Author Topic: Buddhist view on attachment and death  (Read 1313 times)

Offline Primrose_emily

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Buddhist view on attachment and death
« on: August 27, 2015, 05:25:31 pm »
Hello! I am just starting out on my path but of course keep coming across the point that the root of all suffering is our attachment. The biggest obstacle to this, for me, that I keep rethinking has to do with death. How can we love so deeply those in our life and not feel attached to them? Especially in the case of death of a loved one or cherished pet. I suffer deeply when I lose someone I love and am not sure how to relate this to nonattachment. I can understand working towards unattaching myself from my beliefs, feelings, perceptions, etc but I think it's natural to feel attached to our family, closest friends, pets, etc. Perhaps i am thinking of attachment in the wrong way? Any advice or suggested reading on this topic in particular? What is the buddhist view of the grieving process?

Thanks for any input!

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Buddhist view on attachment and death
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2015, 06:05:11 am »
Hi, Primrose.

You are correct.  It is natural for us to suffer from loss of loved ones.  But, that is not the point of Buddha's teaching in The Four Noble Truths.  The point is that attachment causes suffering.  Therefore, if you love and expect the one that you love to never die, then you are going to suffer, unless you die first, which is the normal condition with our children, younger siblings, younger friends and etc.  Those my age (71) have seen grandparents, parents, older cousins, older spouses, and etc. die before us, and if we loved them, we grieve (another word for suffering).

So, question is, "What do we do about it."  Expect that others, like us will die eventually and sometimes suddenly.  Meditate on the condition of death.  Buddha took his followers to  cemeteries called Charnel Grounds for observation of the decomposition of bodies:

Quote
A charnel ground (Devanagari: श्मशान; Romanized Sanskrit: śmāśāna; Tibetan pronunciation: durtrö; Tibetan: དུར་ཁྲོད, Wylie: dur khrod), in concrete terms, is an above-ground site for the putrefaction of bodies, generally human, where formerly living tissue is left to decompose uncovered.


By observing this process, his followers lost all delusions of living beings surviving forever, and let go of any notion that our lives would be played out otherwise.

Remember the First Noble Truth is "Life is Dukkha".

By doing this we learn not to attach ourselves to any notion of permanence or immortality.  There is no point in fearing death, or having any expectation of life ending otherwise.  Therefore, today, this very moment is the time to be loving, kind, compassionate, joyful, friendly, charitable, and to do all the other beneficial acts that better our current lives and the lives of others.  No need to cling to anyone, anything, or anyplace, because if they don't deteriorate, or corrupt first, we certainly will. :dharma:

With regard to the concept of death, we are advised to develop "equanimity", which is one of the four sublime states:

Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity

Source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/wheel006.html

« Last Edit: August 28, 2015, 06:11:39 am by Ron-the-Elder »
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-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Buddhist view on attachment and death
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 05:46:38 am »
Hello Elder,
I think since our birth we have been living through this attachment of life so I think it's hard to let go of all this attachment and I think even though we walk in the path of Dharma, it will take some to let go of that attachment.
  :namaste: :namaste:

True, but this does not change the fact that life: "birth, aging, disease, and death" are not what Buddha called this entire entangled net of dukkha:  pain, suffering and dissatisfaction.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Buddhist view on attachment and death
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 04:52:33 pm »
What is the buddhist view of the grieving process?


Hi Primrose and welcome to Free Sangha.

You might find the following article worth reading:

"A Buddhist Perspective on Grieving" by Roshi Joan Halifax
http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/blog/2010/mar/11/buddhist-perspective-grieving-roshi-joan-halifax/

Offline Amara

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Re: Buddhist view on attachment and death
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2015, 06:06:59 pm »
Dear Emily

I would like to answer your question with reference to Tripitaka who is asking to revive his dead son to be alive again. Everyone will die one day and we can't stop this to happen as long as we are having a body that we have to leave.

We are taking ownership of things because of wrong view. So we are making a perception that this is "my son" "my father" etc. Then we will be grieving when they passed away.

In order to conquer this (mental/physical) suffering, we have to be mindful on our actions and to do this mindfulness in our daily life.

You have to be mindful about thinking, doing (walking,eating etc). If you do not be mindful then there will be attachments because you receives them with possession (ownership).

Once you take ownership, you have to maintain that. Maintaining impermanent is suffering.

I will support Ron-the-Elder developing "equanimity" and antiquebuddhas's "to let go of that attachment".

I will post here how to do mindfulness on our daily life.

http://dharmawisdom.org/teachings/articles/maintaining-mindfulness-daily-life
http://www.wildmind.org/applied/daily-life
http://www.dailygood.org/story/497/5-ways-to-bring-mindfulness-into-everyday-life-headspace-com/

Kisa Gotami Sutta

"Kisa Gotami was the wife of a wealthy man of Savatthi. Her story is one of the more famous ones in Buddhism. After losing her only child, Kisa Gotami became desperate and asked if anyone can help her. Her sorrow was so great that many thought she had already lost her mind. An old man told her to meet Buddha. Buddha told her that before he could bring the child back to life, she should find white mustard seeds from a family where no one had died. She desperately went from house to house, but to her disappointment, she could not find a house that had not suffered the death of a family member. Finally the realization struck her that there is no house free from mortality. She returned to the Buddha, who comforted her and preached to her the truth. She was awakened and entered the first stage of Arhatship. Eventually, she became an Arhat."

Please read more about this Sutta in the reference URL below.

Many Thanks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kisa_Gotami

 


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