Non-attachment in Buddhism

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BlackCircle
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Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by BlackCircle »

In my last thread I meant to get to this part.

But I don't understand non-attachment as buddhism seems to suggest when it comes to being in the world. It sounds like we aren't supposed to like anything or dislike it and then to proceed to live life in some gray manner. If I love my family that is attachment, if I love a certain field of study then that is attachment, in short from what I read it made it sound like everything was wrong and that one should not strive for any of these things or want anything in life (since desire is a source of suffering). Needless to say this led to a deep depression where my performance in school tanked. I went to a center and tried to ask a monk about it but he didn't give me an answer, just said I was too young. I've tried to e-mail various teachers but they don't get back to me.

I can honestly say that reading about it led to one of my darkest periods in life and only somewhat recently have I been able to leave it. But I don't see how anyone but monks can follow that.
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Aemilius
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Aemilius »

Buddhism says that there are also positive desires, desires to do things that are positive. It is called Dharma-Chanda, (Chanda is desire).

Desire ( Chanda) is one of the four bases of psychic power.

For instance, in the "Concentration due to Desire" discourse (Chandasamādhi Sutta, SN 51.13), it states:

"Bhikkhus, if a bhikhu gains concentration, gains one-pointedness of mind based upon desire, this is called concentration due to desire.
He generates desire for the nonarising of unarisen evil unwholesome states; he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates desire for the abandoning of arisen evil unwholesome states ... for the arising of unarisen wholesome states ... for the maintenance of arisen wholesome states ...; he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind and strives. These are called volitional formations of striving."


The four bases of such power are concentration (samādhi) on:

Intention or purpose or desire or zeal (chanda)
Effort or energy or will (viriya)
Consciousness or mind or thoughts (citta)
Investigation or discrimination (vīmaṃsā)
Last edited by Aemilius on Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
BlackCircle
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by BlackCircle »

I mean that's all well and good but I don't know how they square that with non-attachment. Seems like it's reserved strictly for monks.
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Genjo Conan »

BlackCircle wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:02 am I mean that's all well and good but I don't know how they square that with non-attachment. Seems like it's reserved strictly for monks.
Chanda (interest/desire to act), mentioned above, is distinct from tanha (thirst/clinging). Tanha always manifests as suffering whereas chanda doesn't necessarily. It is generally considered wholesome to desire to do wholesome things, e.g., to arouse bodhicitta, or to cultivate generosity.
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Queequeg
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Queequeg »

BlackCircle wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:56 pm In my last thread I meant to get to this part.

But I don't understand non-attachment as buddhism seems to suggest when it comes to being in the world. It sounds like we aren't supposed to like anything or dislike it and then to proceed to live life in some gray manner. If I love my family that is attachment, if I love a certain field of study then that is attachment, in short from what I read it made it sound like everything was wrong and that one should not strive for any of these things or want anything in life (since desire is a source of suffering). Needless to say this led to a deep depression where my performance in school tanked. I went to a center and tried to ask a monk about it but he didn't give me an answer, just said I was too young. I've tried to e-mail various teachers but they don't get back to me.

I can honestly say that reading about it led to one of my darkest periods in life and only somewhat recently have I been able to leave it. But I don't see how anyone but monks can follow that.
First observation... a lot of "should" in that statement.

Buddhism doesn't "should". Rather, it states certain basic truths: what is born, dies; Change is unavoidable; Life is suffering; etc. There are no commandments. There is, "this is how it is." Buddhism invites you to examine these statements and ascertain their truth for yourself. One of those statements is that being attached to things, or having aversion for things, which is really a form of attachment, causes one to suffer. So, no one is saying that you should or should not do anything. But attachment leads to suffering.

I don't know what sort of experience you went through. A lot of us go through an existential crisis when some things about life start to dawn on us. A lot of us have a profound experience when we finally see our mortality. Talk about attachment - attachment to life is the deepest attachment living things have. Really understanding that we will die is disturbing. This sort of malaise that comes with the confrontation with inescapable truths is called samvega and its what the Buddha went through before he set out for enlightenment. The Buddha was the first emo youth who got fed up and shaved his head.

