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Attachment/Nonattachment/Love/Insight Please

Discussion in 'Dharmic Religions DIR' started by Vasilisa Jade, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    I'm starting to suspect your Bender. [​IMG]
     
  2. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

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    Friends,
    The only way of detachment is through attachment; if one is not attached then one cannot be detached too. Next only through constant awareness/consciousness does an attachment drops completely. Am attached to smoking and with now being conscious while smoking the consciousness is slowly addressing the subconscious, unconscious levels and so is on the way of dropping besides find it is not necessary for living; it is one activity that never adds any value to the body except addressing some psychological aspects which are parts of that which is illusion.

    Love & rgds
     
  3. wmjbyatt

    wmjbyatt Lunatic from birth

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    Saint Tigress, I hope to hell you read this.

    I only read through the first page of responses before I was compelled to respond. The advice you've been getting--especially what I saw from dyanaprjna2011--is patently dangerous to someone who lives and exists in a socially dynamic world. (Forgive my boldness, dyanaprajna2011, but I will directly respond to what you have said later, and we can discuss this from our own, personal relationships with Dharma. I will respond to OP first, however.)

    Saint Tigress, you must boldly face your pain. Non-attachment is not to surrender the passion of your life to peace, it is not withholding goodness to avoid badness, and it is not indifference or apathy. Non-attachment is joy and acceptance. Non-attachment is taking the good with the bad. You cannot attach to your own peace of mind.

    There is a story of a young monk who loved pickles and hated carrots. Another monk asked him, "How is it that you love pickles and hate carrots? The Great Way is without preference." The pickle-loving monk responded, "Easy. I love pickles and I hate carrots." Upon hearing this, the questioning monk was struck with realization like a bolt of lightning and he said, "I see! The Great Way is easy! Simply cease preferring The Great Way!"

    The point is that you should not seek to distance yourself from this pain or attachment. This pain and attachment is a visceral part of your experienced reality, and Dharma is immediate, it is real, it is here and now.

    The most important part of non-attachment is that one learns not to attach or to cling to some exterior notion of the self in relation to the world. If you genuinely love this person, then allow your love to genuinely and naturally express itself through you. Do not define yourself (or your other experiences) in relationship to this love, but let any relationships manifest themselves via you operating solely and naturally (and spontaneously) as you. Either you will find yourself someday able to love another or you won't. But either one is okay.

    Suffering exists. This is the First Noble Truth. And, yes, there is a Path to the Cessation of Suffering. But if we cannot come to total terms with the first, then we fail to make even the first step. We must understand and embrace our own suffering.

    There is another story of some dudes who were ****** at the Lord Buddha, so they tried to kill him by getting an elephant drunk and letting the elephant loose down a road where the Lord Buddha was known to be walking with his followers. All the followers bolted (except Ananda, but that's not relevant to the point at hand), but the Lord Buddha walked up to the elephant and said, "My brother elephant. You can come and you can crush me. You can kill me. You can grind my bones into dust, you can bring your mighty weight to bear on my soft body until my intestines burst. But I love you anyway. Brother elephant, I love you." At this, the elephant calmed down, sobered up, stopped rampaging, and was quietly and calmly led by the Buddha somewhere safe.

    The point is that the Buddha looked danger, suffering, and pain in the eye and embraced it as a beautiful and harmonious part of his world. This is how we overcome the suffering of a loss of love. Embrace it. DO NOT DEFINE YOURSELF BY IT, heavens no. But be willing to coexist in the same world with it, and take joy in it. Perhaps your love will free itself from you and allow you to love others. But perhaps it won't. Be okay with either option. This is non-attachment. This is, in a word, equanimity, which is the soul of non-attachment.

    Analysis and measuring and such will only get you so far. In the end the only way to understand the true nature of your feelings for this man is to accept, embrace, and express them through your everyday being. Do not attach to them with the analytical mind to understand them. Simply experience them. And accept that the experience may, in fact, really suck. You'll get through it.

    Besides, requited or otherwise, why in the world would we ever want to cut ourselves off from the feeling of romantic love? That's just ridiculous. We are not ascetics. Leave that to the Jains. We walk the middle path: accepting all, grasping for none, including inside ourselves.

    I'll finish with one more metaphor before I respond directly to dyanaprajna2011:

    "Peace is not the absence of noise, chaos, and violence. It is stillness in the midst of it." This holds true even when that noise, chaos, and violences encroaches upon the normally perceived boundaries of the self.
     
  4. wmjbyatt

    wmjbyatt Lunatic from birth

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    You have entered one of the semantically problematic Buddhist paradoxes here: you are attaching to non-attachment.

    I disagree. Equanimity is the best expression for non-attachment. This may be a semantic difference, but we are communicating linguistically, so it's important to be clear. To use a metaphor: apathy doesn't watch the big game, indifference watches but doesn't really care, and equanimity cheers for a good game and enjoys everything all the same. Equanimity is the best expression for non-attachment, but that's because "non-attachment" is a really crappy translation of some subtle Sanskrit crap. What we want to avoid is grasping, clinging, or craving. But to want? That's part of living. To love? Also part of life.

