Pleasure, pain, and neutral feelings are emphasized in Buddhist presentations
because feelings are so crucial to how we react to persons and events.
Since compassion is the wish that beings be free from pain and the
causes of pain, it is important to recognize how much our own life
and others' lives revolve around feelings.
best practitioners are those who, with great enthusiasm,
put their mind into every possible situation that they
can think of.
If it is such a shock to imagine persons
being cut by a saw, you can see how quickly we lose the mindset of
equanimity or compassion. It is frightening: "Let me out of here! I
don't want to see this!" Or it makes us angry: "What is this? What's
going on here?" The best practitioners are those who, with great enthusiasm,
put their mind into every possible situation that they can think of.
They read descriptions of the hells and the difficulties of the hungry
ghosts; they imagine themselves lying there—someone is drawing a line
across them, getting the saw ready—and they generate the sense of fright
they would have. Within that, they begin to transform their own feeling
into compassion for the person who is attacking them. That removes
a threshold of hatred. In order to do that, a practitioner has to have
great enthusiasm for meditating on individual situations.
The Iron Grater
We want pleasure and do not want pain, but often we
rush toward pain and away from pleasure. One horrible event has just
ended and we're seeking a similar situation all over again.