what to do with these sensations,these happens all day,why i have to resist to itch i am wondering when i can simply itch that move on.

2 Answers 2


The point is not to resist the urge. The meditation is in observing the effect the itch has on the mind. Satipatthana meditation is defined with three qualities: Ardency, Alertness, and Mindfulness. Let us focus on the first quality here. Though note that all three apply.

"Ardency means being intent on what you're doing, trying your best to do it skillfully. This doesn't mean that you have to keep straining and sweating all the time, just that you're continuous in developing skillful habits and abandoning unskillful ones." - Thanissaro Bhikku

So in this context, we would want to itch in a skillfull way.

How does "Simply itching and moving on" effect us? How does giving into our urges when they come about serve us?

Does giving into the minds urges immediately lead you towards the goal or away from it? Each moment you are conditioning your mind (your kamma). Conditioning your mind to reactivity can lead to unskillful qualities if not done with headfulness.

I encourage you to scratch the itch and observe how your mind reacts. Then don't scratch it and observe it. Does there need to be discomfort because of the itch.

Recall the Five Subjects of Frequent Recollection:

Kammassakomhi kamma-dāyādo kamma-yoni kamma-bandhu kamma-paṭisaraṇo.

I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and live dependent on my actions.

Yaṁ kammaṁ karissāmi kalyāṇaṁ vā pāpakaṁ vā tassa dāyādo bhavissāmi.

Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.

Evaṁ amhehi abhiṇhaṁ paccavekkhitabbaṁ.

We should often reflect on this.

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    scratching feels good while resisting it creates confusion in my mind that why i am not allowed to scratch,that persistent confusion drives me to scratching again ): Jan 20, 2020 at 21:16
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    Scratching does feel good. How does your mind feel with relation to that pleasure? Resisiting also feels pointless and causes confusion. How does tension build from resisting scratching? Does your breathing quicken? Does your chest tighten? Does your face tighten? An itch is a microcosm for how the mind causes itself suffering. Don't think "I'm not allowed to scratch". Vipassana is not dogmatic. Oberserve how your mind acts when you believe you must do something. The easiest way to start this is to observe how the body reacts. If it's tight, relax it. Try to breathe in a way that calms
    – user279311
    Jan 20, 2020 at 21:37
  • @SurajPandey Also please upvote an answer, after you ask a question, if you feel it helped you. This helps others see something that may help them.
    – user279311
    Jan 20, 2020 at 21:39

It's not normal to itch all day and it is a skin issue, possibly an allergy or an intolerance of some sort but can also be a liver or a kidney problem and whatnot.

If scratching an itch gives you relief from the uncomfort then you can make yourself comfortable. The Buddha adjusted the posture when his back hurt and took a nap in daytime when he saw it fit.

Medical procedures are of course allowed and the relief from physical illness is in a qualified sense a stilling of suffering.

I guess you got the idea of not scratching an itch from some 'vipassana meditation' teaching of just observing feelings and perceptions.

However if we just passively observe everything without acting on our knowledge for the purpose of stilling that which is suffering and avoiding states connected with aversion, greed and delusion then we wouldn't be going to an empty building or the root of a tree to meditate nor would we be guarding our senses.

Physical discomfort is a cause for aversion and it is difficult to think clearly when one is upset. Some defilements are to be abandoned by forbearance and some defilements are to be abandoned by avoidance, forbearance isn't always the way to deal with discomfort; if forbearance was always the answer would we eat to keep hunger away?

One doesn't have to choose between being mindful and scratching an itch because the two aren't antagonistic to one another.

  • "One doesn't have to choose between being mindful and scratching an itch because the two aren't antagonistic to one another." I feel that this is true, but there are nuances. "Scratching the itch and moving on" implies to me that we will just fill the urge and then move on. Mindfulness would imply that we are aware of why we want to itch and how it affects the mind. While your statement is true, I would be cautious to advise people in this way. It leads to headlessness. If they ignorantly follow the advice, they will simply itch or move everytime they want in meditation
    – user279311
    Jan 17, 2020 at 0:20
  • I thought he was talking about itching in general and not particularly whilst trying to "meditate" as he wrote; 'what to do with these sensations, these happen all day..'. Either way whether or not one should be scratching an itch during meditation is not a categorical question.
    – user8527
    Jan 17, 2020 at 1:46
  • Relating to the categorical part, I did some reading and found something that could be of interest to you. Please see AN 2:18, AN 10:165, and MN 78. Here the Buddha gives a categorical answer to skillful vs unskillful bodily, verbal, and mental actions (In AN 2:18 and AN 10:165). He then discusses unskillful and skillful habits in the same manner presented in MN78. Metta
    – user279311
    Jan 17, 2020 at 2:38
  • I don't see how this is relevant lest you can categorize all scratching of an itch as unskillful action
    – user8527
    Jan 17, 2020 at 2:44
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    Either way my general sentiment was that one ought to address the illness of itching so that one can minimize it and if one is going to scratch an itch it isn't a big deal. Forbearance does come into play but it is complicated topic connected with knowledge and perception development, not an easy subject to analyze but in general one would use insight to cut the root cause for aversion connected to the painful feeling, developing perception of not self ie is conducive to it.
    – user8527
    Jan 17, 2020 at 3:11

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