Epistemes wrote:I responded above - page 3 or so - and got at the heart of what troubles me: death. It's not samsara, it's not heaven/hell, it's not being interrogated by Osiris. What I said there, and I'll repeat it again here, is that dead is dead and death is separation from our loved ones, period.
You may find this interesting and perhaps even helpful.
My first instruction in Shamatha was with a meditation instructor who described meditation practice as a way to practice for our own death. We learn to let go of thoughts and emotions as they arise. We learn to stop clinging. Much of the suffering that accompanies the dying process is brought about by our clinging to life, to our feelings of love and affection for friends and family, to our fear of the the unknown, to our pain. Death is inevitable. It cannot be escaped. No matter what we do, we will die. It is certain. To hold out against the inevitable, to cling to life, even as it passes away brings great suffering. Better to let go. We learn to do this by meditating.
This should be all the more motivation to unattach ourselves from our loved ones and regard all life with equanimity, but I'm not there yet...so I despair. I completely agree with what everybody says here on a conceptual level - but the thought of renunciation (which isn't what anyone or thing has asked me to do) causes me to sob greatly. I practice, I study, I ask questions, I learn - but I'm my level of attachment to my environment is very strong.
You aren't alone. To some degree or another we all share the same attachments and anxieties where if comes to family. The bonds are strong and not easily broken. So, in a way family causes the greatest suffering - the deepest, the sharpest, the most raw and painful suffer there is.
A couple examples. I've had to deal with an insanely disfunctional family situation for the better part of 40 years. It's largely my fault. I've lived in Colorado for 25 years. My immediate family is in Minnesota. In those twenty five years, my brother and sister have come to visit me a grand total of zero times. I don't know why. I've had people I barely knew come all the way from Europe to visit me, but my own flesh and blood can't be bothered. If you don't think that bugs the shit out of me about once an hour ....... the assholes won't even tell me why. My father an I had a few outstanding issues dating back to the beginning of this 40-year stretch of abject misery and we were never able to resolve them and put them to rest. He died a a couple years ago. Things between will never, of course, be resolved. These are, of course, attachments. They are the cause of suffering. I cling to this misery, even though the pain of it, borne out of this unspeakable love I have for them, is nearly unbearable. I can see the suffering it causes. I know where it comes from. Just the same, I can't let go of it.
So my friend you are not alone. My family situation probably isn't the same as your's, but it is the source suffering for us both.
That's where I am, that's why I despair, that's why I fear death, that's why I blame Buddhism even if the accusations aren't sound in the least.
But that's why we can't dispair. It will drive us nuts. We have no need to fear death, either and if we do we have excellent tools and an excellent teacher to help us cope with that fear.
We can't blame Buddhism. We can't blame anyone or anything else. Our suffering is our own doing, but we can't even blame ourselves.