Accepting Attachments/Household Life

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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby Zealot » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:51 am

Thank you for the overwhelming amount of replies! I am touched :)

At this point in my life what I have set forth for me is time for self-betterment (also don't have kids). Meaning that the only obligation I have to anyone and myself is doing better. I do meditate anywhere from 10 minutes to 2-3 hours each day, it fluctuates widely, but I seem unable to stay away from defilement because when I do I feel so disconnected from my community I cannot maintain happiness or compassion. So I get sucked back in to the luxurious life.

I do know that Im not truly leaving anything behind; I simply want a new perspective, and a community that will help with my peace of mind; integrating these ideals without a master here and now, Im struggling greatly with. I am only dramatic because Im on the verge of major change but the grasping still remains and I keep beating myself up for taking what I dont need. In the here and now, I will work on that. Just as I am working on shedding my possessions and keeping a regular practice routine.

I live in Colorado, and I believe I have found a good place to 'retreat' to. Or rather a Dharma center to live and work at: The Garchen Institute in AZ. They have a live/work program that I am thinking heavily on joining. The time period would be anywhere from 30-90 days

I am very stingy with what I read; Currently Im reading a mindfulness of breath book for monks and the dammapada... and also a book about connecting with people (pleasure reading). Perhaps I should be more stingy in my overall actions, too, greentara. It does seem like that's where Im getting into trouble. Thank you :D

In my quest to simplify things I have begun shedding unnecessary possessions, I have attempted to quit smoking and watching TV, but those have not yet happened. I am beginning to disassemble my business and plan to shut it down when I finally get everything cleared out. I have started selling my collections and giving away my trinkets, but I must do so more ardently or I will have things for some time. Truthfully, I am not very attached to most of it; it seems like it's weighing me down these days more than anything. Eating is tricky for me because of the necessity and the ease at which it transforms into indulgence. So Ive been cutting that back, too.

Thank for again for all of your support! The compassion is very heartfelt and I try to give each and every word everyone posts weight.

:namaste:
"My life for Aiur!" - Protoss Zealot
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby PorkChop » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:55 am

Sounds like you got a plan.
Good luck! :twothumbsup:
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:55 pm

Don't know what you should or shouldn't do.

If what some teachers say is true though, and the entrance to nirvana is found in samsara, then the household life presents with plenty of doorways, but arguably more things that make it hard to walk through them.

Also i've heard it said that "sorrow is a guru", if this is so..then a life full of attachment is sure to be a place with plenty of it, and plenty of opportunities. Personally it was my busy, chaotic, constantly changing life that has oddly enough, brought me into desire for deeper Buddhist practice...maybe I don't stand the same chance of true release as a renunciate does, but I am determined to walk the path as far as I can.


Good luck!
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby wisdom » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:24 pm

Zealot wrote:I am struggling. I see two paths in front of me: One where I relinquish all my possessions, take up the robe and bowl, and find a master to teach me or a forest to live in. The other is the life Im living now, the household life. Though a few books Ive read talk briefly of this lifestyle, mostly I've come to understand that the edge here is sharper and the path more difficult.

Well, I've certainly ran out of clarity. How does one live the household life? How can I own things yet remain unattached to them? How do I enjoy the company of my family when their enjoyment is intoxication and sloth? Maybe Im being melodramatic. My family likes to sit down and watch TV at the end of the day. There are cigarette smokers, coffee drinkers, and cannabis tokers. We eat throughout the day. The more I think about it, the more household life seems to be an intoxicant: once the work is done, enjoy the spoils. Do I accept these pointless pleasures while trying to maintain mindfulness? It seems to reject them is to reject my family and house.

Confused and curious,
Zealot


This is how most people live. They spend all their time distracting themselves and intoxicating themselves. This is the norm of our society. Follow your heart and conscience, but don't let anyone hold you back from whatever choices you make. You are a free, sovereign individual. If you need to leave the life you live in order to attain realization, then do so if thats whats right for you. Maybe start slow and just retreat for a week, see how it effects you and changes you. Then you can decide if you want to go for a month, three months, three years, and so forth. The gradual and steady approach is almost always the best approach in my opinion.
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:57 pm

Thought it might be worth adding this bit from S. Dhammika's Buddhism a to z site:

http://www.buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=179

A great quote from it:

"For some people the biggest hurdle to spiritual growth is not that they are unable to become a monk or nun but their conviction that they cannot grow spiritually unless they become a monk or a nun; an attitude which prevents them from even trying to practise the Dhamma more fully."

Not trying to sway you one way or another, but particularly if you are young, and relatively inexperienced with anything other than "household life", it might be a mistake to assume that formally leaving that life will automatically get rid of the things you cling to.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby Zealot » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:26 am

Johnny, don't worry; I'm not running away. I know my attachments will follow me; I just hope that they will be a little more apparent and easy to work with somewhere else :D

Wisdom, thank you for the words of caution. I shall tread carefully on my new path.

