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Author Topic: Special Topic: FlameKeeping  (Read 28417 times)
Adept Member
Last Login:April 02, 2012, 03:07:59 pm
United States United States

Religion: Tibetan Buddhist
TCN ID: Starglade
Posts: 1614

Life is a work in progress.

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« Reply #33: March 29, 2008, 08:59:43 am »

Buddhism says that attachment is bad and should be avoided.  As I understand it (and I may well be wrong, in which case, I'd like to know more!) there's a certain anti-this-world aspect to it.

I have a very limited understanding of the path I'm called to (at least I think it's limited, considering it's been three years I've been following it!), but I think there's a clarification needing to be made, here.

(My thoughts are partly fueled by the current Tibetan situation.)

It's not so much anti-this-world, as anti-clinging. We *will* have attachments to things and people here. I will NEVER become unattached to my daughter, or my fiance, or my father. It's not the attachment itself that's considered a problem. It's when that attachment prevents me from moving on, or progressing, or doing what needs to be done in my current situation, that the attachment is a problem. We *are* in the world, we cannot be otherwise. (Monks marching in the streets of Lhasa are hardly "not of the world," are they? Buddhist monks have a long, *long* history of being militant, and not only in Tibet. That was happening in Buddha's day too.)

Mindfulness is the key. Awareness of what we are doing, and that what we are doing *right now* isn't what we'll be doing in a week, or a day, or an hour. I have a job. Some day that job might not be there. I cannot let myself be frozen by the attachment to that job and the income it brings. Some day my daughter might not be there. I cannot let that attachment to her prevent me from doing what I need to do--I cannot put everything on hold and spend every second with her because she will someday be gone (either by leaving home, by marrying, by dying).

It was very, very difficult when my mom was dying. I wanted to be there as often as I could--that was a powerful attachment. However, I couldn't. Weather prevented us from traveling many of the days we'd planned to go. I stayed in touch by phone, and at the end by emails (sent to the care facility, they printed them out on lovely paper and hand-delivered them to her, and Dad read them for her). I didn't let that attachment halt my movement. I did what I needed to do despite wanting to be at her side.

That, at least, is my understanding of "attachment is bad." It's more like, "Attachment that prevents us from doing what we need to do is bad." Live in the moment, and know that this moment will never be here again. And that's as it should be.


The source of all misery in the world lies in thinking of oneself. The source of all happiness lies in thinking of others. -- Shantideva

My public transcript is available for viewing.

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