    Again, I disagree. Without differentiation is monism, and monism is simply the opposite extreme of dualism. There are differences in (phenomenal) reality. Period. You and I are different. Quite clearly, our opinions are different. The problem is that we DEFINE ourselves by those differences and then we CLING TO those differences. We must overcome this. But we cannot overcome this to the point of monism. Unity is just as much an abstraction as anything else (arguably, actually, it's the ultimate abstraction). The Dharma is not-two. But it is also not-one. Reality is neither a separated or unified construction: it simply is, expressing itself through itself. We should not deny our separating feelings, we should deny our preferences (see the story about the pickles in my last post), but we should rather simply not cling to our preferences. Another way to word this is to say that preferences are part of the mind, and it is fine that they are in the mind and they will always be in the mind, but they are not part of the self, for there is no self (dependent origins of consciousness and yada yada yada). It is fine to prefer, if prefering is what one does. What is not fine is to cling to or define ourselves in terms of that preference.

    (Besides, what in the hell is a "sentient being"? That is an inherently dualistic turn of phrase.)

    Just plain not true. Not even gonna call it a disagreement on this point. Plenty of Buddhist sects historically have been totally down with marriage in the romantic sense--some of them even for monks! Shunryu Suzuki was married, and he's arguably the most important figure in all of American Buddhism.

    Your celibacy may be, in fact, correct. For you. Remember though: the Dharma is not-one.

    I'll give you that one. That's important. However, it needs to be noted that that does not mean that we can't take joy in exterior things and that we shouldn't mourn the loss of exterior things. The trick is to simply BE OKAY WITH all of that.
     
  5. wmjbyatt

    wmjbyatt Lunatic from birth

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    Oh, yeah, my hotheadedness got slightly ahead of itself. It should be pointed out that everything that dyanaprajna2011 has said is (to my knowledge) quite accurate in Theravada, and expedient means is an important part of Buddhist sectarian discussion. However, I guess what I should say is that the Theravadin way is not the ONLY way that IS, in fact, in accordance with the Buddhadharma. My earlier posts, in fact, may represent too extreme a particular form of Zen (one that's very aware of its Taoist influences) for your usefulness, Saint Tigress.

    Obviously you have to find what's right for you. But I beg of you, please remember that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with your attachment. The only problem is in defining yourself in terms of that.

    The Heart Sutra holds wisdom here.
     
  6. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

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    You might be right on that. I'm going to have to examine myself and see if that's the case. If so, thanks for pointing it out.

    You're right on this, and I think that's why I made a distinction between apathy and indifference, because equanimity isn't a word people come across too often. But I can see how, in trying to be plain, I might have ended up being more confusing.

    You're right on the first part of this, but I'm going to have to disagree with the second part. In my mind, wanting is a form of attachment. I made a distinction between want and need. Needing something may not necessarily be a form of attachment, as we have basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. I've heard it said "to be happy, be content with what you have, not wanting more". And love, it depends on what kind of love. Loving-kindness for all sentient beings is a type of love that goes beyond emotionalism, it transcends attachment. Romantic love is a form of attachment.

    I can agree with most of this. I will ask if you could please clarify what you mean by the phrase that I have made bold. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that. And I do have an issue with the way you define preferences. You are correct that they are a part of the mind, and that we should not cling to them, and that they are not part of the self, because there is no self. But, when we make a preference for something, we disregard other like things, or don't see them in as good a light. This is making a distinction, whereby we define things in order to cling to one thing, and have an aversion to it's opposite. You say have preferences, but don't cling to them, I would say this is the start, but ultimately preferences will lead to clinging or aversion, to things which are empty of self-nature.

    A sentient being, to my understanding, is something with consciousness. I'm not quite sure how it's dualistic, so if you could, please explain.

    You're right that not all Buddhists have denounced marriage. And the Buddha never explicitly stated that they are inherently wrong. But, he did, and this is especially true in the Pali Canon, uphold the monastic life as the better choice of the two.

    No argument.

    That's good.
     
  7. wmjbyatt

    wmjbyatt Lunatic from birth

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    Dyanaprajna2011, thank you for your respectful and well thought-out response. Before I beging, I'm going to let you know that I have a tendency to get perhaps more strident and emotionally involved in a conversation than is perhaps ideal, so if at any point you feel I'm being disrespectful, please let me know and I'll be grateful for the contribution to my practice.


    The last sentence here kind of captures the primary part of my whole argument here. Part of what we have is, in fact, attachment. To be happy, we should be content with and accept our attachment.

