I have a major problem in my practice. When things are going well in life ,doubt rarely raises its head and I practice diligently. However , when something bad happens , I feel, how could this happen , I practiced so much. I start losing faith in the Dhamma and start to question whether it is real or helpful. This is a very painful position to be in.

There are things causing doubt; frequently giving unwise attention to them — that is the nourishment for the arising of doubt that has not yet arisen, and for the increase and strengthening of doubt that has already arisen.

— SN 46:51

When in the midst of painful emotion , this is what revolves in my head. How do I take this advice of the Buddha on a practical level. How do I stop giving "unwise attention" to the events that arise doubt like when accosted with suffering even though I practice so diligently. I would like to hear you own practical experience or links to any meditations out there.

Furthermore, for denourishing of doubt , there are the five antidotes:

  1. Knowledge of the Buddhist scriptures (Doctrine and Discipline);

  2. Asking questions about them;

  3. Familiarity with the Vinaya (the Code of Monastic Discipline, and for lay followers, with the principles of moral conduct);

4.Firm conviction concerning the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

  1. Noble friendship;

  2. Suitable conversation.

In addition, the following are helpful in conquering Doubt:

Reflection, of the factors of absorption (jhananga); Wisdom, of the spiritual faculties (indriya); Investigation of reality, of the factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga).

How do I apply these antidotes practically , I read Dhamma books almost everyday , chant everyday and meditate. But when I am suffering , I feel anger and disbelief at the Dhamma . Even though I am practising so much ,I am still suffering.

How can I overcome this very toxic and negative wrong-view to continue my Dhamma practice?

3 Answers 3


There are times when there's nothing to do but watch. Put aside the expectations for yourself gained by reading the Dhamma. Unwise attention, in this case, would include reading about arahants and then judging yourself for not being like them.

Just focus on what is right here. Focus on the doubt itself, or on the body, and the feelings in the body created by the negative emotions - the constricted breath, the aches and tensions, the agitation, the rushing thoughts.

Resolve to sit, but don't expect anything from the sitting- just put in the time. If chanting feels like a chore, just sit instead.

Find some small, easy, thing to do that is useful, or is kind and helpful to someone else, and do that.

Or just sit still and count to 100, if that's all you can manage. These are all wise and skillful actions and are Dhamma.

If you just do your best to not nourish the already-arisen thoughts, then you are practicing Dhamma. You're experiencing an emotional flood, created by long-past circumstances. The flood is pulling away your energy and faith. Wise attention, in this case, is to let the flood wash through, watch your energy and faith fade away, and stay aware. Later, the energy and faith will return - it is inevitable- and you will have have strength again to nourish new, increased faith and energy, but for now, just do what you can.


There's no such thing as "something bad happens". The painful emotion you experience is solely because of your attachment.

The unwise attention is to project this emotion outwards as "something bad happened even though I practice so hard".

The wise attention is to see "here is a painful emotion. Let me see which attachment it's caused by and let that go ASAP"


OP: But when I am suffering , I feel anger and disbelief at the Dhamma . Even though I am practising so much, I am still suffering.

According to Itivuttaka 44, enlightened ones can still feel pain and pleasure:

"What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbana-element with residue left.

However, the enlightened ones don't suffer, even when they feel pain and pleasure (from DN16):

And soon after the Blessed One had eaten the meal provided by Cunda the metalworker, a dire sickness fell upon him, even dysentery, and he suffered sharp and deadly pains. But the Blessed One endured them mindfully, clearly comprehending and unperturbed.

So, it is not that negative situations stop happening when you practice or even become enlightened, but rather, you face them differently. This applies to both health and other types of situations. Also see this answer.

In the Nakulapita Sutta:

"So it is, householder. So it is. The body is afflicted, weak, & encumbered. For who, looking after this body, would claim even a moment of true health, except through sheer foolishness? So you should train yourself: 'Even though I may be afflicted in body, my mind will be unafflicted.' That is how you should train yourself."

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