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The Buddha, on fear
October 20th, 2016
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illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

The Buddha, on fear:

« From what's dear is born grief,
from what's dear is born fear.
For one freed from what's dear
there's no grief
— so how fear?

From what's loved is born grief,
from what's loved is born fear.
For one freed from what's loved
there's no grief
— so how fear?

From delight is born grief,
from delight is born fear.
For one freed from delight
there's no grief
— so how fear?

From sensuality is born grief,
from sensuality is born fear.
For one freed from sensuality
there's no grief
— so how fear?

From craving is born grief,
from craving is born fear.
For one freed from craving
there's no grief
— so how fear?
» — Dhp 16.212–216

———

« Brahman, there are those who, subject to death, are afraid & in terror of death. And there are those who, subject to death, are not afraid or 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?

There is the case of the person who has abandoned passion, desire, fondness, thirst, fever, and craving for sensuality. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought does not occur to him, 'O, those beloved sensual pleasures will be taken from me, and I will be taken from them!' He does not grieve, is not tormented; does not weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death.

Furthermore, there is the case of the person who has abandoned passion, desire, fondness, thirst, fever, and craving for the body. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought does not occur to him, 'O, my beloved body will be taken from me, and I will be taken from my body!' He does not grieve, is not tormented; does not weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death.

Furthermore, there is the case of the person who has done what is good, has done what is skillful, has given protection to those in fear, and has not done what is evil, savage, or cruel. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, 'I have done what is good, have done what is skillful, have given protection to those in fear, and I have not done what is evil, savage, or cruel. To the extent that there is a destination for those who have done what is good, what is skillful, have given protection to those in fear, and have not done what is evil, savage, or cruel, that's where I'm headed after death.' He does not grieve, is not tormented; does not weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death.

Furthermore, there is the case of the person who has no doubt or perplexity, who has 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, 'I have no doubt or perplexity. I have arrived at certainty with regard to the True Dhamma.' He does not grieve, is not tormented; does not weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death.

These, brahman, are four people who, subject to death, are not afraid or in terror of death.
(…)
» — AN 4.184

———

« Fear is born from arming oneself.
Just see how many people fight!
I'll tell you about the dreadful fear
that caused me to shake all over:

Seeing creatures flopping around,
Like fish in water too shallow,
So hostile to one another!
—Seeing this, I became afraid.

This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed —but I could not see it.

Seeing people locked in conflict,
I became completely distraught.
But then I discerned here a thorn
—Hard to see— lodged deep in the heart.

It's only when pierced by this thorn
That one runs in all directions.
So if that thorn is taken out
—one does not run, and settles down.
(…)

Who here has crossed over desires,
the world's bond, so hard to get past,
he does not grieve, she does not mourn.
His stream is cut, she's all unbound.

What went before —let go of that!
All that's to come —have none of it!
Don't hold on to what's in between,
And you'll wander fully at peace.

For whom there is no "I-making"
All throughout the body and mind,
And who grieves not for what is not
Is undefeated in the world.

For whom there is no "this is mine"
Nor anything like "that is theirs"
Not even finding "self-ness," he
Does not grieve at "I have nothing."
» — Sn 4.15

———

« (…)
When brahmans or contemplatives who are unpurified in their bodily activities resort to isolated forest or wilderness dwellings, it's the fault of their unpurified bodily activities that they give rise to unskillful fear & terror.
(…)
When brahmans or contemplatives who are drooling idiots, resort to isolated forest or wilderness dwellings, it's the fault of their drooling idiocy that they give rise to unskillful fear & terror.
(…)
The thought occurred to me: 'What if — on recognized, designated nights such as the eighth, fourteenth, & fifteenth of the lunar fortnight — I were to stay in the sort of places that are awe-inspiring and make your hair stand on end, such as park-shrines, forest-shrines, & tree-shrines? Perhaps I would get to see that fear & terror.' So at a later time (…) I stayed in [such a] sort of places(…). And while I was staying there a wild animal would come, or a peacock would make a twig fall, or wind would rustle the fallen leaves. The thought would occur to me: 'Is this that fear & terror coming?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'Why do I just keep waiting for fear? 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.
(…)
» — MN 4

———

Search for "fear" on http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ and you'll find the Buddha said a lot about fear!

Fear is a consequence of attachment, of wrong view (that one can hold on to the desired and avoid the undesired, that one has absolute control to force reality to comply with one's wishes, that objects of desire are permanent —even though neither the object nor the desire itself are—, etc.) i.e. of ignorance. The three poisons are only just three manifestations of the root-cause of unsatisfactoriness: desire and aversion arise from ignorance! And fear is just another variant, another manifestation of ignorance.


#Buddhism   #Dharma  
photo © Thomas Schmidt.