Can you be care free?

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Can you be care free?

Postby oushi » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:28 am

It appears to me that people cannot allot themselves to be care free. It's simply not an option in modern society. We have to care for everything that we rely upon, and at least care for something.
If we look closely on what care is, we will see that it is combination of fear and hope. Very unpleasant combination, which is self-inflicted. We force ourselves to care for someone, or something. How can there be liberation from suffering, if we do not allow it?
I went through few suttas to see if being carefree is something positive or negative, and there is no doubt that being carefree is the goal:

Ariyapariyesana Sutta: The Noble Search
"Then again the monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters & remains in the cessation of perception & feeling. And, having seen [that] with discernment, his mental fermentations are completely ended. This monk is said to have blinded Mara. Trackless, he has destroyed Mara's vision and has become invisible to the Evil One. Having crossed over, he is unattached in the world. Carefree he walks, carefree he stands, carefree he sits, carefree he lies down. Why is that? Because he has gone beyond the Evil One's range."

Nagavagga: The Elephant
Live alone and do no evil; be carefree like an elephant in the elephant forest.

Dhp XXVI Brahmanavagga: Brahmans
One whose beyond or
not-beyond or
beyond-&-not-beyond
can't be found;
unshackled, carefree:
he's what I call
a brahman.

Still, there is something tricky here. Maybe it is a matter of translation, or subtle meaning, because being careless is seen as negative:

Sn 2.10 Utthana Sutta: On Vigilance
"Rouse yourself! Sit up! Resolutely train yourself to attain peace. Do not let the king of death, seeing you are careless, lead you astray and dominate you.

SN 16.2 Anottaapi Sutta: Carelessness
Thus it is, friend, that by arousing ardor and taking care one is able to gain enlightenment, to gain Nibbaana, to gain relief from bondage."


So, should we care, or shouldn't we?

Quotes from sutras will be most welcome.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby seeker242 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:00 pm

So, should we care, or shouldn't we?


I think it depends on what you are caring about or not caring about. If you are so carefree that you always step over homeless people instead of helping them and don't care that they have no food to eat, if you don't care that they are suffering, then I would say you are doing it wrong!
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby Ayu » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:37 pm

I thought, "Take care!" is a very positive farewell.
One has to find the middle way to walk on carefully and careless. :smile:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby Hickersonia » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:47 pm

I suppose this might boil down to understanding what you mean by carefree.

Am I carefree in that I just don't give a flying flip? No... I do have a family and have to provide for them as well as I can.

But do I let all of the little things in life freak me out? Absolutely not. At work I often tell people that they should breathe a little because we're "not savings lives here, we're just shipping clothes."

So maybe I'm not particularly carefree by one person's estimation, but by another's I might look like I don't care about much of anything because I "don't even care about work."

It is an interesting thing to contemplate; how these sorts of things can be so wildly different all based on one's perception.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby Ayu » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:56 pm

In German we would distinguish between the terms 'to be careless' and 'to be carefree'.
Really free of worries one can only be, if he cares for the things in a proper way.
Even a bikkhu has to care for his affairs and for his brothers.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby oushi » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:43 pm

Hickersonia wrote:Am I carefree in that I just don't give a flying flip? No... I do have a family and have to provide for them as well as I can.

That's what I'm talking about. Care will always create suffering, as it is fear and hope combined, and because we cannot allow ourselves to be carefree, we suffer. This suffering is self-inflicted. Did Buddha care for his family? Not really. Did he care about homeless? Not really, he was one of them. Did he care about his food? Not really.

We have a vicious circle.

The only way out of this dilemma that I can think of is allowing carelessness. Risky move, you can say, but what is the difference between being free of cares, and always caring? Free person is driven by love, caring one is pushed by fear. Does being carefree totally destroy ones life? I wouldn't say that. What's important, creativity increases significantly. The trade of is control for creativity. Stability for spontaneity.

Nevertheless, Buddha was clear about being carefree, and it is clear that care is self-inflicted. Enlightenment is lurking around the corner, we just purposefully don't let it come to us.

