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Fear as a hindrance?

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  • Simon van Veen
    started a topic Fear as a hindrance?

    Fear as a hindrance?

    Hi dear Sir monk! I'm not sure how to adress someone on a board like this, or a monk in general, but anyway.. here goes:

    I am learning myself meditation mostly using Ajahn Brahm's great book about it. Usually everything I experience is described there some way or another. But why is fear not described as a hindrance? It says it is a combination of other hindrances, but that's all I can find on it. It feels like it's having something to do with doubt indeed, so it might be true. But with my limited experience I can already tell that fear will be holding me back sometimes so it would be great to get some more input about it. It's a hard hindrance for me to understand. It's always a fear of letting go something to go deeper in whatever state of meditation. I can't really describe it better than that.

    Thanks a lot in advance.

    With love,
    Simon

  • Simon van Veen
    replied
    Thanks for the replies. I will investigate it further when I run into it again.

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  • Bhante Nandiya
    replied
    Fear is something which people tend to experience a lot.

    While it's not generally mentioned in the meditation instructions, it IS mentioned in the suttas. MN 4 - Bhayabherava Sutta (Fear and Dread) is the prime example, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....004.than.html.
    MN4 demonstrates the Bodhisattas cultivation of courage:
    20. “I considered thus: ‘There are specially auspicious nights of the fourteenth, the fifteenth, and the eighth of the fortnight. Now what if, on such nights as these, I were to dwell in the such awe-inspiring, horrifying abodes as orchard shrines, woodland shrines, and tree shrines? Perhaps I might encounter that fear and dread.’ And later, on such specially auspicious nights as the fourteenth, the fifteenth, and the eighth of the fortnight, I dwelt in such awe-inspiring, horrifying abodes as orchard shrines, woodland shrines, and tree shrines. And while I dwell there, a wild animal would come up to me, or a peacock would knock off a branch, or the wind would rustle the leaves. I thought: ‘What now if this is the fear and dread coming?’ I thought: ‘Why do I dwell always expecting fear and dread? What if I subdue that fear and dread while keeping the same posture that I am in when it comes upon me?’

    “While I walked, the fear and dread came upon me; I neither stood nor sat nor lay down till I had subdued that fear and dread. While I stood, the fear and dread came upon me; I neither walked nor sat nor lay down till I had subdued that fear and dread. While I sat, the fear and dread came upon me; I neither walked nor stood nor lay down till I had subdued that fear and dread. While I lay down, the fear and dread came upon me; I neither walked nor stood nor sat down till I had subdued that fear and dread.

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  • Bhikkhu Jhanarato
    replied
    Dear Simon,

    You can call me Bhante or Venerable. :-)

    Fear is not listed in the translations of texts we have. Remember it is an English word, and may not "map" to a specific hindrance. Some translators translate the fourth hindrance as "Restlessness and Worry" rather than "Restlessness and Remorse". In my mind worry is a lot closer to fear than remorse. If you can't find anything in the texts that resembles what you are feeling and experiencing you can just try to investigate the feeling. What sort of fear is it? Is it fear of the past, fear of the future? Fear of the results of wrong-doing? (remorse!). In this way you might be able to come to some understanding and later relate that to your Dhamma study.

    Hope this helps,

    Bhante Jhanarato

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