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Thread: Resources on Attachment and Detachment/non-Attachment?

  1. #1

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    Red face Resources on Attachment and Detachment/non-Attachment?

    Are there any Buddhists out there who have any good resources/links that talk about Attachment and non-Attachment? I'd like to read more. This is something I struggle with - I don't think I understand it properly, and since we moved further away from the temple a year ago I haven't been able to go to and speak to someone.




    Blah, I don't know. I don't even know what I want to know. I don't know much about it... it's the one thing I've never delved into, I think because I've never wanted to. I have had depression and PND that left me what i felt was void of emotion, including towards Jazz and Shel... I'm hesitant... I know something in me is telling me that it's different, but how? Being attached means that letting go is painful. Even though being attached is painful. I felt a real loss at being detached. Blah, I'm rambling again. I know depression is different, but I also know that the 'point' (I guess you could say) of detachment is to understand that nothing is permanant and accepting this and allowing yourself to 'separate' or 'detach' from that which is not permanant.

    Maybe I'm letting myself think to literally?


    Do you strive towards non-Attachment? What does Attachment and non-Attachment mean to you?

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    BLAH reading back that makes no sense... I think I need to go talk to someone!

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    let me have a think.... I'll come back when I have some ideas. might be able to recommend a book or two

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    I think the sense of confusion is partly coming from the terminology. I know they use the word attachment a lot in Buddhist literature, but maybe its just the best translation and they have a better word in Sanskrit or Tibetan or whatever. Attachment in English has a lot of baggage, especially coming from the field of psychology. It's hard for us to conceive how we can love someone without being attached to them IYKWIM.
    Sometimes it helps me to think in terms of the other words they sometimes use like 'clinging' and 'grasping'. They give more of a sense of trying to hold on to what is without all the excess baggage that goes with the word attachment. When you think in terms of clinging/grasping it is much easier to see how you can love without these elements, but also how easy it is for those feelings to sneak in. Loving without clinging or grasping to me means appreciating the moment but allowing it to pass without trying to hold on to it. Still tricky ... but maybe not impossible.
    Does that help at all?

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    Yeah I know what you mean, I did a beginner Pali language course and it really emphsised that most words don't translate to English smoothly, and one word, like Upadana, has elements of the word 'attachment', and as you said, 'clinging' and 'grasping', also 'holding'.
    And when you translate the English word attachment back to Pali, you need to consider other words before it translates to Upadana. Including the word 'Pema' which, when you translate it back to English, means attachment and love.

    Hmmm, I need to get introspective for a while...

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    Sounds like you know much more about it than I do!! Anyway that was just what came to mind

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    LOL no pixie, I don't know much at all about 'Attachment'... I don't think I know much because I find it so confusing. Doesn't really matter what I know, or think I know, because I don't really understand!

    Just some thoughts that have popped into my head today, in case you're wondering what's going through my head Dunno if my thoughts are 'right' regarding Attachment, but here goes anyway...
    I read something this morning about 'Attachment' as 'grasping' or 'holding', instead of 'letting it be'. I think I understand that. Allowing people (like Shel and Jazz) in my life, letting them be, living in the moment, letting it be what it is right now without wanting it to be more or wanting to hold on to what it was... that makes a bit of sense.
    I guess I have to bring in "love all beings as family, because at some point they have been or will be your family" and know that love and attachment on that level is ok and normal and what you want to strive for. Being attached to all, but clinging to none. That makes a bit more sense too. Attachment as 'connection', positive connection, being connected to all, connecting to all with love and kindness, but not grasping or clinging to any, not wanting more or wanting what was because that will just bring suffering... Accepting impermance by not grasping or clinging...
    That brings the questions of emotions, I'm not sure what questions specifically yet (LOL!) but I know I have some questions...


    Thats as far as my thoughts have gone today, but I think it's something I'd like to let myself explore! Definitely more, and less, to Attachment than I first thought.

