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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:45 pm 
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When reading sutras and other Buddhist writings, we learn about being detached from things, people, events, etc. as an antidote to attachment. It almost seems as if we are supposed to be emotionless robots. Sometimes, particularly early in our practice, we may practice "detachment" a little too diligently. Psychology has a name for this state of mind: Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Yet, when we observe great masters, they seem to be anything but emotionless. We see laughter, humor, seriousness, sometimes a hint of sadness in compassion. One thing I love about HHDL's face is its expressiveness.

Isn't detachment another way of talking about "equanimity"? Is the idea not to be "emotionless" but to prefer no one emotion over another?

Thoughts appreciated.

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:04 pm 
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viniketa wrote:
When reading sutras and other Buddhist writings, we learn about being detached from things, people, events, etc. as an antidote to attachment. It almost seems as if we are supposed to be emotionless robots. Sometimes, particularly early in our practice, we may practice "detachment" a little too diligently. Psychology has a name for this state of mind: Antisocial Personality Disorder.


Western psychology is of limited utility and is irrelevant to the Buddhist project. I say that with sincerity, too. Western psychology with a few exceptions should be largely rejected.

The point of detachment is to reduce craving and desire which are fuel for unwholesome deeds and moreover condition rebirth. Human relationships are largely driven by craving and desire. We will sit around and gossip with people just creating unwholesome verbal karma. Family is unfortunately an attachment that leads people away from liberation. A lot of friendships are likewise for entertainment purposes and prompt people towards unwholesome deeds.

That being said, there is no cause for becoming a miserable character, or stone cold for that matter. The Buddha is on record grinning here and there. One of the qualities that arises from detachment is subtle joy and even humour. The vicissitudes of human emotion are avoided and as such a kind of stoic ease can be attained.



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Isn't detachment another way of talking about "equanimity"? Is the idea not to be "emotionless" but to prefer no one emotion over another?


Detachment is the process, equanimity is the result. Emotions which are brought about due to unwholesome acts or desires, such as anger or even hysteric happiness, should be severed. I think good emotions which naturally arise as a result of morality, meditative concentration and insight are inevitable. This is one of the good fruits of proper practice: being more chilled out than before. You in effect suffer less and people around you likewise enjoy your peace of mind. Your lack of neurotic behaviour will not spark similar behaviour in others. In other words life gets that much more easier.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:56 pm 
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I think good emotions which naturally arise as a result of morality, meditative concentration and insight are inevitable.


Exactly so. :twothumbsup:
It is quite natural through practice to be more self sufficient emotionally. It is also quite natural to be less emotionally susceptible to the 'normal' triggers. It is also quite natural for negative emotions like fear and anger to disipate. :smile:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:29 pm 
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I remember reading a passage somewhere that said emotions were like poison, and to me that seemed absurd.. the very drive to become 'enlightened', is an emotional one. I think this was one of the first things I read that made me question Buddhism as a path actually.

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It almost seems as if we are supposed to be emotionless robots.


Isn't the entire point of detachment to no longer rely on impermanent things for happiness? (happiness/non-suffering) by stoping grasping/craving, and then happiness naturally comes about. Isn't that entirely the point? Emotions aren't the problem then, I suppose is what I'm saying.

No?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:43 pm 
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viniketa wrote:
Isn't detachment another way of talking about "equanimity"? Is the idea not to be "emotionless" but to prefer no one emotion over another?

I think you are on the right track.

The people who are like robots, showing no feelings, are likely too attached to their emotions. They have to resist expressing them because they have trouble breaking through the attachment. Detachment is loose; resisting is rigid.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:57 pm 
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viniketa wrote:
When reading sutras and other Buddhist writings, we learn about being detached from things, people, events, etc. as an antidote to attachment. It almost seems as if we are supposed to be emotionless robots. Sometimes, particularly early in our practice, we may practice "detachment" a little too diligently. Psychology has a name for this state of mind: Antisocial Personality Disorder.

:namaste:


It's important to note that the DSM definition of Antisocial PD does not mirror the idea of "detachment" as is described in the post above. Antisocial personality disorder is a serious mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal. People with APD can be considered sociopaths; they commit significant harm on others without remorse.

My sense of 'detachment" is the admonition in Buddhist practice that attachments create suffering, dukkha. My sense is that being mindful of attachments, we practice with the idea to rid ourselves of unhealthy fetters that keep us in the wheel of dukkha. It can also be said that we must also practice in an engaged way, not to become automatons, but to engage in a karuna and metta filled way.

Gassho


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:09 pm 
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I've had people ask me about this, too.