The difference between being careless and carefree is probably related with the use of those words. Carelessness is associated with the lack of attentions in the present moment. Not aware that we are bound by cares. Being carefree is being aware, but free, unmoved by cares.

This is a very interesting topic, and very potent.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby Matt J » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:08 pm

I think this is a common misperception--- detachment instead of non-attachment. Dharma practice for me involves an opening of the heart, so that you care more and not less. There is a mind of compassion that must be cultivated. This can be hard for intellectuals, but I find it is a necessary part of the path.

One can fully care and be non-attached. The problem is attachment, not caring. The cure is an open, compassionate mind full of love, not to detach from the world.


oushi wrote:
Hickersonia wrote:Am I carefree in that I just don't give a flying flip? No... I do have a family and have to provide for them as well as I can.

That's what I'm talking about. Care will always create suffering, as it is fear and hope combined, and because we cannot allow ourselves to be carefree, we suffer. This suffering is self-inflicted. Did Buddha care for his family? Not really. Did he care about homeless? Not really, he was one of them. Did he care about his food? Not really.

We have a vicious circle.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby oushi » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:10 pm

Matt J wrote:One can fully care and be non-attached.

And how would you define "care"? What is it?
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:44 pm

I was once based in a unit for people with personality disorders during my psych training.
They were genuinely care free. In every sense. Not exactly Buddhist role models though. :?
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby Kunga Lhadzom » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:14 pm

I think when Buddha talks about being carefree....it's going into homelessness...not being bound by societies norms and conventions .
He left home so he could pursue his search for the truth...which was more important than raising a family and worldly affairs...which would of sucked up all his time and energy......

Being careless is the opposite of being heedful and mindful.
Buddha never taught to be careless.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby oushi » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:26 pm

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:I think when Buddha talks about being carefree....it's going into homelessness...not being bound by societies norms and conventions .
He left home so he could pursue his search for the truth...which was more important than raising a family and worldly affairs...which would of sucked up all his time and energy......

Being careless is the opposite of being heedful and mindful.
Buddha never taught to be careless.

Good points. We can see that the whole society is build on care. Care for job, family, future, behavior, environment, friends, home, food... Nothings seems to be a reward for being carefree. I think that society doesn't really like carefree people.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby seeker242 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:54 pm

oushi wrote:Did Buddha care for his family? Not really.


If he didn't, he would have not come back to teach them the dharma and help them get enlightenment. If he did not care about them, then why did he help them get enlightenment?

Did he care about homeless? Not really, he was one of them.


If he didn't he would not have taught them the dharma and help them get enlightenment.

Did he care about his food? Not really.


This is one I would agree with!

The idea that caring always = suffering is a fundamental misunderstanding, completely contrary to the Bodhisattva vow. Does Avalokiteshvara care for living beings? Of course! That is why he is called the Bodhisattva of compassion. Does Avalokiteshvara suffer because of this? He does not according the sutras. To insinuate that the Buddha did not care about other living beings is a fundamental misunderstanding. I don't know if that is what you are saying, but it seems like that is what you are saying.

The Buddha taught 4 divine abodes. Metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha. How can you have the first 3 without any caring at all? Caring for others does not necessarily mean craving and clinging for oneself.


From the Sakalika Sutta SN 4.13

Then Mara the Evil One went to the Blessed One and recited this verse in his presence:

Are you lying there in a stupor, or drunk on poetry? Are your goals so very few? All alone in a secluded lodging, what is this dreamer, this sleepy-face?

[The Buddha:]
I lie here, not in a stupor, nor drunk on poetry. My goal attained, I am sorrow-free. All alone in a secluded lodging, I lie down with sympathy for all beings. Even those pierced in the chest with an arrow, their hearts rapidly, rapidly beating: even they with their arrows are able to sleep. So why shouldn't I, with my arrow removed? I'm not awake with worry, nor afraid to sleep. Days & nights don't oppress me. I see no threat of decline in any world at all. That's why I sleep with sympathy for all beings.

Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, "The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me" — vanished right there.


So he is saying here he is completely free but at the same time has sympathy. Sympathy is a feeling of care or concern. If caring always equaled suffering, then it would be impossible to have Sympathy because that would make the two mutually exclusive.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby oushi » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:17 pm

Don't mistake compassion with care/concern/worry. Those are different phenomena. As I said before, care is based on fear and expectations and you cannot find those in compassion, as it is unconditioned. Still, care may be sometimes used interchangeably with compassion.
Now your doubts about Avalokiteshvara and Buddha sympathy should be gone. That is also why he taught Dharma. Out of compassion. If he would be worried about beings, he would suffer.
The problem may lie in the meaning of word "care", as it can take two opposite meanings. Compassion vs fear/doubt/anxiety. Very deceptive. Compassion comes from the heart, and care comes from the intellect. If we observe the mind in this context, we can see that every thought is driven by care. To prevent the negative consequences in future, we think about how to prevent them, and we store all those antidotes. We do it out of care for ourselves and for others. It is a golden chain, because it looks rightly, but there should be no doubt that it creates suffering.

PS. dictionary definition of the word "care" may shed some light:

1.a state of mind in which one is troubled; worry, anxiety, or concern: He was never free from care.
2.a cause or object of worry, anxiety, concern, etc.: Their son has always been a great care to them.
3.serious attention; solicitude; heed; caution: She devotes great care to her work.
4.protection; charge: He is under the care of a doctor.
5.temporary keeping, as for the benefit of or until claimed by the owner: He left his valuables in the care of friends. Address my mail in care of the American Embassy.
6.grief; suffering; sorrow.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby seeker242 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:36 pm

Seems more like semantics than anything else. If "caring" mean clinging to 5 skhandras, then of course the Buddha taught to let that go. But if "caring" means "sympathy", even a Tagathata still has that. I personally don't equate care with only worry. To care can also mean "to help". Seems more like semantics than anything else. But of course, if "to care" means "to worry" and only that. It would be better to stop caring!

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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby LastLegend » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:57 am

oushi wrote:Being carefree is being aware, but free, unmoved by cares.


Can you point out what being aware means?
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby oushi » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:28 am

I think that compassion can be distinguished from care through timing. If it is targeting future, then it is care, if it's in the present, it is a compassion.
LastLegend wrote:
oushi wrote:Being carefree is being aware, but free, unmoved by cares.


Can you point out what being aware means?

Being carefree should reveal it.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby Nothing » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:55 am

oushi wrote:Don't mistake compassion with care/concern/worry. Those are different phenomena. As I said before, care is based on fear and expectations and you cannot find those in compassion, as it is unconditioned.

Yes, they are different. The difference is one who acts with a self (I)(the great majority) and the other is selfless. The selfless one is that of compassion.....which is unconditioned.....not expecting anything in return. Those which has an "I" can care too but will expect something in return. A good example would be those who donate and are known for doing so yet those without the "I" will donate without being known.

Matt J wrote:One can fully care and be non-attached. The problem is attachment

The attachment comes from the self (I) whereas non-attachment is that of the selfless.....only they can do this. But they will do things with wisdom rather than intellect.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby oushi » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:17 pm

Yes.
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby LastLegend » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:01 pm

oushi wrote:I think that compassion can be distinguished from care through timing. If it is targeting future, then it is care, if it's in the present, it is a compassion.
LastLegend wrote:
oushi wrote:Being carefree is being aware, but free, unmoved by cares.


Can you point out what being aware means?

Being carefree should reveal it.


Is being carefree a thought?
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Re: Can you be care free?

Postby oushi » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:15 pm

LastLegend wrote:Is being carefree a thought?

Yes also, but I was not talking about being a thought. Rather a state in which one is free from cares. And as we voluntarily stir up cares, we can voluntarily be carefree, by simply allowing it. Worth trying, even for a minute.
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