I have not by any stretch mastered non-attachment. But the insights Buddhism has given me help me to handle the pain when things I am attached to don't go as I wish. It inoculates me to an extent against the suffering that inevitably follows attachment. It gives me the insight to know that the pain is as ephemeral as the joy I previously experienced and lost. That's how non-attachment is actually lived as I've observed. Things come, things go. The people we love leave and die. The things we cherish get worn out, break. Our bodies go. Over the years, Buddhism has helped me to handle the changes that inevitably come when I put myself out there with my heart on my sleeve. Knowing things change makes handling change easier.

The truths that Buddhism presents are meant to free you, though maybe not in the way you think freedom should be.

"Whilst I had such power and good fortune, yet I thought: `When an untaught ordinary man, who is subject to ageing, not safe from ageing, sees another who is aged, he is shocked, humiliated and disgusted; for he forgets that he himself is no exception. But I too am subject to ageing, not safe from ageing, and so it cannot befit me to be shocked, humiliated and disgusted on seeing another who is aged.' When I considered this, the vanity of youth entirely left me."..

"I thought: `When an untaught ordinary man, who is subject to sickness, not safe from sickness, sees another who is sick, he is shocked, humiliated and disgusted; for he forgets that he himself is no exception. But I too am subject to sickness, not safe from sickness, and so it cannot befit me to be shocked, humiliated and disgusted on seeing another who is sick.' When I considered this, the vanity of health entirely left me."

"I thought: `When an untaught ordinary man, who is subject to death, not safe from death, sees another who is dead, he is shocked, humiliated and disgusted, for he forgets that he himself is no exception. But I too am subject to death, not safe from death, and so it cannot befit me to be shocked, humiliated and disgusted on seeing another who is dead.' When I considered this, the vanity of life entirely left me."
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Aemilius
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Aemilius »

BlackCircle wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:56 pm In my last thread I meant to get to this part.

But I don't understand non-attachment as buddhism seems to suggest when it comes to being in the world. It sounds like we aren't supposed to like anything or dislike it and then to proceed to live life in some gray manner. If I love my family that is attachment, if I love a certain field of study then that is attachment, in short from what I read it made it sound like everything was wrong and that one should not strive for any of these things or want anything in life (since desire is a source of suffering). Needless to say this led to a deep depression where my performance in school tanked. I went to a center and tried to ask a monk about it but he didn't give me an answer, just said I was too young. I've tried to e-mail various teachers but they don't get back to me.

I can honestly say that reading about it led to one of my darkest periods in life and only somewhat recently have I been able to leave it. But I don't see how anyone but monks can follow that.
In China, not so long ago, people could buy to their father a wooden coffin as his 60 years birthday present. It was considered a normal and respectable thing to do. It was definitely in line with the important chinese virtue of filial piety. It was an expression of love to their father and at the same time an expression of nonattachment. Most likely this is not true anymore in China, because of the influence of european culture. Do you see the point?
It should be possible for nonmonks to have simultaneous love and nonattachment.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Astus
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Astus »

'The happiness aspired to by most people is future happiness; it is a state of happiness wished for in the future. Moreover, it is dependent on other things. Yet when people develop a wise discernment into the truth, an innate and constant form of happiness arises—a happiness existing at all times, which is accessible in every moment. It lies at the heart of our being, pervading our entire life.
Here, one need not pursue any other kind of happiness. If other forms of happiness or pleasure present themselves, they are seen as a bonus, and one has the option to partake of them or not, without anxiety, in whatever way one pleases. There are no complications. And when these supplementary forms of happiness are absent, it has no effect on one’s wellbeing. One already abides in a state of constant happiness.'

(Perfect Happiness by Phrayudh Payutto, p 23)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Crazywisdom
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Crazywisdom »

Do what is good.

Leave what is evil.


Purify the mind.

This is the teaching of the Buddha

Not objectifying and lacking scheme or artífice might be better words for you.

Do what is wholesome and healthy and peaceful.
BlackCircle
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by BlackCircle »

I mean death doesn't bother me that much, I was a child who's dream was to witness the end of the world. I know the some day I will die, though the prospect fills me with both fear and relief (I guess because it means I don't have to LIVE anymore).