In my limited experience, what comes from detachment isn't stone-cold apathy. It's like a man heaving around a backpack full of boulders. When he can set it down, even for just a minute, it feels so good he has to run around and do cartwheels. Taking the friction and resistance out of samsara makes a lot of it not samsara anymore. When everything stops being A Very Big Deal© I think most people would find a lot to laugh about in our situation as humans :tongue:

In fact, I think one of the warning signs that something's gone amiss is if everything becomes more burdensome and despairing. Oh, I have to save all beings? Or oh, I have to detach myself from everything? That's where the gentleness to see where our wisdom is lacking is important. I can see why someone would take equanimity or detachment to mean "I'm a robot" but doing that is taking the teaching out of context in a naive way.

Detachment with still a strong pull towards ego means we strengthen the gulf between ourselves and others, and our own natural spontaneity becomes stifled. Another ego trip. We fall into ourselves and our crystallized ideas about detachment. Detachment with a strong practice of bodhicitta and renunciation of things, including detachment, I think results in a lighter relationship with the world. The vigorous energy that is now free from our own self-interests can be redirected towards the relief of suffering. The natural result of skillful equanimity is joy, opening up, and humor :)

That's my two cents. I think this is a very crucial point that can be misunderstood, especially by the people in our lives who don't practice, so I'm really eager to read more learned and experienced answers here.

:buddha1: :heart:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:18 pm 
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duckfiasco wrote:
I've had people ask me about this, too.

In my limited experience, what comes from detachment isn't stone-cold apathy. It's like a man heaving around a backpack full of boulders. When he can set it down, even for just a minute, it feels so good he has to run around and do cartwheels. Taking the friction and resistance out of samsara makes a lot of it not samsara anymore. When everything stops being A Very Big Deal© I think most people would find a lot to laugh about in our situation as humans :tongue:

In fact, I think one of the warning signs that something's gone amiss is if everything becomes more burdensome and despairing. Oh, I have to save all beings? Or oh, I have to detach myself from everything? That's where the gentleness to see where our wisdom is lacking is important. I can see why someone would take equanimity or detachment to mean "I'm a robot" but doing that is taking the teaching out of context in a naive way.

Detachment with still a strong pull towards ego means we strengthen the gulf between ourselves and others, and our own natural spontaneity becomes stifled. Another ego trip. We fall into ourselves and our crystallized ideas about detachment. Detachment with a strong practice of bodhicitta and renunciation of things, including detachment, I think results in a lighter relationship with the world. The vigorous energy that is now free from our own self-interests can be redirected towards the relief of suffering. The natural result of skillful equanimity is joy, opening up, and humor :)

That's my two cents. I think this is a very crucial point that can be misunderstood, especially by the people in our lives who don't practice, so I'm really eager to read more learned and experienced answers here.

:buddha1: :heart:


:good:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:36 pm 
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KeithBC wrote:
Detachment is loose; resisting is rigid.


:thumbsup:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:40 am 
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viniketa wrote:
When reading sutras and other Buddhist writings, we learn about being detached from things, people, events, etc. as an antidote to attachment. It almost seems as if we are supposed to be emotionless robots. Sometimes, particularly early in our practice, we may practice "detachment" a little too diligently. Psychology has a name for this state of mind: Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Yet, when we observe great masters, they seem to be anything but emotionless. We see laughter, humor, seriousness, sometimes a hint of sadness in compassion. One thing I love about HHDL's face is its expressiveness.

Isn't detachment another way of talking about "equanimity"? Is the idea not to be "emotionless" but to prefer no one emotion over another?

Thoughts appreciated.

:namaste:


Your definitions of emotions are different from the masters' definitions of emotions.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:56 pm 
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Indrajala wrote:
viniketa wrote:
When reading sutras and other Buddhist writings, we learn about being detached from things, people, events, etc. as an antidote to attachment. It almost seems as if we are supposed to be emotionless robots. Sometimes, particularly early in our practice, we may practice "detachment" a little too diligently. Psychology has a name for this state of mind: Antisocial Personality Disorder.


Western psychology is of limited utility and is irrelevant to the Buddhist project. I say that with sincerity, too. Western psychology with a few exceptions should be largely rejected.

The point of detachment is to reduce craving and desire which are fuel for unwholesome deeds and moreover condition rebirth. Human relationships are largely driven by craving and desire. We will sit around and gossip with people just creating unwholesome verbal karma. Family is unfortunately an attachment that leads people away from liberation. A lot of friendships are likewise for entertainment purposes and prompt people towards unwholesome deeds.

That being said, there is no cause for becoming a miserable character, or stone cold for that matter. The Buddha is on record grinning here and there. One of the qualities that arises from detachment is subtle joy and even humour. The vicissitudes of human emotion are avoided and as such a kind of stoic ease can be attained.



