Astus wrote:If one is a householder it is likely one has a family. Because there are several duties one has to perform because of one's responsibility towards one's family there is little motivation to practice the Dharma. And even if there is some motivation it is usually a low level goal one wants to achieve. Rarely, if one does have great determination toward the Dharma, family then can appear as a major obstacle. Only a few fortunate people can manage having family and being deeply involved in the Dharma. That's why most of those who aspire for liberation leave the family behind and become renunciates, just like Siddhartha. Thus in Buddhism family is rather a symbol of attachment and samsara rather than something sacred, primarily because the Buddhist tradition is preserved and transmitted by monastics.
You sound like the St. Paul of the Dharma:"I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided."
What about suttas such as the Samajivina Sutta (AN 4.55) where the Buddha gives advice for how a husband and wife can be reunited in their future lives? Rather than curbing his lay disciples' desires of the world, the Buddha was ready to show those under the sway of worldly desire how to obtain the objects of their desire -- provided that the fulfillment of desire be regulated by ethical principles.
I think it's a shame that, in the past and even today, monks display little interest in showing those of us stuck in the world how to use the wisdom of the Dharma to deal with the problems of ordinary life. While I agree that the heart of the Buddha's teachings lie in the path to final release from dukkha, isn't the function of a Buddha to discover, realize, and proclaim the Dharma in all its range and depth in all its multiple dimensions? This would include the complex conditions of human life for people in the world. As such, the Pali Canon does contain a great vast literature dealing with householders and the merits even they can achieve in practicing right livelihood, moral discipline, generosity, wisdom and having faith in the Buddha.
Aside from what the Pali Canon states, family can be a prime mover of bodhicitta. It - or they
- can be a better guru than your guru. If a person refuses to practice the Dharma, it can't be blamed on family. A person practices Dharma if they have the desire to practice Dharma -- even the Buddha knew that.