But I just think Buddhism is giving me mixed messages about attachment, especially value: https://www.lionsroar.com/do-dishes-rak ... arch-2010/
Nothing is worth the measure we give it, because worth doesn’t really exist. It is a figment of our judging minds, an imaginary yardstick to measure the imaginary value of imaginary distinctions, and one more way we withhold ourselves from the whole enchilada of life that lies before us.

If nothing is worth it, why cook? Why shop and chop, boil and toil and clean up after? To engage yourself in the marvel of your own being. To see the priceless in the worthless. To find complete fulfillment in being unfilled. And to eat something other than your own inflated self-importance. That’s what we empty when we empty the bowl, and a busy kitchen gives us the chance to empty ourselves many times a day.
In the same breath it seems like attachment and non attachment follows. So I don't get it. Nothing has value but things are priceless? How can Buddhism practice compassion (which from what I see is attached to an outcome) and not being attached to outcomes?
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Aemilius
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Aemilius »

BlackCircle wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:28 am I mean death doesn't bother me that much, I was a child who's dream was to witness the end of the world. I know the some day I will die, though the prospect fills me with both fear and relief (I guess because it means I don't have to LIVE anymore).

But I just think Buddhism is giving me mixed messages about attachment, especially value: https://www.lionsroar.com/do-dishes-rak ... arch-2010/
Nothing is worth the measure we give it, because worth doesn’t really exist. It is a figment of our judging minds, an imaginary yardstick to measure the imaginary value of imaginary distinctions, and one more way we withhold ourselves from the whole enchilada of life that lies before us.

If nothing is worth it, why cook? Why shop and chop, boil and toil and clean up after? To engage yourself in the marvel of your own being. To see the priceless in the worthless. To find complete fulfillment in being unfilled. And to eat something other than your own inflated self-importance. That’s what we empty when we empty the bowl, and a busy kitchen gives us the chance to empty ourselves many times a day.
In the same breath it seems like attachment and non attachment follows. So I don't get it. Nothing has value but things are priceless? How can Buddhism practice compassion (which from what I see is attached to an outcome) and not being attached to outcomes?
What is the difficulty? Your new house gets old and needs repair. Your new car gets old and needs repairing. Same with everything you own... It happens whether you are attached or not.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Matt J
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Matt J »

I think you're mixing up non-attachment with detachment. Detachment means you don't feel anything for anything. But that is not the Buddhist way at all--- that is emotional nihilism. Non-attachment means you don't grasp and cling. You can love your family and enjoy a nice Sunday drive without grasping and clinging. In fact, it is easier to love them and enjoy the Sunday drive if you DON'T grasp and cling.
BlackCircle wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:56 pm In my last thread I meant to get to this part.

But I don't understand non-attachment as buddhism seems to suggest when it comes to being in the world. It sounds like we aren't supposed to like anything or dislike it and then to proceed to live life in some gray manner. If I love my family that is attachment, if I love a certain field of study then that is attachment, in short from what I read it made it sound like everything was wrong and that one should not strive for any of these things or want anything in life (since desire is a source of suffering). Needless to say this led to a deep depression where my performance in school tanked. I went to a center and tried to ask a monk about it but he didn't give me an answer, just said I was too young. I've tried to e-mail various teachers but they don't get back to me.

I can honestly say that reading about it led to one of my darkest periods in life and only somewhat recently have I been able to leave it. But I don't see how anyone but monks can follow that.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
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Queequeg
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Queequeg »

Matt J wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:22 pm I think you're mixing up non-attachment with detachment.
:good:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Grigoris
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Grigoris »

My recommendation is you take a few steps back and focus on a deeper understanding of the Four Noble Truths.

If you do that, this issue will resolve itself.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

What the buddha taught was that all composite phenomena are unsatisfactory.
In plain language, this means that just as conditions bring things together the way we like them, when those conditions cease, what we like won’t be there any more, so we can’t depend on them as a source of lasting happiness or satisfaction. It doesn’t mean that a good sandwich won’t fill your belly for now. But when it’s all digested and pooped out, you will be hungry again.

Yo apply that to your examples: yes, a family is good, an education is good, having a job you like is good. But your education won’t bring you happiness if there is no work. Your work won’t bring you happiness if your family is sick. Having a family will feel like a load you must carry but can’t, if you have no job. The tastiest sandwich will not be delicious if your children are sick or dying, and so on.

