Sunday, October 29, 2006

Some of my more serious attachments

Buddhists often talk about attachment, and it's often done with little real appreciation of what these may be. At least that's true for me. There is always someone ready with an intellectual answer. Here is a good one: One of the primary delusions is that we have an intrinsic existence (unchanging, isolated reality), and so there is a sense of incompletion, that we need to become, that we need to achieve, that there is a hole in our very being that needs to be filled. We are not conscious of this hole, but it manifests through a craving for those things that in some deep-rooted way we feel will complete us. "If only I could..." or "When I am able to..." (fill in the blank) then I could be happy or at peace. This isn't to say goals or accomplishments are bad. It is how they arise and how we react to them. There are many things we can indeed "do" or wish to do that are not in any way concerned with the Buddhist view of attachment, but many things we desire are in fact rooted in this sense of a need to "find something" or "get somewhere" to be whole. When one realizes that they are empty (no intrinsic existence, but rather always changing) and that they are a part of a greater whole that is in a perpetual act of mutual creation (that would be the teaching of dependent coarising), then one sees that the "hole" is a construct of the mind that is false. They are, in that ultimate sense, already complete. They don't need to become, they already are. So those deep-seated cravings related to trying to be complete or connected are rooted in a delusion, and with that delusion exposed, those cravings lose their sway. That is one intellectual version of what attachments, or cravings, are supposed to be, both how they arise and how they can lose their influence over our lives. But again, that gives little real appreciation for what attachments actually are. Until you have started really seeing them, like strings on a puppet moving you about as conditions in your life appear to change, it's a totally inadequate depiction. And, of course, it's even harder to see that, in fact, their are no strings (yes, it is a bit reminscent of the "no spoon" line from that Zennish motion picture). When one is/is in the realization, rather than anticipating it or acknowledging after the fact, there is nothing to hinder or become hindered by.

So, I keep reminding myself over and over, and over again, seeing a tendency that "I" would otherwise call "mine", causing what "I" would otherwise call an "affliction", disturbing what "I" would other wise call "my mind". Over and over...

No pride
No shame
No praise
No blame

"Oh am I not clever?"

"Geez, I'm so lame."

"I'm worthless."

"I've done way more that him."

"I'll never be as good as that."

"That person is so inconsiderate (i.e. I wouldn't be that way, I am superior)."

"You can't say that to me."

Don't give rise to pride.
Don't give rise to shame.
Don't be swayed by praise.
Don't be swayed by blame.


No pride.
No shame.
No praise.
No blame.

Don't get caught up in worthy and unworthy, help or hindrance.

Though I haven't read or meditated on it in a while, I am reminded of the Chan poem, "Faith in Mind". If you've never read it, it's worth the effort. If you have, it's worth reading again ;o)

Here are some links to different translations:



And yonder.

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