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Buddha's back pain
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11/16/16 9:16 AM
I want to find the sutta wherein the Buddha asks Ananda to finish a discourse because the Buddha's back is bothering him and he needs to lie down. I would also like to know of any other suttas in which the Buddha is responding to what seems like 'suffering.' This is for a talk I will give soon and is a result of coming across the story of the first sentence in Stephen Batchelor's latest book. I cannot find the passage in that  book.
Thanks for any help...metta

RE: Buddha's back pain
Answer
11/16/16 9:30 AM as a reply to Steve Katona.

RE: Buddha's back pain
Answer
11/20/16 8:11 PM as a reply to Steve Katona.
Sounds interesting!  What is the talk about?

RE: Buddha's back pain
Answer
11/22/16 5:02 AM as a reply to Steve Katona.
The sutta with the back pain is MN 53: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.053.than.html

Buddhas do not 'suffer'. Physical pain is not 'suffering'. This basic principle is found in countless suttas, such as: 

SN 22.1: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.001.than.html

SN 36.6: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn36/sn36.006.nypo.html

Iti 44: https://suttacentral.net/en/iti44

DN 16 (below): http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.1-6.vaji.html

When the Blessed One had entered upon the rainy season, there arose in him a severe illness, and sharp and deadly pains came upon him. And the Blessed One endured them mindfully, clearly comprehending and unperturbed. 

SN 38.14 refers to three kinds of 'dukkha' however, similar to the beginning of the 1st noble truth, is universally mistranslated as the suffering of pain; suffering of change; and suffering of fabrications. The compound Pali terms here (dukkhadukkhatā; vipariṇāmadukkhatā; saṅkhāradukkhatā) do not contain any joiner, such as 'of', 'due', 'about', etc. Thus, in accordance to the body of teachings (as listed above), these terms mean: (i) suffering about pain; (ii) suffering about change; & (iii) suffering of mental fabricating. 

Buddhas do not suffer about/over pain therefore do not experience the suffering mentioned here or anywhere else. emoticon

RE: Buddha's back pain
Answer
11/22/16 10:58 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Are you saying this is a mis-translation and that Buddhas do not actually experience pain?  Given that they have several sutta passages about it, it seems like someone was trying to make a point that Buddhas do in fact experience pain. 

I also do not see why this is a problem.  It is aknowldged that the Buddha died, that he had to eat, in essense that he had a physical body.  Pain is a helpful fact of physical life, it alerts us when there is a problem.  For example, if we had no 'pain' of hunger, we would end up happily starving to death.

Just because the Buddha experienced pain, doesn't make him not perfectly enlightened, it just means he still had a physical body and all the joys and sorrows acompanying it, such as birth, old age, sickness and death.  Upon death he was released permenantly from these 'suffering', but not until then.

RE: Buddha's back pain
Answer
11/24/16 11:34 PM as a reply to T DC.
'Painful feelings' ('dukkha vedana') are not suffering. This is explained in all of the discourses I linked. 

He does not assume (painful) feeling to be the self...As he is not seized with these ideas, his feeling changes & alters, but he does not fall into sorrow, lamentation, (mental) pain, distress or despair over its change & alteration.

SN 22.1

The Buddha did not "die" ('marana'). Instead, the aggregates of a Buddha just end & cease; that is all. "Death" is not a term used for the passsing of a Buddha. The term "death" (marana) in Pali refers to a "self" or "ego" that dies. 

Then, friend Yamaka, how would you answer if you are thus asked [by an ordinary unenlightened person]: A monk, a worthy one, with no more mental effluents: what is he on the break-up of the body, after death?"

Thus asked, I would answer, 'Form is inconstant... Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness is inconstant. That which is inconstant is unsatisfactory. That which is unsatisfactory has ceased and gone to its end."

Very good, my friend Yamaka. Very good

SN 22.85

'I am' is a construing. 'I am this' is a construing. 'I shall be' is a construing. 'I shall not be'... is a construing. Construing is a disease, construing is a cancer, construing is an arrow. By going beyond all construing, he is said to be a sage at peace.

Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long?

It was in reference to this that it was said, 'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' 


MN 140

The Buddha was released at enlightenment. 

Then, monks, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, seeking the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeking the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'

Then the thought occurred to me, 'This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality & dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the calming of all fabricating, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.' emoticon

MN 26