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Thread: Attachment.

  1. #1

    Attachment.

    I believe, Attachment is one of the bigest stumbling blocks for the practice of Zen. Attachment in its many forms may be so deeply rooted in ones mind, as to be totaly unaware of its implications. Any bias, any predjudace no matter how small is attachment. In fact, even thinking that I am unattached, is by that very nature, attachment, I am attached to being unattached.
    Well that should get the ball rolling, let's see what subtle forms of attachment anyone else can come up with.

  2. #2
    Attachment is a difficult issue. I'm finding that I have not really given it up, I've just replaced my old attachments for newer more healthier ones. . . in the long run I'm letting go, perhaps I'll learn to let go of my attachment to Buddhism one day too.

    I guess in truth being a Buddhist is not about any sort of label, identity, or even spiritual practice, but just about living life purely, honestly in the reality of the present moment -- no attachtment involved with such a life of action.
    gassho,

    Greg

  3. #3
    Not unlike desire. We desire to be free of desire. To want to be free of desire in itself is another desire, no?

    We desire to know truth and reality. We are attached to reality, truth.

    Ah, the paradox.

  4. #4
    Hi guys,

    I like to go with a gentle approach to "attachments," because the simplest way to get rid of our "overly tight grip" on life is not by gripping life tighter. It is, instead, attained by releasing the wheel and allowing the vessel to go as it will.

    One learns to walk this road by trusting and allowing life to be what it is, not trying (once again) to make ourselves and the world "the way we insist they should be".

    So, I believe our approach to attachment should be simply a willingness to allow thing to come and go (even the treasures and people in our live that we cling to) ... and to embrace the world, and its events, the way they are (even when we do not care for them).

    By doing so, one is non-attached.

    Nurture the garden, take tender care of each blossom ... laugh as the flood sweeps it all away.

    "Non-attached", by the way, does not mean "disattached" ... I love my family members, cherish our relationships and time together, for example ... but must be willing to see them go when the time has come.

    That, for me, is the Buddhist way of unattached, yet mindful care ... or "non-attachment," you might say.

    The Buddha had been an aescetic, and tried the road of "self-denial" as a means of freedom from attachments. But, ultimately, he rejected that way and preached the "middle road," the way of moderation. So, I think that having our small likes, dislikes, prejudices, biases, strong and weak points, bad habits and all the rest is not the problem of "attachment". Without those things, we are not human, just cold machines.

    Instead, it is merely a matter of accepting our silly humanity with all the good and bad, beautiful and ugly points, seeking as best we can to nourish the good and not do harm ... but ultimately embracing the way we are as we are. Then, we are "non-attached". I think.

    Gassho, Jundo

  5. #5
    posted before reading Jundo's comment:

    Part of zen is noticing your attachment and how you become attached to things. What is it that is attached? What is attachment. Not a desire to rid yourself of such things but to see them for what they are. I think.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I like to go with a gentle approach to "attachments," because the simplest way to get rid of our "overly tight grip" on life is not by gripping life tighter. It is, instead, attained by releasing the wheel and allowing the vessel to go as it will.

    One learns to walk this road by trusting and allowing life to be what it is, not trying (once again) to make ourselves and the world "the way we insist they should be".

    So, I believe our approach to attachment should be simply a willingness to allow thing to come and go (even the treasures and people in our live that we cling to) ... and to embrace the world, and its events, the way they are (even when we do not care for them).
    Thank you Jundo. This sounds like the practical application of my understanding of "turn the light and shine it within." Shikentaza seems to be a perfect match for the practice of non-attachment.

    One of the hardest things to non-attach is our mental concepts. Ideas that the self exists, that the voices in my head are me, or are even helpful. Somehow it is easy to see the suffering and confusion caused by my attachment to my job or my home or my relationships but it is very hard for me to let rest my attachments to my thoughts about self.

    One mantra that has helped it to express the Heart Sutra's eyes see, ears hear, tongues taste and minds think. That is what minds do, they think and are no better at thinking than the eyes are at seeing. Yet we know how easily the eyes are fouled and how limited and confused our vision is. Yet we seem to think our minds are somehow special and we attach to what they tell us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    "Non-attached", by the way, does not mean "disattached" ... I love my family members, cherish our relationships and time together, for example ... but must be willing to see them go when the time has come.

    That, for me, is the Buddhist way of unattached, yet mindful care ... or "non-attachment," you might say.
    Yes this is the humanity of Zen. Non-attachment is empty of attachment. Reality shines forth and nourishes the garden of life.

  7. #7
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Attachment comes with email; most of it is junk.

