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If remembering correctly I once heard a Dhamma talk about the Buddha finding solace in/with the investigation of energy while (at least once) experiencing physical pain. What's the sutta reference(s) for this please?

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  • [Note: also, how do folks usually find specific, detailed, and often highly unique content in the suttas? SuttaCentral.net is quite lovely but the search function on the main page currently falls short of the the level of usefulness I'd like]
    – vimutti
    Aug 22, 2021 at 3:34
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    Access to Insight have a reasonably good search directory. Once you have performed your search, click the 'sutta' tab.
    – user17652
    Aug 22, 2021 at 9:26
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    Access to Insight's search seems to be implemented using Google -- accesstoinsight.org/search_results.html?q=cat&sa=Search returns the same results as google.com/…
    – ChrisW
    Aug 22, 2021 at 9:55

2 Answers 2

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I believe this might be the sutta in question. There may be other similar suttas.

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was sick, afflicted, gravely ill. Then the Venerable Mahacunda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to the Venerable Mahacunda:

“Recite the factors of enlightenment, Cunda.”

“These seven factors of enlightenment, venerable sir, have been rightly expounded by the Blessed One; when developed and cultivated, they lead to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. What seven? The enlightenment factor of mindfulness has been rightly expounded by the Blessed One; when developed and cultivated, it leads to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna…. The enlightenment factor of equanimity has been rightly expounded by the Blessed One; when developed and cultivated, it leads to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. These seven factors of enlightenment, venerable sir, have been rightly expounded by the Blessed One; when developed and cultivated, they lead to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.”

“Surely, Cunda, they are factors of enlightenment! Surely, Cunda, they are factors of enlightenment!”

This is what the Venerable Mahacunda said. The Teacher approved. And the Blessed One recovered from that illness. In such a way the Blessed One was cured of his illness.

SN 46.16 - Ill

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  • That's two, isn't it. I think the quoted translation skipped some, indicated by the "..." ellipsis.
    – ChrisW
    Aug 22, 2021 at 10:35
  • Yes, @ChrisW. Five of the enlightenment factors have been omitted with the implication that one might already be aware of them.
    – user17652
    Aug 22, 2021 at 11:48
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    @vimutti - please see this translation, which was inspired by frankk's answer, and includes the energy factor.
    – user17652
    Aug 23, 2021 at 18:51
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    @vimutti - I can attest to contemplating unattractiveness of the body. It has given me great freedom. In the story of Mae Chee Kaew, she thoroughly tore this practice into shreds, destroyed sensuality with form, then continued further into arahantship. If you'd like me to link you to some autopsy videos, just ask. ;-)
    – user17652
    Oct 2, 2021 at 7:51
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    This part of life and existence is so distorted and inverted in the USA. We live in a death culture yet there are hurtles to seeing an actual corpse. In funeral homes bodies are embalmed with added cosmetic alterations. Death in the media is a spectacle often co-opted for various agendas.
    – vimutti
    Oct 2, 2021 at 18:53
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It's not investigation of energy, it's animitta samadhi that can relieve severe physical pain. SN 47.9:

Etarahi kho panāhaṃ, ānanda, jiṇṇo vuddho mahallako addhagato vayoanuppatto. I’m now old, elderly and senior. I’m advanced in years and have reached the final stage of life. Āsītiko me vayo vattati. I’m currently eighty years old. Seyyathāpi, ānanda, jajjarasakaṭaṃ veḷamissakena yāpeti; Just as a decrepit cart keeps going by relying on straps, evameva kho, ānanda, veḷamissakena maññe tathāgatassa kāyo yāpeti. in the same way, the Realized One’s body keeps going by relying on straps, or so you’d think. Yasmiṃ, ānanda, samaye tathāgato sabbanimittānaṃ amanasikārā ekaccānaṃ vedanānaṃ nirodhā animittaṃ cetosamādhiṃ upasampajja viharati, phāsutaro, ānanda, tasmiṃ samaye tathāgatassa kāyo hoti. Sometimes the Realized One, not focusing on any signs, and with the cessation of certain feelings, enters and remains in the signless undistractible-lucidity of the heart. Only then does the Realized One’s body become more comfortable. Tasmātihānanda, attadīpā viharatha attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā, dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā. So Ānanda, be your own island, your own refuge, with no other refuge. Let the teaching be your island and your refuge, with no other refuge.

link to full SN 47.9 sutta https://lucid24.org/sn/sn47/sn47-v01/index.html#s9

========================================== Bojjhanga "parittas", as they are usually presented, or implied, do not work as advertised. There's no way you can magically say 7 words and expect to be cured of fatal illnesses or debilitating physical pain.

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    This would be a behind-the-scenes look at what happens with a mind directed towards the signless. Great find! Can you put a link to this, because the sutta central translation includes the arousing/investigation of energy as a means to circumvent the illness, and that is what was asked by the OP?
    – user17652
    Aug 23, 2021 at 18:44
  • not sure what you're asking @max. The sutta excerpt I quoted from is SN 47.9.
    – frankk
    Aug 25, 2021 at 15:28
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    I'm simply asking if you could link to the translation in your answer, so that other readers can appreciate the entire sutta.
    – user17652
    Aug 25, 2021 at 17:56
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    link to SN 47.9 added
    – frankk
    Aug 28, 2021 at 15:27

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