    Now, expedient means is key here. There's a reason that Theravadin schools have traditionally taught very strong material discipline, while some Tantric schools have an awful lot of sex and eat meat and dance and party and scream and rage. I think it is fair to say that damn near everyone is attached in the real, dukkha-laden sense of the word when they begin their practice. Some of us find true peace most expediently through working from the surface downward and excising ourselves of desire by teaching ourselves discipline and withoutness. Some of us, however, rid ourselves of attachment from the bottom-up. That is, you can rid your mind of attachment until the only attachment left is to the attachment to self, and then ridding yourself of self is easy. Or you can rid yourself of the attachment to self first, and then you can see that all the other attachments are simply not real, and they can continue to exist phenomenally without being spiritually problematic. And there's a whole range in between. My practice has historically been much more bottom-up than top-down.


    But my point is that phenomenal attachment, attachment to things in the experienced world is TOTALLY OKAY so long as we're cool with letting it go when it's time. So long as we knowingly and mindfully accept the suffering it will beget when we must move on. "The enlightened person is not free from the world of karma; the enlightened person is at one with the world of karma."

    I actually typo'd the next sentence. It should read "We should not deny our separating feelings, we should not deny our preferences." I imagine that this difference just means you disagree even more. What I'm saying is, again, it is not the preferences themselves which are problematic, but the fictitious identification of self and preferences. The idea that one IS their wants and desires and that one cannot truly be oneself if their wants and desire go unfulfilled. This is the problem. Again, expedient means. We can, in fact, cure our suffering by eliminating the wants and desires themselves. Or we can cure our suffering by eliminating the notion of a fixed self and allowing ourselves to be our truly dynamic/empty natures.

    How can something be empty of self-nature? Anatta. Self-nature is empty, it is nothing. There is no self nature. You said it yourself. That's the key. When you recognize that there is no self, that you are intrinsically empty, your mind can want and desire all it likes and it is not YOU wanting and desiring, and thus YOU are free from suffering while still having a phenomenal presence. Yes, preference breeds aversion and separation. But aversion and separation are a real part of the experienced world, and to deny them is to attach to a non-existent ideal of what the experienced world "ought" to be.


    Well, my original complaint about sentience being dualistic is that it opposes unsentience, or beings without consciousness, and thus excludes, say, rocks. But we should love the rocks, too, if we practice equanimity. Rocks are awesome. Plus I take philosophical issue to the notion of consciousness as some sort of particularly transcendent or characteristic experience, but I have no knowledge of the Abhidharma or esoteric Buddhist psychology, so talking too much about that would escape the confines of the DIR.

    There are married monastics. Plenty of them, both historical and contemporary. I happen to have Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind on my desk at the moment, so Shunryu Suzuki comes immediately and obviously to mind (again).
     
  8. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

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    The part I've put in bold, that same thought had occurred to me after I posted my response to you. And, this whole section, is absolutely correct. It's said that the Buddha taught 84,000 different paths to enlightenment, and taught people according to what they needed to hear, which is why some things he said seem contradictory. Everyone works at their own pace and in their own way. And that last line, I'm the exact opposite. My ex-wife always told me I was an "all or nothing" kind of person, so the top-down approach fits my personality better. :p

    I can agree with this. But, as my response above this one points out, I tend to take the all-or-nothing approach. So my thought process, for better or worse, is, if it might cause pain to lose it, why have it at all? Like relationships, for example. I see what you're saying, and I agree with it. But me, my mind works like this: if it might fail, and more than likely will, and just cause heartache, or at least run that risk, then it's better to just not go into it at all.


    I do disagree with part, but I see what you're saying. And, by disagree, I mean it by way of, my practice is different, not that my practice is more right or better. You're actually right in your analysis. I just take a harder line stance toward things like this. Like in my last section on this post. I think that it would be better, in my case, to just try to do away with preferences completely, rather than trying to keep them, but remain unattached to them. Which, I'll admit, is a harder path. But my step-dad always told me I have to learn things the hard way.


    I see what you're saying here. That makes sense.


    Understood.


    I also have that book, and it's one of my favorites. I do know that there are many married monks today, but this is predominantly in Japan, or Japanese sects. I can't think of any historical instances before Buddhism entered Japan where monastics married.

    You know, I didn't really disagree with you much to begin with, and even less so now. I think the main difference between us is your bottom-up approach, and my top-down approach, which probably makes it seem like I'm a bit more hard-lined in my approach.
     
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  9. wmjbyatt

    wmjbyatt Lunatic from birth

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    That's funny, I had this thought while writing my last piece as well. Well then. That's what we get for trying to word at the inexpressible Dharma.

    That having been said, I hope this discussion has been of some value to the OP. It has certainly been valuable to me in giving me a clearer view and understanding of the rightness (if not me-ness) of the more disciplined approach. Thank you, OP, for inspiring such a conversation, and thank you dyanaprajna2011 for your discussion on the matter.
     
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  10. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

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    You're welcome, and thank you as well. And I too hope that this helps the OP out in some way. And, like they say, a finger pointing at the moon.
     
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