In short, none of these things in themselves is a cause of happiness. Even the happiest moments with someone you love, if you lose that person and are in grief, those same cherished memories will stab you in the heart.

The only source of happiness is found within the mind itself.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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Sunrise
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Sunrise »

BlackCircle wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:56 pm
But I don't understand non-attachment as buddhism seems to suggest when it comes to being in the world. It sounds like we aren't supposed to like anything or dislike it and then to proceed to live life in some gray manner. If I love my family that is attachment, if I love a certain field of study then that is attachment, in short from what I read it made it sound like everything was wrong and that one should not strive for any of these things or want anything in life (since desire is a source of suffering). Needless to say this led to a deep depression where my performance in school tanked. I went to a center and tried to ask a monk about it but he didn't give me an answer, just said I was too young. I've tried to e-mail various teachers but they don't get back to me.

I can honestly say that reading about it led to one of my darkest periods in life and only somewhat recently have I been able to leave it. But I don't see how anyone but monks can follow that.
Of course you can love your family and field of study. It's just that we realize all conditioned things are ultimately unreliable. We can enjoy all sorts of things, but we know that those things aren't an ultimate refuge for us. We turn to the 3 Jewels for our refuge more and more over time.
BlackCircle
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by BlackCircle »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 7:38 pm What the buddha taught was that all composite phenomena are unsatisfactory.
In plain language, this means that just as conditions bring things together the way we like them, when those conditions cease, what we like won’t be there any more, so we can’t depend on them as a source of lasting happiness or satisfaction. It doesn’t mean that a good sandwich won’t fill your belly for now. But when it’s all digested and pooped out, you will be hungry again.

Yo apply that to your examples: yes, a family is good, an education is good, having a job you like is good. But your education won’t bring you happiness if there is no work. Your work won’t bring you happiness if your family is sick. Having a family will feel like a load you must carry but can’t, if you have no job. The tastiest sandwich will not be delicious if your children are sick or dying, and so on.

In short, none of these things in themselves is a cause of happiness. Even the happiest moments with someone you love, if you lose that person and are in grief, those same cherished memories will stab you in the heart.

The only source of happiness is found within the mind itself.
Well they don't. To me those moments bring my joy and happiness even if they are gone. When my dog died I was heartbroken, but eventually I moved on. Now those same memories fill me with a warmth and happiness that is also a little somber. Same with the sandwich, in my experience it didn't matter what was going on food that I liked was always delicious.

I'm not sure about the last line.
Matt J wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:22 pm I think you're mixing up non-attachment with detachment. Detachment means you don't feel anything for anything. But that is not the Buddhist way at all--- that is emotional nihilism. Non-attachment means you don't grasp and cling. You can love your family and enjoy a nice Sunday drive without grasping and clinging. In fact, it is easier to love them and enjoy the Sunday drive if you DON'T grasp and cling.
BlackCircle wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:56 pm In my last thread I meant to get to this part.

But I don't understand non-attachment as buddhism seems to suggest when it comes to being in the world. It sounds like we aren't supposed to like anything or dislike it and then to proceed to live life in some gray manner. If I love my family that is attachment, if I love a certain field of study then that is attachment, in short from what I read it made it sound like everything was wrong and that one should not strive for any of these things or want anything in life (since desire is a source of suffering). Needless to say this led to a deep depression where my performance in school tanked. I went to a center and tried to ask a monk about it but he didn't give me an answer, just said I was too young. I've tried to e-mail various teachers but they don't get back to me.

I can honestly say that reading about it led to one of my darkest periods in life and only somewhat recently have I been able to leave it. But I don't see how anyone but monks can follow that.
Based on what people on the thread are saying I can't say that I see the difference between the two. Whenever I tried non attachment it was harder to enjoy things because it didn't feel like there was any investment.
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

You can't "try non attachment" by reading a bit about Buddhism, developing some incorrect/partial ideas about it, and then continuing to circle around in your own thought process. You really have no idea what you are talking about with regard to the context of these teachings, and it shows. That's not meant to be degrading, it's a statement of the facts as near as I can ascertain them. You keep talking about "trying it", but it's pretty obvious you 1) don't really know about Buddhism enough to understand the context of the concepts, and 2) are fixated on how what little you read has affected you.

