NAMO TASSA BHAGAWATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA
VEDANA A PATH TO IMBIBE BUDDHA’S
Prof. Sudhakar Arjun Pawar
Vedana is a word in Pali language which means “ the Sensation”.
The invention of Vedana” is regarded as One of the Greatest
Discovery of The Buddha.
The Vedana is also considered as An Unparalleled gift of The
Buddha to the humanity.
The Vedana is a feeling that makes the person to generate anger,
hatred, passion, fear, etc. These are mental impurities and cause
tension, worries, prejudices etc.
These are outcome of craving and aversion. In Pali, these are known as
Sukh-vedana, Dukkh-vedana & Adukkhamsukh-vedana.
Using sensation as a tool one can eradicate the mental impurities and
get liberation from miseries.
Vedana is not bodily pain or discomfort for which we need to see a
“anto jata bahi jata, jataya jatila paja
Tam tam gotam pucchami, ko emam vijataye jatam ti”
“Sile patitthaya naro, sampanno chitam panyamcha bhavayam
Atapi nipako bhikkhu, so emam vijataye jatam ti”1
The Buddha’s teaching is pragmatic, logical and scientific.
The basic principle are morality(Sila), Control of mind (Samadhi) and
Dhammiko & Dhammittho’. The process of learning is known as the
Art of Vipassana
It is “vedana paccaya tanha.
3.0: WHAT IS VEDANA – DEFINITION
The Pali word “Vedana” is derived from the root ‘vid’ meaning to
Vedana is a sensation that leads to thirst (tanha, in Pali)
Vedana is the pivotal phenomenon in
a. the five aggregates (five khandas),
b. one of the twelve chains of the Cause and Effect Theory.
Vedana, is the tool for liberation from suffering.
We see a very comprehensive definition of Vedana, below, namely,
“Ya vedayati ti vedana, sa vedayita lakkhana anubhavanarasa”2
a. That which feels the object is vedana.
b. Its characteristics is to experience.
c. Its function is to realize the object
4.0: HOW IS VEDANA GENERATED
Contact of sense organs with their respective sense objects generate
the sense specific consciousness . Together they generate sensations
which in turn causes craving or aversion.
The characteristics of vedana are:
a. anicca - impermanence
b. dukkha – suffering
c. anatta – substancelessness.
These are understood by experiencing and not on intelectual basis.
5.0: TYPES OF VEDANA
“Tisso ima bhikkhave, vedana. Katama tisso? Sukha vedana, dukha
vedana, adukkhamasukha vedana. Ima kho bhikkhave, tisso“3
meaning there are three types of vedana.
Sukha vedana (pleasant sensation) and Dukkha vedana (unpleasant
sensation) are felt on body. The physical aspect of sensation is more
direct to experience the impermanent nature of sensation, the Buddha
gave more importance to bodily sensations
Mental sensations were not ignored,.
Bahu-vedaniya sutta ( majjim nikaya) explains sensations to be six,
eighteen, thirtysix and one hundred eight.
6.0: IMPORTANCE OF VEDANA
“Sa vedana parinnaya, ditthe dhamma anasava,
kayassa bheda dhamottho sankham nopeti vedagu ti”4
“Constant observation of arising and passing away of sensations in
body with awareness of mind (mindfulness), wisdom and through
understanding of impermanence enables one to eradicate all the
defilements and attain liberation (nibban, in Pali)
Yam kinci dukkham sambhoti, sabbam vedanapaccaya ti, vedananam
tveva asesaviraganirodha, natthi dukkhassa sambhavo ti”5
7.0: OTHER CAUSES OF VEDANA
“pittam semham ca vato ca, sannipata utuni ca, visamam
opakkamikam, kammavepakena atthamiti”6 meaning:
Physical pain arising from Pittam (bile), increase of Phlegm (semha),
excessive Vato (wind) in the body, Imbalance of all above & resultant
chemical reaction i.e. Sannipata, Utu ( sudden seasonal changes and
its effects), Visamam ( imbalance of mind and body), Opakkamikam
(bodily punishment) and Kammavipakenna (result of deeds of
previous birth are eight reasons of arising of such other vedana.
The siddharth Gautama also followed such tradition & practiced
penance for six years before the enlightenment and becoming the
8.0: VEDANA AND FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
Four Noble Truths is one of the unique invention of the Buddha
“Yam kinci vedayitam, tam pi dukkhasmim”7
The Buddha taught that craving or aversion (tanha) is not only dukkha
but dukkha-samudaya. i.e. tanha is not merely the origin of suffering
but the suffering itself.
One must understand suffering, arising of suffering, cessation of
suffering and the path that leads to cessation of suffering, using
sensations as a tool.
9.0: VEDANA AND PATICCASAMUPPADA
Paticcasamuppada denotes chain of continuity of Cause & Effect theory.
Craving or aversion compells every person to linger in wheel of becoming.
The wheel of becoming has twelve links. The First link is avijja (ignorance),
the twelve being jara-marana (dekay & death).
On attaining enlightenment, the Buddha realized that the crucial link
which could be broken was “vedana paccaya tanha”
The Buddha taught that instead of “vedana paccaya tanha” it shall be
understood to mean as “vedana paccaya panna”.
10.0: VEDANA & NOBLE EIGHT FOLD PATH
The Noble Eight fold path is the way leading to the cessation of
The Buddha also told that “Ekayano ayam maggo bhikkhave”8
“sabbapapassa akaram, kusalassa upasampada, sacittapariyodapanam,
etam buddham sasam”9
11.0: RELEVANCE AND PRACTICAL ASPECT OF
VEDANA IN MODERN DAYS
The Globalization , Liberaliion, the Technical advancement and the
privatization has created stiff competition and urge to keep
Heart-attacks, cases of hypertensions, diabetics and other related
deceases are reported to be the outcome of increased stress and
The habit pattern of person is to generate craving. & aversion
One can reduce or fully overcome these impurities by learning the art
of vipassana meditation and practicing it regularly.
The personality individual depends on mind (nama) & matter (rupa).
The nama consists of consciousness (vinnana), sensation (vedana),
perception (sanna) and formation (sankhara).
If one develop awareness and understand the three characteristics of
sensations i.e. anicca (impermence), dukkha (suffering) and anatta
( no “I”, no ‘Mine”), the craving or aversion will not be generated
The discovery of sensation two thousand six hundred years ago is still
relevant and valid and applies in modern days.