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The Peaceful Feeling

One sees pleasure as suffering
And sees pain as a dart.
One sees as impermanent the peaceful feeling
That is neither pleasant nor painful.

Such a bhikkhu who sees rightly
Is thereby well released.
Accomplished in knowledge, at peace,
That sage has overcome all bonds.


This quote from the Dhammapada is in context with the monk's view of pleasure, suffering, peace of mind.

However, it is relevant to us since it refers to not clinging to the feeling of peace which arises due to meditation.

By viewing "the peaceful feeling that is neither pleasant or painful as impermanent," it is possible to "see rightly" like a bhikkhu (monk).

"Peaceful feelings" refers to the use of shamatha meditation to establish the calm mind which is ready to proceed to vipashyana meditation to establish the insight into phenomena that arises from such meditation.

"Well released" refers to not clinging to peace of mind by being one who "sees rightly" that pleasure and pain, when taken to extremes, are forms of suffering.

So too is clinging to the serenity of the calm mind.

"Accomplished in knowledge" refers to the direct knowledge achieved from the experience of meditation as a result of the Four Noble Truths and Dependent Arising. Such knowledge results in peace of mind.

"Overcome all bonds" refers to the Nine Fetters of human existence.


Originally published December 23, 2005 at 2319H
Edited and republished February 26, 2013 at 0250H

Here's the original translation by Ven. Thanissaro in Itivuttaka III Verse 53:

"Whoever sees
pleasure as stress,
sees pain as an arrow,
sees peaceful neither-pleasure-nor-pain
as inconstant:
he is a monk
who's seen rightly.
From that he is there set free.
A master of direct knowing,
at peace,
he is a sage
gone beyond bonds."

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