    My head hurts

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    I don't know much about Buddhism but to answer your question about what Attachment/non-attachment means to me I thought i would share that the quote under my username expresses my hope that I might attain a certain degree of non-attachment to things. I suspect that there will come a time in my life that we as a family start to live even more materialistically comfortably that we are now. I have a strong urge to curb the desire to create a perfect material world around me. Being a very visual person i love beautiful objects but i do feel guilty about this. Intuitively i feel that materialism is a very charismatic thing... and something that will never be satisfied... you can so easily get so attached to stuff that it can become the whole reason for living... I know this but...

    Anyhow when i read this quote (the Aboriginal one) in a magazine recently (Frankie) it struck a deep and resonate chord. I really do want to seek knowledge over and above 'stuff'. I want to value it more than stuff and spend more money on acquiring knowldege than stuff... how many people do this?

    Ideally I want to maintain the (i think) more innocent mindset that I had as a child... not having any other resources than art supplies, I had to MAKE something beautiful if i wanted it.... instead of buying it. And in making something of beauty you engage in a journey of knowledge... the end product (the drawing etc) is good... but the process was just as valuable. To me it seems that these days people are attaching themselves to objects without undertaking the journey... a bit like a teenager who is given a Porche for his 18th birthday... I think there is something to be said for the process of striving and problem solving that comes with acquisition... the end product is good but the journey that it took to get there is actually what's important to the soul. So... I don't know maybe Buddhism advises that you detach from "stuff" in favour of focussing on the journey? In Christianity you might compare this to "don't worship false gods"... too many people in Western society worship stuff and in the process lose sight of what is truly valuable. I think the Buddhist message is a very important one.

    This is just my thoughts on Attachment to material things... I have some less formed ones about attachment to people but I'll have to organise my thoughts about that a bit better i think.

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    Non-attachment is different from emotional detachment...one stems from being in a place of balance, the other from being in a place of huge unbalance. In my life I try to think about non-attachment like it's acceptance of what is, surrending to what is - rather than wishing with all your being that things are different. It does make a difference in your level of suffering - I think of the huge distress & physical pain I experienced when I was having my first CT scans - when I just wanted to climb out of my own skull and run in the opposite experience...compared to now - and I have worked *very hard* on my acceptance/surrender levels in the meantime - I can now calmly sit thru whole cycles of needles and pain and scans but instead of being completely 'inside' and therefore overwhelmed, I now feel like I'm sitting a step back from it - it seems a smaller thing & therefore easier to cope with (ie less emotional pain). I hope this isn't too much of a ramble, it's the most obvious example I can think of in my life because it's quite physical.

    BTW I don't think denying your own state of mind is the same as attachment either, I don't know what the Buddhists say about it but sometimes I just need to 'process' in order to get a grip on stuff.

    Have you read any Pema Chodron books...she has an excellent one that I've dipped into called "when things fall apart". It might be worth looking her up as she writes in a way that is really easy to understand. Eckhart Tolle covers a lot of the same territory in A New Earth - which, while not Buddhist, might be worth a read too.
    Last edited by AnyDream; January 16th, 2010 at 05:08 PM.

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    Just thought I'd come back and update on this... After I opened myself up to non-Attachment, I seemed to be given the ultimate lesson. I'm still working through it, seeing as I resisted and then caused myself a lot of stress and pain, but realising that I've opened myself up to it, I can see the answer. I just have to work out how to get to it. I have to work out what I am attached to in this circumstance, and let it go. Be ok. Be unified. Know that I don't need to hold on with a clenched fist nor throw it away. Just live it, right now, without wanting what was or what could have been...


    For others interested in Attachment and non-Attachment, I read a really good explanation of one person's view on attachment and non-attachment. That attachment implies viewing yourself and your 'attachment' as separate from all other things. Non-attachment is viewing youself in unity with all, separate from none, so there is nothing to attach to.

    "According to the Buddhist point of view, nonattachment is exactly the opposite of separation. You need two things in order to have attachment: the thing you’re attaching to, and the person who’s attaching. In nonattachment, on the other hand, there’s unity. There’s unity because there’s nothing to attach to. If you have unified with the whole universe, there’s nothing outside of you, so the notion of attachment becomes absurd. Who will attach to what?"
    John Daido Loori

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