Quote:
Isn't detachment another way of talking about "equanimity"? Is the idea not to be "emotionless" but to prefer no one emotion over another?


Detachment is the process, equanimity is the result. Emotions which are brought about due to unwholesome acts or desires, such as anger or even hysteric happiness, should be severed. I think good emotions which naturally arise as a result of morality, meditative concentration and insight are inevitable. This is one of the good fruits of proper practice: being more chilled out than before. You in effect suffer less and people around you likewise enjoy your peace of mind. Your lack of neurotic behaviour will not spark similar behaviour in others. In other words life gets that much more easier.


I cannot begin to tell you how much insight i have found in your postings. From the bottom of my heart: Thank you for what you are doing :anjali:


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:44 pm 
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Detachment means you still feel things, but you don't cling to and crave them. Which is why people who have mastered detachment are happy.

Kind of like The Dude from the Big Lebowski, or "this too shall past". Except more powerful and in depth.

You enjoy your car and then it gets stolen and you never see it again. Your reaction is to buy another car.

You enjoyed the car, but you didn't cling to it.

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Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:13 pm 
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Western psychology is of limited utility and is irrelevant to the Buddhist project. I say that with sincerity, too. Western psychology with a few exceptions should be largely rejected.


I'm quite surprised to read this...seems like a terribly sweeping statement. I'm also surprised (and a little worried) that it's gone unchallenged thus far. The Catholic church used to have a similar attitude regarding psychology, though I think that's changing.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:08 pm 
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viniketa wrote:
When reading sutras and other Buddhist writings, we learn about being detached from things, people, events, etc. as an antidote to attachment. It almost seems as if we are supposed to be emotionless robots. Sometimes, particularly early in our practice, we may practice "detachment" a little too diligently. Psychology has a name for this state of mind: Antisocial Personality Disorder.


Being 'non-attached' is distinctly different to being 'detached'.

As far as I see it, detachment leads to being a sociopath... non-attachment leads to being more compassionate and engaged.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:30 pm 
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Another way to view non-attachment is to consider that non-attachment happens when we learn to let go. Its not that we are "trying" to do some "thing" called "non attachment". Rather, we learn the art of letting go. In this way we are not rejecting anything, not pushing anything away, and we can allow a full range of experiences and emotions to arise without grasping.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:58 am 
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Detachment means that you realize that you are not a victim or spectator of your emotions, emoting is something you have chosen to do. Since they are your choice, you can equally well chose not to. And with that, comes detachment. It's not being blank or being robotic. It's being free.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:06 am 
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Detach,... is a buzzword that inaccurately describes the Buddha's teachings.

Buddha didn't teach people to just stop caring about everything.

Buddha Shakyamuni taught people to pay attention to what matters: the causes of suffering and putting an end to suffering.

"just be detached" lol
"just stop caring" lol
"just be" lol
"just clear your mind of everything" lol

So many silly instructions conjured up by so called Buddhist teachers in the West.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:26 am 
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Nisargadatta: Detach yourself from all that makes your mind restless. Renounce all that disturbs its peace. If you want peace, deserve it.

Q: Surely everybody deserves peace

N: Those only deserve it, who don't disturb it.

Q: In what way do I disturb peace?

N: By being a slave to your desires and fears.

Q: Even when they are justified?

N: Emotional reactions, born of ignorance or inadvertance, are never justified.

Seek a clear mind and a clean heart. All you need is to keep quietly alert, inquiring into the real nature of yourself. This is the only way to peace.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:53 am 
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haha, that's a good example of a incomplete "sweep it under the rug and fo' get a 'bout it" teaching greentara.

Just detach yourself from food, that will work until you get hungry again.
Just detach yourself from going to the bathroom, that will work until you need to go to the bathroom again.
Just detach yourself from sensual pleasures, that will work until you're desperate for them again.
Just detach yourself from ideas, that will work until you're desperate for verbal fabrication.
Just detach yourself from relationships, that will work until you're desperate for relationships.

Lol, it's like telling someone to jump into the air and detach yourself from gravity.
The desperation for fabricating ideas, perceptions, having experiences, relationships, identity, etc. doesn't go away just because you intend to, it's a tricky thing to put an end to permanently.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:25 am 
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I think this teaching is relevant to this particular thread. Here is a one paragraph excerpt:

Quote:
This is a teaching on a Tibetan word: shenpa. The usual translation of the word shenpa is attachment. If you were to look it up in a Tibetan dictionary, you would find that the definition was attachment. But the word "attachment" absolutely doesn't get at what it is. Dzigar Kongtrul said not to use that translation because it's incomplete, and it doesn't touch the magnitude of shenpa and the effect that it has on us.


THE SHENPA SYNDROME

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