My lesson in attachment

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  • AlanLa
    Member
    • Mar 2008
    • 1405

    My lesson in attachment

    Recently I was sitting in my nice chair listening to nice jazz sipping a nice glass of wine and enjoying my nice home in a very nice mood. I found myself taking a mental inventory of all that was in my sight. I looked at each picture on the wall, each Buddhist statue, each table, chair, and so on. Everything had significance in some way to my life; everything had meaning, a story behind it. And I sat there quite comfortably recalling all those stories. Some were simple, some were not, but all had value. Then I wondered what I would miss if it all went away in some tragedy. Would I miss each item, I wondered? I looked around at all my stuff and realized no, that I would not miss all the items in my home that I have taken so many years to collect. What I would miss is the reminder they give me of theirs and my wonderful history together. If I don't have that picture anymore I will forget about Gloria giving it to me. If I don't have that book I will forget about finding it in that used book store. If I don't have that couch I will forget about Robbie helping moving it here for me. And so on. Every item had a story, I realized, and I was not attached to all of my things nearly as much as I was attached to my story behind each of them. But who tells that story? Me. I do. So, following that logic train I realized that really what I am attached to is the story teller, which would be ME, this thing I call a SELF. Hmm... sound familiar?
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today
  • Dokan
    Friend of Treeleaf
    • Dec 2010
    • 1222

    #2
    Very much so. However, by dropping the story there can be no teller.

    Thank you.

    Gassho,

    Dokan
    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    ~Anaïs Nin

    Comment

    • Taigu
      Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
      • Aug 2008
      • 2710

      #3
      Indeed. Brillant realization. But let me tell you the story of Jean Cocteau when asked on the French radio what he would choose to save in his house on fire filled with memorabalia and precious art, which object, which painting, which book?...
      He simply answered: i would save the fire.

      Gassho

      Taigu

      Comment

      • Risho
        Member
        • May 2010
        • 3179

        #4
        I love that "save the fire". Gasso Risho
        Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

        Comment

        • charst46
          Member
          • Jan 2009
          • 28

          #5
          Alan,

          Thank you for the insight. It is revealing to realize that most of things, events and persons in my life are there because in some way they reflect me: I am attached to how they reflect my interests, my desires, my...my repeatedly. Just relaxing and letting them be themselves is difficult.

          Gassho

          Charlie

          Comment

          • Mp

            #6
            Thank you for this Alan ... very nice.

            Comment

            • Onken
              Member
              • Jun 2011
              • 104

              #7
              Thank you for that. It's funny how the layers can get pealed back.
              Gassho,
              Onken

              Comment

              • Rich
                Member
                • Apr 2009
                • 2602

                #8
                " this thing I call a SELF. Hmm... sound familiar?"


                Its all about dropping the "I" but that doesn't mean not enjoying the stories, the memories. But the greatest story is the one happening right now. Does sound familiar but maybe call it a 'being view'

                There was another thread I read today about dreams. Had to laugh because I'm not sure if I get stuck in a dream or a dream within a dream.
                Well, got to go and make a dream come true.

                Oh, and remember 'practice is realization'.
                _/_
                Rich
                MUHYO
                無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

                Comment

                • Eika
                  Member
                  • Sep 2007
                  • 806

                  #9
                  _/\_


                  Sent from tapatalk
                  [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

                  Comment

                  • Koshin
                    Member
                    • Feb 2012
                    • 938

                    #10
                    Thank you Alan
                    Gassho
                    Thank you for your practice

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39456

                      #11
                      Hi,

                      Spoke to a number of folks this year who lost their loved ones, homes, possessions, photos, treasures in the Tsunami, or the recent tornado here in Tsukuba ...

                      Hi Jundo Heard the breaking new of a devastating tornado in your vicinity. Please let us know how things are. Much metta to you, your family and all those who have suffered as a result. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10229448


                      Buddhas do teach us to let go of our stuff, let go the people who leave us, and even of our attachment to the memories of each. Yes, it is your 'little self' which clings to things, people and memories as part of its desperate need for "self identity". Open the hand, let all blow away with the wind.

                      But once again, this is not an "either/or" practice. So, we can learn to fully savor and appreciate and embrace the times and people in our lives when they are with us, yet clutch them lightly too. We can also learn to let each go without resistance, when the time comes for going.

                      All At Once, As One. Appreciate the bird resting on the branch, let it fly away when it flies.