PorkChop, thanks for the encouragement and enthusiasm! It makes me do this: :D

Also, I have just submitted my application to The Garchen Institute of AZ for a 1-3 month work study job. Wish me luck, everyone!
"My life for Aiur!" - Protoss Zealot
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby Namgyal » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:49 am

Dear Zealot, you might find this article useful...
http://imisangha.org/digitalmedia/artic ... ddha-relax
:namaste: R.
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby Zealot » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:26 am

Thank you Raksha, I always enjoy messages from HH.I am working my Vinaya practices and today have kept the five precepts :).

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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby StuartM » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:37 am

With all due respect to Nagarjuna; one of my heroes, it's obvious he never had a family.
I, my wife, or my kid(s) could be dead tomorrow and I would not regret one minute I spend/spent with them.

Nicely put porkchop. I feel very much the same about my own family and friends. The older I get, the less I'm impressed with the way renunciation is articulated in some quarters. Life and everything in it is indeed fleeting. It contains much pain, but also many joys.
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby soma.plus » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:10 pm

I have struggled with this idea as well, so I really appreciate this thread.

I do have a family (a wife and two kids), and I am in the same place as many of you. I see this life I am living as an important way to further my practice. I've heard it said that, "Nirvana is happening right now all around us." So since nirvana is not a magical place we are transported to once we achieve enlightenment, I feel, for me at least, I need to realize the true nature of the world around me to help me progress on the path. I would also like to help my family in their journeys, as well.

That being said, I think a plan like the one you have come up with, sounds good. I do think intense focus on learning how others see the Dharma can be a great help. I still have a ton of questions, and if I didn't have others depending on me, I would like to set out to try to find some answers, too.
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby muni » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:34 pm

tomamundsen wrote:[I don't think anyone would recommend TV over dharma practice. But if you do decide to vege out with the family, you can still practice internally while doing that.


Yes. Practice to remain aware and not get caught in our phenomenal drama/movie* production of daily life, if not what can be percieved is much better quality drama than the drama on a little tv screen, sigh!

Staring focussed to a little soap, not aware of the huge created one, caught in distraction (samsara). Easy to say.

Practice you said, thanks! :thanks:

* I saw this proverb: "It is your mind that creates this world."

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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby tattoogunman » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:51 am

soma.plus wrote:I have struggled with this idea as well, so I really appreciate this thread.

I do have a family (a wife and two kids), and I am in the same place as many of you. I see this life I am living as an important way to further my practice. I've heard it said that, "Nirvana is happening right now all around us." So since nirvana is not a magical place we are transported to once we achieve enlightenment, I feel, for me at least, I need to realize the true nature of the world around me to help me progress on the path. I would also like to help my family in their journeys, as well.

That being said, I think a plan like the one you have come up with, sounds good. I do think intense focus on learning how others see the Dharma can be a great help. I still have a ton of questions, and if I didn't have others depending on me, I would like to set out to try to find some answers, too.


I'm in the same boat and also have a wife with two kids (6 & 8). I've also just really started to get serious with my Buddhist studies. My family would not be able to survive without me (wife is in school full time and takes care of the kids) because if I left, they would have no income, etc. My leaving to pursue an isolationist style existence would place them into suffering which is a not acceptable under Buddhist teachings (as I understand it). That would also have a negative connotation on my karma. I've also been wondering about how someone is supposed to be able to obtain enlightenment with the trappings of modern day society (I live in the U.S., not that it matters too much). I have to go to work to earn money, we have to buy food to eat, clothes, etc. I don't think that places me into a covetous place as they are basic necessities to survive. I do not make a lot of money, so we don't live in the lap of luxury or anything. Sure, we have a computer and a TV, that's about it (besides furniture). I've been struggling with the minimalist mindset with regards household life (our house is really minimalist compared to most anyway). We don't necessarily *need* a TV, but I don't really see a problem having it either - it's something that the kids can watch a movie on, can enjoy a movie with my family, etc. Since I don't really watch a lot of TV, I don't have an overwhelming desire/want for it - it's just there. We don't necessarily *need* a fridge, but it's convenient to have. I don't *have* to own a car, but it makes getting the kids to school, shopping, getting to work, easier than trying to take the bus or something like that. I don't really think the intention of the Buddha was for everyone to walk around in a loincloth sleeping in the dirt (I could be wrong) begging for food. It's a way to go absolutely, but it's not the only way. I can be a good person, meditate, try to good deeds, etc. without living in a cave and abandoning my family (like Buddha did - but I'm sure they were taken care of). I might be missing the point, that's why I'm trying to understand some of the fundamental basics. I'm already practicing trying to get wants out of my head when one pops up, question the necessity of something, etc. Again, I'm broke and I can't really buy stuff anyway - so it makes it pretty easy :smile:
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby freefromsamsara » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:39 am

Why are most spiritual seekers alone on the path to Enlightenment and Liberation?

