Basic Principles

Compiled and/or created by

Tadao Ogura, M.D.


I-1 No Pain, No Gain

Everybody knows about this principle.  But, most likely, not many people actually live by it.  One of the reasons for this discrepancy between “knowing it” and “living by it” lies deep into (or in) our human biological nature. 

We, humans, are the unique animal who, unlike other animals, operates on various levels between beasts and saints.  As animals, most of us are driven by basic animal instincts, such as escaping from pain and suffering, and seeking pleasure and comfort.  It is so deeply ingrained in us that most of us will try to escape from or avoid pain and suffering and to seek pleasure and comfort before we know it.

We, like any other animal, learn lessons only the hard way.  Particularly, we, humans, do not seem to learn lessons well unless we experience unbearable pain and suffering.  Most of us tend to repeat the same mistakes over and over again and learn the same painful lessons over and over again as if we refuse to learn at all.  We seem to repeat the same “lesson” and experience the same pain and suffering until it becomes too much to go through it again.  Only when the lesson becomes “bad enough,” does it seem to “sink in” to our minds.

Of course, each one of us is created differently.  Therefore, some learn lessons faster and some don’t.  Some never seem to learn lessons at all no matter how many times they repeat the same mistakes and go through the same pain.  The majority of us seem to learn painful lessons after repeating the mistakes somewhere between ten to twenty times.  After all, we, humans, are very stubborn animals.

Then, what is the true meaning of “No Pain, No Gain”?  The answer is simple.  This principle is intended to show us how to become more humane, transcending many, if not all, of our innate animal natures.  Whenever we fall for our animal natures and fail to learn lessons, we feel some discomfort inside.  As we repeat the same lesson, we gradually come to realize that we should not repeat the same mistake of escaping.  Finally, we manage to stir up our “last ounce of courage” and try to take the pain from not escaping.  Step by step, we learn “No Pain, No Gain” and transcend a little bit more from our innate animal nature. 

This slow learning process is also seen when we do something “good” or “noble.”  Each time we try to do something “good” or “noble,” we feel some “resistance” within us because a “good” or “noble” deed demands us to renounce our animal natures such as pleasure seeking or avoidance reaction and to be willing to take pain and suffering.  If we dare to go beyond that “natural resistance,” we overcome part of our animal natures and become “more” humane.

As explained above, “No Pain, No Gain” shows us how to become more like true humans, transcending out innate animal or beastly nature//.

In short, “No Pain, No Gain” is pointing us to a “spiritual path.”


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