached to others. Others cannot cause you stress.

The Metta pratice encompases the the 3 Fold Training and Noble 8 Fold Path:

  • Sila - because you with metta you act for one’s well being and that of other
  • Samadhi - Metta build some level of concentration by repeated thoughts
  • Panna - if you look at how you categorise and perceive how beings are favorable or unfavorable and how sensation arise, your mental reaction due to craving and clinging, (impact on the current and future 5 aggregates) then this can develop insight

Karuṇā and Muditā meditation, apart from developing the qualities, can in understanding the process behind perceptions, view, thoughts and mental state due to other beings which you calcify and in and inferior situation and superior situation. E.g. is some one is better or the natural dependency is for jealousy to arise, and through Muditā you counteract this. Also if someone is worse off the tendency is Māna to arise, and through Karuṇā you counteract these.

At initial stages conducive thoughts about Brahmavihara will bring about morality. Also continuous focus on the subject of will bring about concentration. The key to Insight is to know how throats, view, perceptions about a being influence your mental state, what current sensation associated with these unwholesome mental states and volitions in the present lead to unpleasant sensations in the future, how perceptions and view about beings proliferate to latent tendencies, how these sensation leads to craving and how these sensations are entirely unsatisfactory. Sensation associated with mental states can be used as the basis for moral restraint, developing a conducive environment for concentration and also wisdom, which can be achieved through Brahmavihara. Also see: Sedaka Sutta (Sila), Saṅkhitta Dhamma Sutta (Samadhi), Kīta,giri Sutta (Sila, Panna).

Foulness meditation does my not counteract sorrow if practiced for the purpose of reducing polarity or the mind or temperament, but can also lead to In sight which leads to liberation from sorrow. It also is it dangerous if over done, or improperly done, as you might develop aversion towards one's own body. This has lead to suicides. But it does have its usefulness if practiced correctly. This is to be practiced if one is lustful, that is you have the perversion (see: Vipallasa Sutta) of seeing beauty is form. By contemplating on foules you are cultivating the opposite perception, view and thoughts. When this neutralises the lustful tendencies you do not react to beauty with lust. If you overdo it you might start loathing your own body in which case you have to try to see beauty in the form until your mind and tendencies are no longer polarised. Indriya Bhāvanā Sutta discusses developing the opposite of perceptions that arise. In addition to developing the opposite of a lustful temperament you can also build insight of how perception works, what sensations arise due to form and what the mental reactions are. E.g. you see a beautiful body see the sensations, perception of beauty arsing and the metal reactions. Now you should try to understand the following:

  • On seeing beauty what sensations arises (vedanā), how recognise (saññā) it or how you judge (saññā) it or how you evaluate (saññā) it followed by your mental reaction (saṅkhāra)
  • now imagining that a person was skinned and is a pile of body part see what sensations arises (vedanā), how recognise (saññā) it or how you judge (saññā) it or how you evaluate (saññā) it followed by your mental reaction (saṅkhāra)
  • now imagining what the body ages and is old see what sensations arises (vedanā), how recognise (saññā) it or how you judge (saññā) it or how you evaluate (saññā) it followed by your mental reaction (saṅkhāra)
  • now imagining a decaying corpse what sensations arises (vedanā), how recognise (saññā) it or how you judge (saññā) it or how you evaluate (saññā) it followed by your mental reaction (saṅkhāra)

Repeat the above imagining the body was yours, especially in the case you are beautiful or smart.

Thought his try to understand how craving and clinging works and how the 5 aggregates works and how 5 aggregates come into being. Current mental reactions fueled by craving and clinging to unpleasant / neutral sensations creates fabrication which in turn creates the future consciousness and 5 aggregates to experience unpleasant sensations and opposite in the case of pleasant vipaka. Through this you can use foulness meditation to liberate yourself from misery also. But tread with care!

3

I think sorrow and pain come from at four three experiences:

  1. loss due to natural impermanence, such as the death of a loved one

  2. hurt in relation to relationships, which have not worked out or which we were mistreated

  3. failure to achieve personal ambitions

  4. injury or dysfunction of body &/or mind


For loss due to natural impermanence, we can reflect on the inevitability of impermanence, how it cannot be any other way, as explained in DN 16, as follows:

Ananda, have I not taught from the very beginning that with all that is dear and beloved there must be change, separation, and severance? Of that which is born, come into being, is compounded and subject to decay, how can one say: 'May it not come to dissolution!' There can be no such state of things.


For hurt in relation to relationships, I think reflecting about morality is helpful, specifically, how failure or mistreatment comes from a deficiency in morality. If we can reflect upon what is truly morally correct, we can start to see where we failed or where others failed. By knowing what is morally right, we can develop perspective on why the relationship did not work out & make us better prepared for the future. There are many suttas about relationship, such as AN 4.55, AN 4.53 & DN 13, etc.


As for not meeting personal desires or expectations, we can only reflect upon the noble truths & dependent origination, how craving/expectation causes suffering and how human life is often controlled by ignorance. Often, we make mistakes, miss opportunities or simply do not achieve what is wanted because ignorance is a common thing affecting all beings (except Buddhas). Here, we practise reflection upon the imperfection (dukkhata) of life. Here we practise metta & compassion towards ourself.


As for injury or dysfunction of body &/or mind, SN 22.59 explains each of the five aggregates can be subject to affliction, dysfunction or disease (ābādhāya). Again, the meditative reflection is this cannot be any other way; that it is the universal conditional for birth, aging, sickness & death to occur to all conditioned things; which cannot be escaped (except by acceptance, non-attachment & wisdom).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.