    :-)

    Kirk

  8. #8
    Harry, :lol:

    For me it's not being attached to what is mine so that I can love those and that which is not me/mine. I also think that progress is altering the content of my attachments to healthier, saner ones that can more easily be released for a little sitting. And to know that we Americans anyway live in a culture that constantly encourages and then exploits attachment.

    And, I think--though I have analyzed them all--my fears are just the other side of my attachments.

    and fwiw, from my perspective, this is where Christianity learns from Buddhism, what Christians neeed to learn from Buddhist.

  9. #9
    I think the word "attachment" is part of the problem with understanding the concept.

    I like to interpret it as not to "grasp". It's OK to hold something in your hand or mind, it is another thing to grasp it, to try to make something permanant in an impermanant constantly changing universe.

    It makes it a little easier for me to undersatnd, although not that much easier to accomplish.

    Peace...Namaste...Gassho...

    Urug 8)

  10. #10
    I'm not sure if this is really on the topic or not. But I'm going to say it anyway.

    A couple of years ago, a close family member died suddenly and unexpectedly. I certainly didn't react in a 'detached' way - maybe that means I'm not a good Buddhist. When I got the news, I actually fell to my knees and screamed "No!" (just like the movies, eh?). And I cried a lot, for a long time.

    A well-meaning friend said to me how they understood how difficult it was for me to 'let her go.'

    I said "How can I let her go? She's already gone."

    At which point I got a pat on the arm and was told "But she'll always be in your heart." Which is such a cliched statement. I don't really understand it. Of course, I have many fond memories, but there's no way to keep the person (or a part of the person) alive. You can't be just a little bit dead.

    People talk about 'losing' a spouse, or a parent, or their health. But that way of talking presumes that they had ownership of these at some point. I don't know if that's true.

    We're born, we die.

    And in between, we pay taxes.

    So it goes.

  11. #11

    attachment

    Hello Paige, and everyone here:
    I think that grief is in its own odd way, a form of 'celebration.' I mean,
    to fully grieve, which is a rare thing to be able to do when you think about it--we 'hold ourselves together' for a variety of reasons--time, place, what we perceive to be the sensibilities of others.....but to let grief come and just be grief--a marbled mixture of the whole of it, the exquisite and the excruciating of it, the inevitability of 'ends'--experienced bit, by bit, in 'pieces' (good practice, I think for the Big One), until the end of the whole of it all as we know it all in one go--nose to nose with mystery, the whole while.
    Joy and Grief inseparable--and I think they are the dearest of friends. I think they share humorous stories and laugh with each other, and I think they wipe each other's tears and hold each other close.

    gassho
    keishin

  12. #12
    Gassho Keishin. Thank you for that.

    Some folks think that we should not be sad any more if we are doing Zen Practice "right". I don't think that is true. We are free to be sad, perhaps freer to experience such emotions than before (when we might have thought that there is something "wrong" with being sad, and run away from it). We are now open to the grief we may feel in the face of loss. We can be peaceful with our not feeling particularly peaceful at some moments.

    As well, sometimes we might face loss and tragedy with equanimity, and not feel particular grief or sadness. We can even be happy and at peace. I was somehow very joyful and cheerful when my mother died after a long illness, and her funeral was sometimes like a birthday party. We can be at peace with feeling at peace. That is not "wrong" either.

    As well, sometimes we might face loss and tragedy with grief and sadness, hand-in-hand with equanimity and happiness ... all together. That is the "right" way to be too.

    In each of those ways, somehow experiencing loss is the same, and very different, from life without our Zen Practice. I think so.

    Gassho, Jundo

  13. #13
    I've had some lessons in non-attachment lately. Over a year and a half ago, I left my career to move to England where my wife is from. We had been living the yuppie life back in America with a lot of stuff and a good income. We moved with no jobs lined up and enough savings to live on for awhile. The plan had always been that I would stay home with our young son and my wife would eventually go to work.

    I had no idea how attached I was to to an idea of who and what I thought I was: I mean, job, title, position in life, homeowner vs not, high income vs not, etc. Suddenly becoming "just a dad" or a "house husband" as they say over here hit me harder than I ever imagined. There was a period when I began to think that all I was good for was changing nappies and making cups of tea! At a mundane level, I had to face my idea of self, and I was rebelling.

    Eventually, I needed to sell some of my stuff and found out how attached I was to it. Now, I see that it all just comes and goes. Sure I like stuff. Some of it I really enjoy, but if it has to go it has to go.

    It hasn't all been pleasant, but it's been a great lesson. I'm quite sure I'm now more "me" than I ever have been. I'm finally letting go of my past life and accepting this one, for what it is, and me for who I am. I'm still attached to plenty though. Got a long way to go yet. :lol:
    Cheers,
    Bruce

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