About Fear

Fear, everyone is having this problem. We are all afraid of something. Fear comes from stupidity, from selfishness, from the craving of a self that desires things it can’t have. So we fear!

Nowadays, we have every possible kind of fear in this world of ours, especially the fear of nuclear war and annihilation. When we’re afraid, we become helpless. When there is fear, we lose our mindfulness and wisdom (satipanna), and our ability to struggle with problems and protect ourselves. To be unafraid is much better.

Fear comes from the instinct of egoism, fear is an instinctual necessity. If there is insufficient knowledge and wisdom, this instinct is impossible to control. Through the study and practice of Dhamma, necessary and sufficient wisdom is developed so that this instinct can be controlled and fear does not arise. Understanding and insight into Anatta (not-self) allows us to be free of fear, helps us to uproot fear, and protects us from its future arising. All of you surely can see that fear has no use at all, that it always leads to Dukkha. We ought to be able to do anything in the face of fearful and frightening things. Then, we will be in a much better position to deal with those things and succeed in the business of living. If we must fight with an enemy, but cannot do it without fear, we are in no position to fight effectively. Our abilities will be weakened, our wisdom will be diminished and our mindfulness will be slow. We will be defeated by whatever foe it is.

Unafraid, we are able to use our wisdom, mindfulness, and skills in the degree needed to defeat that enemy. Face all frightening things fearlessly. A fearless life is of great use.

 by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu