Author Topic: Modern life and attachment  (Read 1506 times)

Offline Rianthe

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Modern life and attachment
« on: July 26, 2015, 09:04:23 am »

Hello, it's me again, back with more questions! After some months of thought, contemplation and general living, I must
admit that I am still quite puzzled with regards to attachment. I have posted on several forums and have gotten several
replies (some contradictory to me) and so I am still searching for answers.

Basically I am on-board with attachment leading to craving. However, Geshe Kelsang has said there is nothing wrong of course with having nice partners, homes, and jobs. We are humans and need human conditions, however we don’t need attachment.

So how does one live in the modern world without having attachment? Is it ok to desire nice food, movies etc without being
attached? What is an example of attachment versus non-attachment? For instance, the Dalai Lama has hobbies too. :) Zen monks also have families.

I won't go into what I've written in my previous topics, but at least in my life and my practice, what I notice is this.
Desire arises at some point, like I want to watch a movie. So, I go and watch it. If however I don't get to watch the movie,
I have noticed that I am not terribly distressed.

Same goes for other things, let's say pizza. I quite like pizza! But if I don't get to eat it, I'm not really bothered. If
maybe let's say I did not get it eat it for months on end, then perhaps I would be a little more bothered. During the eating
of the pizza I don't particularly feel that I am craving for anything, I feel good (how good of course depends on the
pizza in question)

After that I feel pretty good, but once again I don't feel that I have to repeat the experience. So at least in my life,
desire comes, desire is addressed, it goes away, life continues. I don't feel a very strong "OMG I gotta have this!"
feeling about most things. Maybe if a movie that I really want to see comes out, then I might feel that for a while, but
it is easily dealt with by going to see the movie. :)

In a way it's similar to my cat's behavior. Sometimes he wants to go outside, and if he can't (like right now) he raises
a ruckus, but then he quiets down after a while. Then it might happen again, and sometimes he gets to go outside and
sometimes he doesn't. Either way, life goes on.

To me, this seems like a reasonable healthy way to live life. Attend to whatever desire arises, but don't get caught up in
it. Since the Middle Way is one of moderation, I do not forsake pizzas entirely, nor do I go after gourmet, extra-special
ones. (just as an analogy)

What do you all think? Am I missing something? I'm using pizzas as an example here, but I could substitute jobs, clothes
or whatever as well.

Offline popsthebuilder

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2015, 09:20:47 am »
Attachment, or being used to things being one way will make you want said thing when you can't have it. Attachment, to me s more about material objects or possessions.

Like money. Money is not needed in any way shape or form. What is needed is resourses. The understanding of most that money isn't only needed for survival, but also happiness has lead many off the path. This false attachment is bad and off putting.

Faith in selfless Unity through Good


Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2015, 11:19:01 am »
Same goes for other things, let's say pizza. I quite like pizza! But if I don't get to eat it, I'm not really bothered. If
maybe let's say I did not get it eat it for months on end, then perhaps I would be a little more bothered. During the eating
of the pizza I don't particularly feel that I am craving for anything, I feel good (how good of course depends on the
pizza in question)

That sounds reasonable, you could say it's the middle way.  Obviously if you became a pizza-holic you would need to reconsider.  :-P

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2015, 11:24:53 am »
To me, this seems like a reasonable healthy way to live life. Attend to whatever desire arises, but don't get caught up in
it. Since the Middle Way is one of moderation, I do not forsake pizzas entirely, nor do I go after gourmet, extra-special
ones. (just as an analogy)

My friend, your monkey mind is in over-drive --- you do not "attend" to whatever desire arises, but "examine" whatever desire arises, to find its root, ect. 

If your understanding of the word "attend" actually means to examine the desire, then no harm no foul, but when a person says they're 'attending to desire' it can also mean that they're acting upon that desire, not necessarily the wisest thing to do.

Attachment, or being used to things being one way will make you want said thing when you can't have it. Attachment, to me s more about material objects or possessions.

Attachment comes in many forms, so it's much more than just material objects and possessions.

Offline popsthebuilder

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2015, 11:59:05 am »
To me, this seems like a reasonable healthy way to live life. Attend to whatever desire arises, but don't get caught up in
it. Since the Middle Way is one of moderation, I do not forsake pizzas entirely, nor do I go after gourmet, extra-special
ones. (just as an analogy)

My friend, your monkey mind is in over-drive --- you do not "attend" to whatever desire arises, but "examine" whatever desire arises, to find its root, ect. 

If your understanding of the word "attend" actually means to examine the desire, then no harm no foul, but when a person says they're 'attending to desire' it can also mean that they're acting upon that desire, not necessarily the wisest thing to do.

Attachment, or being used to things being one way will make you want said thing when you can't have it. Attachment, to me s more about material objects or possessions.

Attachment comes in many forms, so it's much more than just material objects and possessions.
Thank you.

Faith in selfless Unity through Good


Offline Rianthe

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2015, 12:15:17 am »
What is the difference between attending and examining, then?

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2015, 02:48:44 am »
What is the difference between attending and examining, then?

One way of explaining it is in terms of the first 2 factors of enlightenment, mindfulness and investigation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Factors_of_Enlightenment

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2015, 04:18:28 am »
What is the difference between attending and examining, then?

As it related to your earlier statement, "attending" could mean [1] be present at, [2] look after, or [3] pay heed to (in other words, it's non-analytical in context and doesn't necessarily mean that the desire hasn't been acted up in one fashion or another),  whereas "examining" is specifically analytical in context: [1] to inspect someone or something in detail, [2] to determine something's nature or condition, or [3] to investigate something thoroughly (none of which imply that something has been acted upon).

Offline Rianthe

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2015, 09:05:14 am »
Hmm, I haven't had time to read and investigate them that much, but it would seem that we might need some kind of fun or mental stimulation in order to produce the joy and energy that is necessary for our practice? Of course it is possible to produce joy and energy simply by sitting, but I'm afraid I'm not there yet. :)

Likewise, tranquil music and other relaxing activities can also aid us. So would it be correct to say that practicing using these activities as an aid to mindfulness is ok, as long as we do not get attached to them?

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 09:31:40 am »
Hmm, I haven't had time to read and investigate them that much, but it would seem that we might need some kind of fun or mental stimulation in order to produce the joy and energy that is necessary for our practice?

That would be the equivalent of mental masturbation.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 09:42:37 am »
Quote
Rianthe wrote:  "So how does one live in the modern world without having attachment?

Remember that Buddha taught that attachment causes suffering in several ways:  If painful, then clinging to it causes pain.  For example, an abusive parent is loved by a child, who clings to it, because it is the only parent they know.  As a result the child endures pain.  If parent is loving, kind, caring and nurturing, the child loves the parent even more and will endure pain, suffering and dissatisfaction of grief when the parent dies.  Either way, by clinging to parents and not realizing that clinging to even good people, which are impermanent, clinging eventually or directly causes suffering.

Quote
Rianthe:  " Is it ok to desire nice food, movies etc without being
attached?"

No.  The key word here is "desire".  Instead think in terms of "enjoy" or "experience" without clinging, or attachment.  All people places and things, which are impermanent will eventually be taken from us.  So, what is the point of clinging?

Another way of thinking about it is by using the word "addicted" for attachment or clinging.  If we get to a point of being addicted then we are in trouble.  Best to remain neutral as to all things which are impermanent.
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 Spiny Norman

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2015, 10:21:17 am »
Another way of thinking about it is by using the word "addicted" for attachment or clinging.  If we get to a point of being addicted then we are in trouble.  Best to remain neutral as to all things which are impermanent.

As the Second Noble Truth explains, the cause of suffering is craving, or attachment to desire.  In the Pali craving is "tanha", literally "thirst".

Offline cosmic_dog_magic

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2015, 11:11:54 am »
"Best to remain neutral" - I'm wondering if others feel the same?  I can see it as beneficial but I can also see that being another crutch to avoid situations out of fear of suffering, reserving yourself.  Though I'm not sure if you even mean it to that extent so really just on a tangent because I think this is one of those pitfalls practitioners get into.  Or maybe I'm wrong in thinking that external challenges that bring internal challenges is necessary for refining understanding and practice.

"mental masturbation" - I chuckled.  But is there something wrong with reminding yourself "everything's absolutely fine, everything's absolutely okay", even though there are plenty of things not to be fine about, but that acknowledgement itself cuts through discursive thinking and let's me relax, be more receptive, open and ultimately view it as true.  I feel like dissatisfaction and being okay is just a choice you make, not necessarily based on anything.  Also could be a crutch though, but I don't necessarily mean writing off our own agony, but acknowledging it too in that big space of OK.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 11:15:43 am by cosmic_dog_magic »

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2015, 11:56:19 am »
I feel like dissatisfaction and being okay is just a choice you make, not necessarily based on anything.

The last time I checked, dukkha is translated as "dissatisfaction" and not "everything's okay" --- in other words, there is indeed a choice being, whether one wishes to continue suffering or not, ect., and it's based on the dharma, so it's clearly based on something.

:wink1:

Offline cosmic_dog_magic

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Re: Modern life and attachment
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2015, 12:28:01 pm »
for a long time practitioner, do you acknowledge dukkha is always there or will always be there? is that helpful for your practice?  I'm asking because I'm just freewheeling here at this point.

another question, does dukkha pertain to everything outside of you?  like I'm only dissatisfied because so and so or this and this is not that and so.  removing the reference points of everything outside of you because everything is empty of inherent nature bla bla, you have only your own resources, your body and mind matter, to be responsible of.  I would like to think that I can rouse joy if I want to, just because it's better than not being joyful, and it's an acknowledgement of basic nature.  My body responds viscerally, like "hey man what do I do with all this stress I been keeping, if you're gonna flip the lid like that."

edit:  I guess not 'rouse', but 'come into.'
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 12:38:50 pm by cosmic_dog_magic »

 


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