You have two choices there, either forget about Buddhism because it doesn't work for you, or give it another shot, realizing that your viewpoint on it is limited by your own significant ignorance of it's teachings. You could even contact a teacher to ask about this stuff.

You haven't actually "tried it" though, unless you've attempted to put Buddhist teachings to work in your life in some meaningful way, hopefully with the help of a teacher or spiritual friend. Non-attachment isn't really just a decision you make, but an unlearning of seriously ancient habits. You don't just wake up one day and 'try it', then decide whether it's for you or not.

If you haven't done that, you really have no business coming on a Buddhist forum (where many people have practiced this stuff for years and years) saying that you "tried non attachment" and talking about how the idea is wrong. I don't know about anyone else, but from my perspective it's fairly obvious you have very little experience of the practice or philosophy of Buddhism, you maybe read a bit about impermanence, then decide it depressed you.

Your experience is what it is, and I have no desire to convince you to practice Buddhism given your bad experience with it, I guess after reading about some stuff. However, I think it's dishonest to continue posting here about "how it affected you" when all you did was read an article, and when you appear to have little to no understanding of"Buddhism 101 concepts.

You can't create these endless threads about your "bad experience" with Buddhism where you continue to reject well-thought out and well-meaning posts from other users based on a very limited set of experience and ideas about Buddhist practice.
But I don't understand non-attachment as buddhism seems to suggest when it comes to being in the world. It sounds like we aren't supposed to like anything or dislike it and then to proceed to live life in some gray manner.
No, it means you shouldn't be invested in your likes in dislikes to the degree that you are. That you should be able to well, not attach to them such that you based your happiness on outcomes that tend to be out of your control anyway. This is a very basic sense, but a beginning. On the most basic level, it means flexibility in life, and being able to see value in outcomes (even in people!) that do not necessarily conform to your wishes and your desires.
Whenever I tried non attachment it was harder to enjoy things because it didn't feel like there was any investment.
Again it sounds like you did not try anything. You don't do just read about these concepts then *bam*, you get it and are not attached to things. You probably put yourself in a nihilistic mental state by going around contemplating death and impermanence with no idea what you were doing. I doubt this would come as a surprise to anyone here. Buddhism is a package deal, you need the intellectual understanding, the practice of meditation, the working with painful emotions, the practices based on cultivating wholesome states of mind, etc. You are not "trying non attachment" or practicing Buddhism simply by reading that you should be non-attached, and then somehow just trying it on your own.

Grigoris has a good suggestion, read and study the Four Noble Truths before worrying about this, that will tell you whether or not it's for you.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

BlackCircle wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:44 am To me those moments bring my joy and happiness even if they are gone. When my dog died I was heartbroken, but eventually I moved on. Now those same memories fill me with a warmth and happiness that is also a little somber. Same with the sandwich, in my experience it didn't matter what was going on food that I liked was always delicious.

I'm not sure about the last line.
You are expressing the very point I am making...
...without getting the point I am making.

Yes, our experience of the events of life are both joyous and sad. Even the very same event can be experienced as joy or sadness, and therefore the events themselves are not the source of joy or sadness, but rather it is our own mind which is the source of joy or sadness.

That is the buddha’s teaching, which is why he taught meditation and calming the mind, taught behaviors which lead to the calming of the mind and practices which develop insight into the mind itself.

I was replying to what you originally expressed:
I don't understand non-attachment as buddhism seems to suggest when it comes to being in the world. It sounds like we aren't supposed to like anything or dislike it and then to proceed to live life in some gray manner.

Buddha doesn’t say that you shouldn’t experience the events in life, or never like or dislike anything. You should, and you should experience them fully. But being attached to the experience of liking and disliking the changing events in life, thinking, “if I only had another dog” or, “if I only had a better job, a family, more money...” is seen as basically chasing after clouds, chasing after things that will not bring lasting satisfaction and thinking that they will. Why? Because the things themselves are not it.

The events themselves are not the sources of a peaceful mind. You can experience the joy of having a dog, but the dog itself isn’t the source of the joy. When the dog dies, you also feel sadness. The joy of having a dog, and the sadness of losing a dog, and the joy of remembering when you had a dog, and the sadness in recalling the day the dog died, all of these emotional experiences occur only within your own mind.