                      Time for one of my favorite corny country songs ... this ain't nothing (ain't nothing ... That's Somethin'! ... Emptiness ... )

                      ********EDIT*******9/8/10 WOW! Thank you guys SO much. I did not expect so many views! lol. I love you guys! haha.-------------------------------------------...


                      ... a bit off topic, but this is also a pretty good country tune ...



                      Darryl Worley - sounds like life to me LYRICS

                      Got a call last night from an old friends wife, said, I hate to bother you
                      But Johnny Ray fell off the wagon, hed been gone all afternoon
                      Well, I know my buddy, so I drove to Scullys and found him at the bar
                      Said, Hey Man, whats goin on, He said, I dont know where to start
                      Sarah's old car startin to fall apart and the washer quit last week
                      We had to put Mama in the nursing home and the baby's cuttin teeth


                      I didnt get much work this week and I got bills to pay
                      I said, I know this aint what you wanna hear but its what Im gonna say
                      Sounds like life to me, it aint no fantasy
                      It just a common case of everyday reality
                      Man, I know its tough but you gotta suck it up
                      To hear you talk youre caught up in some tragedy
                      It sounds like life to me

                      Well, his face turned red and he shook his head
                      He said, you dont understand, three kids and a wife depend on me
                      And Im just one man, top it off we just found out that Sarahs two months late
                      I said, Hey, bartender, set us up a round, we gotta celebrate
                      Sounds like life to me, aint no destiny
                      Yeah, the only thing for certain is uncertainty
                      You gotta hold on tight, just enjoy the ride
                      Get used to all this unpredictability, sounds like life
                      Man, I know its tough but you gotta suck it up
                      To hear you talk youre caught up in some tragedy
                      Sounds like life to me (sounds like life to me)
                      Sounds like life
                      Last edited by Jundo; 07-01-2012, 02:52 AM.
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • AlanLa
                        Member
                        • Mar 2008
                        • 1405

                        #12
                        All true, Jundo, but even though I may understand at some level the emptiness of all the stuff we have in our homes, my heart breaks when I watch the heartbreak of this woman towards the middle of this story about the Colorado wildfires. But the man mentioned at the end does reflect back on the videos above.


                        And this video story is a little more uplifting at the end, though still heartbreaking.


                        Metta for all the people devastated by this tragedy.
                        Last edited by AlanLa; 07-01-2012, 05:48 AM.
                        AL (Jigen) in:
                        Faith/Trust
                        Courage/Love
                        Awareness/Action!

                        I sat today

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39456

                          #13
                          Originally posted by AlanLa
                          All true, Jundo, but even though I may understand at some level the emptiness of all the stuff we have in our homes, my heart breaks when I watch the heartbreak of this woman towards the middle of this story about the Colorado wildfires. But the man mentioned at the end does reflect back on the videos above.


                          And this video story is a little more uplifting at the end, though still heartbreaking.


                          Metta for all the people devastated by this tragedy.
                          Hi Alan,

                          That is because those poor, crying, heartbroken women are not experiencing events with a Buddha's Eyes. If they were Zen folks well along this path, they would not feel that way. Because they do not see clearly, they are not free.

                          Oh, don't get me wrong, for a Zen person is a human being ... and we cry, we feel loss, we long for the way things were, we are frightened for the future, grieve for loved ones taken from us in death. Our hearts break like anyone.

                          However, on this Way, we are free of all that, to the marrow ... nothing to be lost, no way things should otherwise be, no attachments and clinging. We smile in the face of fire, as all the things and people return to ash. We see through and through death and birth, coming and going. We are the Heart that can never be broken.

                          Sometimes we may be more tears, sometimes more Buddha ... in Wisdom and Compassion, both at once and completely, seeing no loss even in the loss and flames.

                          In our Compassion, as Bodhisattvas, we seek to save all Sentient Beings. How to save those women? By pulling them out of the burning house, finding and restoring their old photos, bringing back the people they love? We can, and we try.

                          But that is not the central way Bodhisattvas save all Sentient Beings.

                          In fact, we save all Sentient Beings by showing the Sentient Beings that there never were Sentient Beings in need of being saved, nothing ever to be lost, nothing in need of gaining.

                          Here is a Bodhisattva I know, in the very heart of devastation. Greeting all with equanimity. Of course, statues are made of wood and stone, but we have within each of us a Boundless Diamond.

                          Gassho, J

                          Last edited by Jundo; 07-01-2012, 02:02 PM.
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Jinyo
                            Member
                            • Jan 2012
                            • 1957

                            #14
                            Originally posted by AlanLa
                            Recently I was sitting in my nice chair listening to nice jazz sipping a nice glass of wine and enjoying my nice home in a very nice mood. I found myself taking a mental inventory of all that was in my sight. I looked at each picture on the wall, each Buddhist statue, each table, chair, and so on. Everything had significance in some way to my life; everything had meaning, a story behind it. And I sat there quite comfortably recalling all those stories. Some were simple, some were not, but all had value. Then I wondered what I would miss if it all went away in some tragedy. Would I miss each item, I wondered? I looked around at all my stuff and realized no, that I would not miss all the items in my home that I have taken so many years to collect. What I would miss is the reminder they give me of theirs and my wonderful history together. If I don't have that picture anymore I will forget about Gloria giving it to me. If I don't have that book I will forget about finding it in that used book store. If I don't have that couch I will forget about Robbie helping moving it here for me. And so on. Every item had a story, I realized, and I was not attached to all of my things nearly as much as I was attached to my story behind each of them. But who tells that story? Me. I do. So, following that logic train I realized that really what I am attached to is the story teller, which would be ME, this thing I call a SELF. Hmm... sound familiar?
                            Alan - I've been pondering on this and the following posts.

                            I feel there's an implicit tendency in Zen (buddhism in general?) to load 'attachment' with a lot of negativity and difficulty. When I read your post I though it wasn't just a vignette of your story - but of your friends aswell. It is also a story about connectivity and the way in which we cherish relationships/memories. Suffering through attachment/loss feels inevitable - but is that always such a bad thing?

                            I couldn't get the later video (of the woman who had lost everything) to play - but surely she is in a state of shock and I found myself questioning why her response would necessarily be different if she were a buddhist? I would think the most that could happen through being a buddhist is that the working through/ the turn around - might take less time -be easier to access?

                            Perhaps there is something missing from how I view this - but I see equanimity as a process and I have difficulty understanding how it's possible to be in two states of mind at the same time in intense situations - unless as Jundo says one is some way along the path?

                            I'm clearly still at the starting line

                            Gassho

                            Willow

                            Comment

                            • disastermouse

                              #15
                              Originally posted by willow
                              Alan - I've been pondering on this and the following posts.

                              I feel there's an implicit tendency in Zen (buddhism in general?) to load 'attachment' with a lot of negativity and difficulty. When I read your post I though it wasn't just a vignette of your story - but of your friends aswell. It is also a story about connectivity and the way in which we cherish relationships/memories. Suffering through attachment/loss feels inevitable - but is that always such a bad thing?

                              I couldn't get the later video (of the woman who had lost everything) to play - but surely she is in a state of shock and I found myself questioning why her response would necessarily be different if she were a buddhist? I would think the most that could happen through being a buddhist is that the working through/ the turn around - might take less time -be easier to access?

                              Perhaps there is something missing from how I view this - but I see equanimity as a process and I have difficulty understanding how it's possible to be in two states of mind at the same time in intense situations - unless as Jundo says one is some way along the path?

                              I'm clearly still at the starting line

                              Gassho

                              Willow
                              I think it may be a matter of being connected to the narratives of life without being completely invested in them.

                              Let me share something that struck me at work the other night. A lab tech came by and had a bit of a negative reaction to something that had happened the night before. It involved a.....very negative outcome (I don't know how much detail I can really go into) and a doctor crying with family members. The tech was astonished because she thought that doctors were supposed to be 'above' that sort of emotionality. This is not remarkable in itself, but later that night she also mentioned that she could never be a nurse because she WOULD be too easily affected, and she also revealed that she used to be a soldier and how she could never endure working with terribly wounded or dead soldiers because, as a soldier, they were all one.

                              This woman is very invested in this identity as a soldier, even though she is no longer an active soldier. This is not an accident. In boot camp, they tear apart your identity, your ego, to such a weak state that it leaves a vacuum of sorts - and then into that vacuum they offer the identity of 'soldier', knowing that someone will cling to that identity for life rather than ever face that near-vacuum again. Much the same thing happens in prisons, albeit much less intentionally. I remember my brother coming out of prison with a VERY strong identity as a 'convict'.

                              I was struck with an immediate feeling of deep empathy for this lab tech, because I could see that she is far too invested in this identity of 'soldier' to ever let it go no matter how painful it might make her life. I also had a sense that her revulsion for the doctor's display of what might be seen as weakness was also very wrapped up in this identity.

                              Chet

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