Because the karma of other unenlightened beings will present themselves as obstacles on seekers' paths especially your family, spouse and children which represent the rocks in a backpack while climbing a mountain.

One must throw away any and all unnecessary things on the path to self-liberation and freedom from samsara especially the throwing and severing of all relationships with your closest loved ones for it is the relationships with your closest loved ones, family, spouse and children which pulls one back into samsara - the cycle of rebirth and death.
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby tattoogunman » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:20 am

freefromsamsara wrote:Why are most spiritual seekers alone on the path to Enlightenment and Liberation?

Because the karma of other unenlightened beings will present themselves as obstacles on seekers' paths especially your family, spouse and children which represent the rocks in a backpack while climbing a mountain.

One must throw away any and all unnecessary things on the path to self-liberation and freedom from samsara especially the throwing and severing of all relationships with your closest loved ones for it is the relationships with your closest loved ones, family, spouse and children which pulls one back into samsara - the cycle of rebirth and death.


But how does that play into karma and even the Eightfold Path? If I were to wake up tomorrow morning and tell my wife and kids to get lost, that will cause suffering on all three of them (not to mention my six animals). I understand bad karma can be negated by doing good, but it still seems like abandoning ones family is a pretty bad thing to do.

With regards to the Eightfold Path, there is ethical conduct (Right Action) - wouldn't abandoning ones family be a wrong action and therefore not acting in a non-harmful manner?
The Eightfold Path also has Right Livelihood - if I'm working in a non-harmful livelihood which earns me money to support my family, is that wrong?

The path also allows for one to improve, meditate, etc. so it would seem that, in theory, you should be able to have a "normal" life and still do what you need to do. It would obviously be more difficult trying to unplug from everything with family nagging you, but I think it could be done and by it being that much more difficult, it just shows that you were able to overcome more than a normal person who would not have those interference's.
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby freefromsamsara » Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:10 am

"Ethical" or "Moral" conduct has nothing to do with realization of consciousness.
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:21 am

Start where you are. No need to work yourself into despair and turn practice into yet another "if only I do THIS then I can really ___ but I can't now." When you start introducing this kind of heavy-handed effort into practice, Buddhism will become just another thing to feel bad about and set aside at some point.

A side note, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was married. The two abbots of the Zen monastery in my home state here are married. Everything is the path. The trick is in developing the wisdom to use it as such. Until then, we sometimes have to rely on arranging external circumstances to help things along. However, I'm not sure abandoning your loved ones cold turkey is a one-size-fits-all solution.

Just relax and do your best :)
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:54 pm

freefromsamsara wrote:Why are most spiritual seekers alone on the path to Enlightenment and Liberation?

Because the karma of other unenlightened beings will present themselves as obstacles on seekers' paths especially your family, spouse and children which represent the rocks in a backpack while climbing a mountain.

One must throw away any and all unnecessary things on the path to self-liberation and freedom from samsara especially the throwing and severing of all relationships with your closest loved ones for it is the relationships with your closest loved ones, family, spouse and children which pulls one back into samsara - the cycle of rebirth and death.


The solution for this is cultivating altruism and equanimity, not unnecessary severing of relationships, especially when doing so would cause undeniable suffering to the people involved. If your spouse and children are rocks in your backpack they will not stop being rocks by your leaving them, attachment cannot be severed just by physically leaving someone.

The results of someone leaving a family economically and emotionally dependent on them are very different than the results of say, a 20 year old leaving his parents or something similar.

Cue the misuse of the Buddha leaving on his quest to justify ethically irresponsible actions by modern folks ..........now :twothumbsup:

freefromsamsara wrote:"Ethical" or "Moral" conduct has nothing to do with realization of consciousness.


Wisdom should be informed by compassion, not in opposition to it.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby freefromsamsara » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:51 am

It is the duty and responsibility of those unenlightened ones who wish to remain in samsara to suffer for the enlightened ones who wish to remove themselves from samsara.
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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby kirtu » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:21 pm

Huseng wrote:As Nāgārjuna said, ...


Are these from the Ratnavali?

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Re: Accepting Attachments/Household Life

Postby StuartM » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:15 pm

freefromsamsara wrote:It is the duty and responsibility of those unenlightened ones who wish to remain in samsara to suffer for the enlightened ones who wish to remove themselves from samsara.


What a horrible spiritual vision.
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