The point of Buddhism (in this context) is to develop the mind that is emotionally stable, to recognize the mind’s original state which is without turbulence. Since you thought it meant shutting down all emotions, and that in turn itself created yet another negative emotion, that merely shows that you did not understand the Buddhist teaching. But, even that came and went. That too was temporary.

So, where are you going with it from here?
Did you practice meditation before, or did you just decide to try to shut off all feelings?
Do you practice any type of meditation now?
...
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
BlackCircle
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by BlackCircle »

I have tried non attachment, and unlike as you said it led to just a gray area in my life and not much happiness or peace that Buddhism said would follow. This was after I began on it several years ago when I read about it and felt obligated to follow it. But the teachings and practice didn't apply to my daily life, the things the teacher said were truths weren't for me, and when it came to non attachment that is when I quit and it took many years of therapy to recover from it.

I don't know if the source of the feeling is the mind, since every time I see my dogs I love them and it brings me joy. They are a source of joy, it doesn't come from me. If it did then I would feel it whether they were around or not and I don't.
Buddha doesn’t say that you shouldn’t experience the events in life, or never like or dislike anything. You should, and you should experience them fully. But being attached to the experience of liking and disliking the changing events in life, thinking, “if I only had another dog” or, “if I only had a better job, a family, more money...” is seen as basically chasing after clouds, chasing after things that will not bring lasting satisfaction and thinking that they will. Why? Because the things themselves are not it.

The events themselves are not the sources of a peaceful mind. You can experience the joy of having a dog, but the dog itself isn’t the source of the joy. When the dog dies, you also feel sadness. The joy of having a dog, and the sadness of losing a dog, and the joy of remembering when you had a dog, and the sadness in recalling the day the dog died, all of these emotional experiences occur only within your own mind.
This still doesn't sound applicable to daily life and is more to a monastery life where there isn't a worry about a place to sleep, food, or any basics to survival. It also makes suicide sound like a more appealing option, since it's telling me not to strive for anything in life because it won't make me happy. At that point wouldn't I just be better off dead? That was a recurring theme when I was practicing this that my teacher could not answer. I did bring up suicide with them but they always tried to move away from it or hand wave it. I mean it doesn't help that Buddha sort of didn't have to do things for himself post enlightenment from what I read and his words don't sound human. It all just made me severely doubt the practicality of the teachings and practice, it made suicide sound better from how often they seemed to disparage living. Even suggesting that much of life is not real.

That's why I think there is some disconnect really and why I haven't seen a successful example of non attachment in the "lay world" (to use their term). I mean I did listen to that part about how the object is not the source of joy or sadness, but that led to emotional flat line and it reminds me of the quote in my last thread about "When you spend enough time in meditation you'll realize you don't genuinely feel emotions" or "“after that first level, it is appropriate to feel a variety of ways to share in social experiences
if people around you are depressed over loss, the compassionate thing is often to commiserate with them, rather than tell them their loss is false and not worth crying over
if people around you want to give you gifts and celebrate their promotion at work, the compassionate thing is to thank them for the gifts and share in their celebration to maximize their feelings of joy
in both situations, the individual with “true understanding” knows there is no reason to feel anything with regards to either situation as they are just random things that occur through particle and waves in reality colliding".

I hear the words you're saying, just like those in my year of practice, but they just don't ring the truth for me. It took a while to forget that line about "The object is not the source of joy" so that I can get back to some semblance of living or feeling alive again. Because when I was told that I lost all enjoyment of anything I loved before because it wasn't the source of joy and joy and happiness didn't come from within me.
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Ayu
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Re: Non-attachment in Buddhism

Post by Ayu »

BlackCircle wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:41 am I have tried non attachment, and unlike as you said it led to just a gray area in my life and not much happiness or peace that Buddhism said would follow....
I hear the words you're saying, just like those in my year of practice, but they just don't ring the truth for me....
As some members advised before: if you can't cope with it, if it doesn't "ring true" for you : just leave it. Therefore Buddha gave 84000 teachings.
As soon as you found a practice that is helpful for you, stick to it whatever appears later. But a practice that drags you down thoroughly you shouldn't practice.
Nobody would recommend you to torture yourself with a practice that is wrong for you.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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