4

☸What did the Buddha say about being afraid & handling fear?

☸Are there any scriptures about fear & courage?

☸What did he say about facing fear?

☸Is there any Buddhist practice that will help one face fear?

5
  • Very closely related: Which sutras are most directly relevant to the virtue of courage?. Possibly duplicate.
    – ruben2020
    Mar 11, 2023 at 3:05
  • It didn't show me one former question that had the word courage in it. Something must be wrong with it.
    – Lowbrow
    Mar 11, 2023 at 4:07
  • Did you type Courage in the "Search on Buddhism..." input on the topbar? I see many results from this: buddhism.stackexchange.com/search?q=courage
    – ChrisW
    Mar 11, 2023 at 6:57
  • Those questions don't quite get at what I'm trying to find out. Is it ok if we keep it up? It might be helpful.
    – Lowbrow
    Mar 11, 2023 at 9:16
  • 1
    Also, I didn't check that way but I will from now on. Thanks for your help.
    – Lowbrow
    Mar 11, 2023 at 9:19

5 Answers 5

2

☸What did the Buddha say about being afraid & handling fear?

The Blessed One asks to contemplate about him (Dhajagga sutta).

Some suttas suggest to eliminate sensual desire which is the cause of fear.

☸Are there any scriptures about fear & courage?

Dhajagga Sutta, Bhayabherava sutta (there should be more)

☸What did he say about facing fear?

"Bhayam nama kamanametham adhivacanam"

"Fear means another word for sensual pleasures."

“Bhikkhus, for those who look up at the crest of the standard of Sakka, lord of the devas; or of Pajapati, the deva-king; or of Varuṇa, the deva-king; or of Isana, the deva-king, whatever fear or trepidation or terror they may have may or may not be abandoned. For what reason? Because Sakka, lord of the devas, is not devoid of lust, not devoid of hatred, not devoid of delusion; he can be timid, petrified, frightened, quick to flee.

“But, bhikkhus, I say this: If you have gone to a forest or to the foot of a tree or to an empty hut, and fear or trepidation or terror should arise in you, on that occasion you should recollect me thus: ‘The Blessed One is an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.’ For when you recollect me, bhikkhus, whatever fear or trepidation or terror you may have will be abandoned.

(there should be more quotes)

As long as one have to protect a desired object (eg: body,family etc.) he is fearful.

When there is a threat to an object one likes, the fear arises.

As long as one hold on to one or more sensual pleasures, the fear comes from the relevant object or objects.

The fear doesn't come from the objects that one has given up.

☸Is there any Buddhist practice that will help one face fear?

  • The Buddha advise monks to use the method mentioned in Dhajagga sutta.
  • Ordaining reduces the fear that comes from many things such as family and wealth.
  • Attaining Jhanas temporary eliminate Sensual desire/fear. (as long as one maintain the jhana)
  • Attaining Anagami-phala permanently eliminates Sensual desire/fear.
2

Buddha faced his fears in wilderness. Buddha said in Bhaya-bherava Sutta that the way to handle fear is to subdue it in whatever state one is.

"What if I, in whatever state I'm in when fear & terror come to me, were to subdue that fear & terror in that very state?' So when fear & terror came to me while I was walking back & forth, I would not stand or sit or lie down. I would keep walking back & forth until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came to me while I was standing, I would not walk or sit or lie down. I would keep standing until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came to me while I was sitting, I would not lie down or stand up or walk. I would keep sitting until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came to me while I was lying down, I would not sit up or stand or walk. I would keep lying down until I had subdued that fear & terror." -- Bhaya-bherava Sutta

Practice metta by chanting the Pali mantra: sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā. Whenever fear arises, you simply continue the meditation on loving kindness. That's the best practice for overcoming fear that I can recommend.

0
1

MN 4 is titled Fear and Dread. It's about how the Buddha before his Enlightenment sought out fearful places and how he handled the fear that arose. When fear arose, he would maintain his posture (sitting, standing, walking, laying down) until the fear subsided. He also reflected that he had good ethical behavior and his other good qualities.

Then I thought, ‘There are ascetics and brahmins with unpurified conduct of body, speech, and mind who frequent remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest. Those ascetics and brahmins summon unskillful fear and dread because of these defects in their conduct. But I don’t frequent remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest with unpurified conduct of body, speech, and mind. My conduct is purified. I am one of those noble ones who frequent remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest with purified conduct of body, speech, and mind.’ Seeing this purity of conduct in myself I felt even more unruffled about staying in the forest.

Why don’t I get rid of that fear and dread just as it comes, while remaining just as I am?’ Then that fear and dread came upon me as I was walking. I didn’t stand still or sit down or lie down until I had got rid of that fear and dread while walking. Then that fear and dread came upon me as I was standing. I didn’t walk or sit down or lie down until I had got rid of that fear and dread while standing. Then that fear and dread came upon me as I was sitting. I didn’t lie down or stand still or walk until I had got rid of that fear and dread while sitting. Then that fear and dread came upon me as I was lying down. I didn’t sit up or stand still or walk until I had got rid of that fear and dread while lying down.

0

I remember Andriy said wrote, something like, that Theravada is mainly about overcoming desire -- and Mahayana is mainly about overcoming aversion. So maybe there's more doctrine about "fear" in the Mahayana traditions.

I imagine "courage" as being an aspect of Vīrya so you may be looking for doctrine about that.

One of the suttas that comes to mind is Ahi Sutta: A Snake (AN 4.67) -- which recommends Metta, perhaps as an antidotes to perceiving creatures as enemies.

0

AN 4:184 Abhaya Sutta | Fearless — Four reasons why some people fear death and others don’t.

...
“And who is the person who, subject to death, is afraid & in terror of death? There is the case of the person who has not abandoned passion, desire, fondness, thirst, fever, & craving for sensuality. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, ‘O, those beloved sensual pleasures will be taken from me, and I will be taken from them!’ He grieves & is tormented, weeps, beats his breast, & grows delirious. This is a person who, subject to death, is afraid & in terror of death.

“Then there is the case of the person who has not abandoned passion, desire, fondness, thirst, fever, & craving for the body. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, ‘O, my beloved body will be taken from me, and I will be taken from my body!’ He grieves & is tormented, weeps, beats his breast, & grows delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is afraid & in terror of death.

“Then there is the case of the person who has not done what is good, has not done what is skillful, has not given protection to those in fear, and instead has done what is evil, savage, & cruel. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, ‘I have not done what is good, have not done what is skillful, have not given protection to those in fear, and instead have done what is evil, savage, & cruel. To the extent that there is a destination for those who have not done what is good, have not done what is skillful, have not given protection to those in fear, and instead have done what is evil, savage, & cruel, that’s where I’m headed after death.’ He grieves & is tormented, weeps, beats his breast, & grows delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is afraid & in terror of death.

“Then there is the case of the person in doubt & perplexity, who has not arrived at certainty with regard to the True Dhamma. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, ‘How doubtful & perplexed I am! I have not arrived at any certainty with regard to the True Dhamma!’ He grieves & is tormented, weeps, beats his breast, & grows delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is afraid & in terror of death.

“These, brahman, are four people who, subject to death, are afraid & in terror of death.

“And who is the person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death?
...

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .