Question about parents and unattachment

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  • Kyonin
    Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
    • Oct 2010
    • 6742

    Question about parents and unattachment

    These days people have asked me about how unattachment works on parenting. Seems that they can understand no to be attached to material stuff, but not to people.

    I currently live with far less attachments than I did years ago and I tend to live by the day when it comes to personal relationships.

    The thing is I am not a dad* and I can't know how it is to be attached to your kid.

    So my questions to the Treeleaf dads and moms are:

    How do you live unattached to your kids?

    How do you teach unattachment to them?

    Thank you!

    Gassho,

    Kyonin


    * I am a dad, but I don't see my daughter since she was 1 year and a half. She's 15 now. Long story.
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍
  • RichardH
    Member
    • Nov 2011
    • 2800

    #2
    Hi Kyonin. Healthy parenting involves healthy attachment ...and healthy heartbreak. There is joy and heartbreak in seeing them grow, and letting go. It is not good for a child if a parent does not form a healthy attachment. There is also unhealthy, neurotic, attachment... but that's a different story.

    Gassho,kojip.

    Comment

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

      #3
      Indeed, Kojip. You see, I have a daughter and since she is ten I saw her twice. I haven't seen her for seven years ( she is in her twenties now), haven't heard about her for about two years and I carry this absence-presence as a huge weight sometimes. The reasons are too common in England, mothers have all rights, fathers none: backed up by law, my very angry ex wife and the "good friends" around manipulated the truth and presumably painted a very dark portrait of the bloke. My daughter quickly declared she did not want to see me, dropped my name to pick up her mother7s name, stopped any connection with her grandmother...Yes I left home at the time, yes I had somebody else was in my life, yes... and yet, the reality of what was taking place at home made it necessary for me to leave. I wanted so much to save my relationship to my daughter and instead, I have lost her. I also lost my job, most of my would be friends then, everything I had and ended up in Sainsburys stacking shelves after having been a Universty professor. My adopted son, Masato, will tell what kind of guy I am. He seems to like me a lot and we are having a wonderful time together.My daughter is living under the spell of other people's malicious and ignorant nature, disguised of course in the most spiritual, friendly, loving ways.

      I have no grudge. I don't hate these people. Ignorance is the core of it all. I love my daughter but I have given up any hope of meeting her again. She is like in another world and yet living with me everyday. I have done my part of counselling and worked on that. She might have to do it if her pride and arrogance don't get too much in the way. So... Parenting? Attached-detached and heartbroken sometimes. It is okay.

      One more thing, Kyonin, I never wanted to intoxicate my daughter with religion, always respected were she was born and never shared any of my practice or aspect of my faith...unlike her mother who pushed her to Church for years every sunday, imposed Christian beliefs mixed up with a strange spiritual mixture that goes under the name of Anthroposophy, decided that she would go to a Waldorf School where I had to teach to partly pay for the ridiculously high fees...I would still do the same, not interfere. I don't talk about Buddhism at home, don't show Masato anything about it. I leave it to him to discover what works for him. He can see the effect of Buddhism if any "live", in my interaction with him. That's my way, you see I am a f..... French guy as my ex wife served me one day. Yep. I agree. And if you want to share Buddhism with your kids, that's okay too.

      gassho


      Taigu

      Comment

      • Dokan
        Friend of Treeleaf
        • Dec 2010
        • 1222

        #4
        Thank you Taigu. Sincerely. It speaks deeply to me to read this. Partly because I want nothing but happiness and peace for you and partly for self serving reasons. I am looking at moving away from my twin daughters and I know it'll be hard, but your words remind me as well that it'll be OK...so thank you for being so open and honest.

        Grateful gassho

        Dokan

        Sent from my SGH-I897 using Tapatalk 2
        We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
        ~Anaïs Nin

        Comment

        • RichardH
          Member
          • Nov 2011
          • 2800

          #5
          "Attached-detached and heartbroken sometimes. It is okay. " Thank you for being so open, Taigu.


          Gassho,kojip.

          Comment

          • ChrisA
            Member
            • Jun 2011
            • 312

            #6
            Thank you, everyone, for these heartfelt responses. So much to say....

            Let me give my first response to Kyonin's initial question. One of the results of my engagement with Zen has been an occasional ability to allow to drop away my attachment to my idea of family members -- my wife, my kids, my parents -- such that I can see the actual people in front of me with greater clarity. It happens rarely, to be sure, but when it does it's powerful: their faces, lives, unknowability... it all explodes in a glorious way that's hard to describe.

            But too often I quickly return to old judgments and hurts, to whom I believe they should be instead of who they are. (Or, in the case of my late schizophrenic brother, who they were.) Letting those judgments and hurts -- those attachments -- go is going to take time, a lifetime, probably. But the few moments when they fall away and I can see them in their bumbling, flawed, human nobility: those moments become part of a me that I didn't know existed.
            Chris Seishi Amirault
            (ZenPedestrian)

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39450

              #7
              Thank you, Taigu, for retelling that story. I have perhaps a dozen male friends and acquaintances who are divorced fathers who have lived a similar experience, a good father painted as a beast by an angry mother trying to "win over" the kids, and her lawyer trying to win over a judge in the child custody fight. (And not to sound sexist ... it happens in the other direction too by fathers trying to win custody).

              And Kyonin ... we do not live "unattached" to our kids ... or wives, parents and others we love. I would say that Mahayana Buddhism allows us to be "attached-non-attached" to our loved ones, which is not the same as being cold and unattached by a longshot.

              I would describe this as something like loving and caring passionately with all our heart, yet not squeezing too tight. Savor every moment when we are together, the ups and downs of life, the smiles and tears ... allow yourself to feel a broken heart filled with grief when our loved one leaves (as our growing children someday will by growing or divorce, or our aging partners and parents inevitably will ... and we inevitably will too with passing time ...) ... hold gently in our arms, let go when the time must come ... be willing to feel the natural pain of loss and separation and missing that is part of being human (as Kojip so beautifully described) ...

              ... and simultaneously know that which cannot be separated, without distance or time or age or birth or death, without loss or anything "missing", all just as it is, At Once As One. Such is Attachment-Non-Attachment.

              Then, one might feel tears running down one's cheek, one might feel the frustration of a parent sometimes ... yet also profoundly a Buddha's Peaceful Smile & Contentment. At Once As One.

              Something like that. The best of both worlds, One World.

              The last time I encountered this very hard and head on was when our baby daughter was in the intensive care earlier this year and the prognosis was not good.



              How to pass it on to kids? I guess just to let them see how you react to things ... to life's ups and downs. I think that is the best way.

              Gassho, Jundo Dad
              Last edited by Jundo; 08-08-2012, 04:07 AM.
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39450

                #8
                Originally posted by ChrisA

                But too often I quickly return to old judgments and hurts, to whom I believe they should be instead of who they are. (Or, in the case of my late schizophrenic brother, who they were.) Letting those judgments and hurts -- those attachments -- go is going to take time, a lifetime, probably. But the few moments when they fall away and I can see them in their bumbling, flawed, human nobility: those moments become part of a me that I didn't know existed.
                Chris, so well said. Thank you.

                I faced this today in a small small way when our 9 year old forgot to do his homework then told us a lie, teased his sister and left his game in a restaurant ... all in the space of an hour. All the same as any parent feels, try to scold and correct and teach them a lesson ... all while not falling into anger. Accept him for who he sometimes is, just a child doing childish things. Not easy sometimes, and it would take the patience of a Buddha! Yet, that is what we should try to do.

                Same for long term hurts, the abusive parent, the sibling rivalries or scars that go on for decades, the "black sheep", the former spouses in the messy divorces ...

                ... we somehow need to forget, carry the lesson, recognize the real scars, move one, forgive as best we can, heal. Often not so easy. All just Practice.

                Gassho, J
                Last edited by Jundo; 08-08-2012, 06:28 AM.
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Mp

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Taigu
                  Indeed, Kojip. You see, I have a daughter and since she is ten I saw her twice. I haven't seen her for seven years ( she is in her twenties now), haven't heard about her for about two years and I carry this absence-presence as a huge weight sometimes. The reasons are too common in England, mothers have all rights, fathers none: backed up by law, my very angry ex wife and the "good friends" around manipulated the truth and presumably painted a very dark portrait of the bloke. My daughter quickly declared she did not want to see me, dropped my name to pick up her mother7s name, stopped any connection with her grandmother...Yes I left home at the time, yes I had somebody else was in my life, yes... and yet, the reality of what was taking place at home made it necessary for me to leave. I wanted so much to save my relationship to my daughter and instead, I have lost her. I also lost my job, most of my would be friends then, everything I had and ended up in Sainsburys stacking shelves after having been a Universty professor. My adopted son, Masato, will tell what kind of guy I am. He seems to like me a lot and we are having a wonderful time together.My daughter is living under the spell of other people's malicious and ignorant nature, disguised of course in the most spiritual, friendly, loving ways.

                  I have no grudge. I don't hate these people. Ignorance is the core of it all. I love my daughter but I have given up any hope of meeting her again. She is like in another world and yet living with me everyday. I have done my part of counselling and worked on that. She might have to do it if her pride and arrogance don't get too much in the way. So... Parenting? Attached-detached and heartbroken sometimes. It is okay.

                  One more thing, Kyonin, I never wanted to intoxicate my daughter with religion, always respected were she was born and never shared any of my practice or aspect of my faith...unlike her mother who pushed her to Church for years every sunday, imposed Christian beliefs mixed up with a strange spiritual mixture that goes under the name of Anthroposophy, decided that she would go to a Waldorf School where I had to teach to partly pay for the ridiculously high fees...I would still do the same, not interfere. I don't talk about Buddhism at home, don't show Masato anything about it. I leave it to him to discover what works for him. He can see the effect of Buddhism if any "live", in my interaction with him. That's my way, you see I am a f..... French guy as my ex wife served me one day. Yep. I agree. And if you want to share Buddhism with your kids, that's okay too.

                  gassho


                  Taigu
                  Thank you Taigu ... I know where you are coming from. I too had the same experience and for the longest time was unable to see or be a part of my daughters life. I was outcasted and I carried that guilt backpack for a long time ... however, my daughter is now (21) and she has made it her choice to connect with me and so we, (via these amazing medium that connects all of use, the internet) have build a beautiful connection.

                  So thank you again Taigu for sharing your story ... it touched me deeply! I hope that one day this beauty will come to you and your daughter.

                  Gassho
                  Michael

                  Comment

                  • Hoyu
                    Member
                    • Nov 2010
                    • 2020

                    #10
                    Wow! Just....WOW! This thread is very beautiful and moving. Deep Gassho to each one of you for sharing your touching life stories
                    Ho (Dharma)
                    Yu (Hot Water)

                    Comment

                    • Jiken
                      Member
                      • Jan 2011
                      • 753

                      #11
                      Thank you all for this thread and the openness used to help teach us. It is recognized and much appreciated. What more can be said.

                      Gassho,

                      Daido

                      Comment

                      • Jinyo
                        Member
                        • Jan 2012
                        • 1957

                        #12
                        So much of life in this thread. Who amongst escapes the pain of fractured relationships and loss?

                        Kyonin and Taigu - thank you for sharing - it may be, in the future, that a reconciliation will come to happen with your
                        children.


                        I can remember only one image from a poem I wrote about my kids - when they were small, but beginning to adventure into the world. I saw them as free - clambering about a 'glittering net of their own intentions'.

                        Their freedom to do this felt so important. My kids are now in their 30's, 40's - still - at times - clambering upon this glittering net of possiblities, new challenges - BUT - of course there are holes they may fall through.

                        All along - there has been another net, a fine-tuned safety net beneath the glittery one. This is the safety net of a parent's love, firm, simple, unadorned and steadfast. And though they may never so much as glance down to see it - they know within themselves that it is there.

                        For anyone who has lost a child - or facing separation, if a seed of love has been planted nothing can take that away.

                        Gassho

                        Willow

                        Comment

                        • Kyonin
                          Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                          • Oct 2010
                          • 6742

                          #13
                          Thank you for sharing this, Taigu. I definitely relate in this.

                          Once upon a time I also had to say good bye to my baby and leave. Her family portraits me as the incarnation of evil, so I don't get to see her.

                          Since then I had to learn how to live attached-unattached.

                          Gassho, Kyonin

                          Originally posted by Taigu
                          Indeed, Kojip. You see, I have a daughter and since she is ten I saw her twice. I haven't seen her for seven years ( she is in her twenties now), haven't heard about her for about two years and I carry this absence-presence as a huge weight sometimes. The reasons are too common in England, mothers have all rights, fathers none: backed up by law, my very angry ex wife and the "good friends" around manipulated the truth and presumably painted a very dark portrait of the bloke. My daughter quickly declared she did not want to see me, dropped my name to pick up her mother7s name, stopped any connection with her grandmother...Yes I left home at the time, yes I had somebody else was in my life, yes... and yet, the reality of what was taking place at home made it necessary for me to leave. I wanted so much to save my relationship to my daughter and instead, I have lost her. I also lost my job, most of my would be friends then, everything I had and ended up in Sainsburys stacking shelves after having been a Universty professor. My adopted son, Masato, will tell what kind of guy I am. He seems to like me a lot and we are having a wonderful time together.My daughter is living under the spell of other people's malicious and ignorant nature, disguised of course in the most spiritual, friendly, loving ways.

                          I have no grudge. I don't hate these people. Ignorance is the core of it all. I love my daughter but I have given up any hope of meeting her again. She is like in another world and yet living with me everyday. I have done my part of counselling and worked on that. She might have to do it if her pride and arrogance don't get too much in the way. So... Parenting? Attached-detached and heartbroken sometimes. It is okay.

                          One more thing, Kyonin, I never wanted to intoxicate my daughter with religion, always respected were she was born and never shared any of my practice or aspect of my faith...unlike her mother who pushed her to Church for years every sunday, imposed Christian beliefs mixed up with a strange spiritual mixture that goes under the name of Anthroposophy, decided that she would go to a Waldorf School where I had to teach to partly pay for the ridiculously high fees...I would still do the same, not interfere. I don't talk about Buddhism at home, don't show Masato anything about it. I leave it to him to discover what works for him. He can see the effect of Buddhism if any "live", in my interaction with him. That's my way, you see I am a f..... French guy as my ex wife served me one day. Yep. I agree. And if you want to share Buddhism with your kids, that's okay too.

                          gassho


                          Taigu
                          Hondō Kyōnin
                          奔道 協忍

                          Comment

                          • Kyonin
                            Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                            • Oct 2010
                            • 6742

                            #14
                            Jundo,

                            Thank you for your words. I asked those questions because some friends asked me about parenting and unattachment, but since I don't have the experience of actually raising a child, I had to ask.

                            I guess I wasn't too far off from what I actually do with my girlfriend, parents and friends.

                            Like I said, I live by the day. I love them very much. But I know that I have to be ready to let them go when the time comes. I allow myself to live the emotions of the moment whether it's joy or sadness.

                            That's why I cherish every second I get to spend with everyone around me.

                            Gassho,

                            Kyonin
                            Hondō Kyōnin
                            奔道 協忍

                            Comment

                            • Kyonin
                              Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                              • Oct 2010
                              • 6742

                              #15
                              Michael,

                              My experience is similar to yours. My daughter got in contact with me via Facebook and for a full year I got to talk to her, even on video! It was a magical experience.

                              Sadly, her mom did not agree of that and she had to delete her Facebook account.

                              All I can do is wait until the time is right again.

                              Hope things go better with you and your daughter.

                              Thank you for sharing.

                              Gassho,

                              Kyonin

                              Originally posted by ecoist
                              Thank you Taigu ... I know where you are coming from. I too had the same experience and for the longest time was unable to see or be a part of my daughters life. I was outcasted and I carried that guilt backpack for a long time ... however, my daughter is now (21) and she has made it her choice to connect with me and so we, (via these amazing medium that connects all of use, the internet) have build a beautiful connection.

                              So thank you again Taigu for sharing your story ... it touched me deeply! I hope that one day this beauty will come to you and your daughter.

                              Gassho
                              Michael
                              Hondō Kyōnin
                              奔道 協忍

                              Comment

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