Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Tattooed Buddha

What if pain and suffering aren't the same thing?
Is it possible to feel pain without suffering?
The Buddha taught that they were different.

Suffering is not the same as pain, although it is not always easy to distinguish between the two.
What further complicates the issue is our use of vocabulary. When we speak of this suffering we are speaking of it as the noun, not the verb.
We can always say that we suffer (verb) through our pain.
Pain is an unpleasant sensation.
Suffering is a mental and emotional response. 
Pain is an inescapable part of life. It is inevitable.
Suffering is optional. 

It's fine to say this, but what does this look like practically?

I think sometimes people with tattoos may have unknowingly tapped into this buddha-nature (innately knowing the difference between pain and suffering).

Yes, most tattooed people would say that they suffered through the hour(s) of getting the tattoo(s) (but let's remember, we aren't talking about "suffering" as a verb). Most tattooed people will tell you that it hurt and was a painful experience (and it is), but I doubt they would say that they suffered.

I think there's a lesson to learn here.
Maybe - just maybe - tattooed people have inadvertently stumbled across a deep aspect of our buddha-nature; a natural human condition that most have forgotten.

We will inevitably face and experience pain in life, but suffering is a choice.

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