A question about non-attachment and still living [solved]

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A question about non-attachment and still living [solved]

Postby Slenderman » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:55 am

Hello everyone!

I've been a member here before but forgot the username and password so signed up again. I've studied Buddhism quite a lot during the last years and in 2009 I was very close to declaring myself a Buddhist proper. However, I had a surgery and when I woke up from the induced sleep my convictions were gone. I have no idea why but it seems like it killed the fire.

Anyway, I'm here because I've yet again begun a journey of greater understanding about everything, and to better myself(haha see what I did here? Shame on me :)). I feel that Buddhism could once again become a path viable to follow, but I have some unanswered questions from last round.

I've read a lot of books on the topic and I've spent many hours read online, but found no satisfying answer. This will be a deal-breaker for me, so I'm grateful for you input.

No matter how much I read about non-attachment I can't get past the feeling that if I am to do it properly I must give up pretty much everything and live like a hermit - alone from the rest of the world. I would have to give up trying to find a girlfriend(I really want to find someone to share my life with), enroll into a university, stop going to the gym (because hey, what's the point of obsessing over the form-aggregate), give up all my hobbies and then sit on my bum and meditate until I die. Feel free to call me silly, but that's how I see it.

I know that this is not the case on a purely intellectual level but I can't shake it no matter what I do. Any input guys?

Edit: I know that becoming a monk is really what Theravada encourages but I don't want to be that. I have this all or nothing approach...

Edit 2: After doing some deep thinking this whole day I've come to the conclusion that Buddhism is not for me. I have to let go, which is something I've ironically learned from Buddhism. I've learned many great lessons, including not obsessing over possessions or yearning for new ones often, accepting things that are beyond my control, living simple and not getting upset so often (which was a real issue for me - I used to get into arguments and discussions with a roaring passion). I've also learned to see what's important in life and what's not (and what to put energy into), and that is perhaps the greatest gift I'll ever receive.

However, what I cannot accept is that I have to renounce life or even parts of it. It seems inherently wrong to me and that a better way is to take the ticket and buy the ride, but be aware of the arising of both joy and sorrow and learn to accept it as an integral part of life. I see nothing wrong with either of them, they're just a part of existence (I've never really bought the concept of karma I might add and there is no basis for assuming that the six realms of existence is real - it's just blind faith(no offense, just my thoughts after much reading on the subject)).
Rather than shying away from life, like monks or devout laypeople do(they face another part of life, which I really do respect), I want to make the most of it. I want to make sure that I live a fulfilling and eventful life, composed of both joy, sorrow, pain and love ...that I can look back upon with pride when my time to die comes. I want to do my best to make the world a better place through hard work and much strife, something along the lines of what Theodore Roosevelt called 'The Strenuous Life'.

My way will then carry similarities to Buddhism, yet be very different. In the end I have to follow what I think is right, and I'm afraid Buddhism would only lead me into an endless cycle of feeling bad for not being good enough or practice hard enough (having wordly needs etc).

Buddhism has turned me into a better and more patient man, but it's time to move on. By posting here I was able to finally see it and not continue to cling to something that was not working for me. I wish all of you the best in your practice and I hope that the path you've chosen will be the right one for you.
Last edited by Slenderman on Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A question about non-attachment and still living

Postby cooran » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:21 am

Hello Slenderman,

This previous threads may initially assist and be of interest:

Lay Person Ethics
viewtopic.php?f=42&t=7300
Is It Possible to Be a Lay Theravada Buddhist?
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1344&start=0
Lay person Theravada
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=7260

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: A question about non-attachment and still living

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:52 am

There are Attachments which are really needed and good on the way, for example to the:

The Four Right Exertions (sammappadhāna)

Generating desire, endeavoring, arousing persistence, upholding & exerting one's intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
Generating desire, endeavoring, arousing persistence, upholding & exerting one's intent for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.
Generating desire, endeavoring, arousing persistence, upholding & exerting one's intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
Generating desire, endeavoring, arousing persistence, upholding & exerting one's intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, &
culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen.


or found in other words as:

The non-doing of any evil,
the performance of what's skillful,
the cleansing of one's own mind:
this is the teaching
of the Awakened.


Keep it simple!
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: A question about non-attachment and still living

Postby Micheal Kush » Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:37 pm

No, there is nothing wrong with seeking to find a relative purpose in life. If you are willing to integrate Buddhism into your daily life then it should be done with the best of yor abilities. Observe the precepts and apply your understanding of the Dhamma in your own conventional terms. Take compassion for example, while you can still do metta meditation its best to apply that to social outlets and explore your practice reaching out to your capacity. You can apply mindfulness when working out and other types of activities.

Also, you can still achieve deep states of samadhi even as a lay person if your persistence is utilized. As for relationships and other attachments, learn the limits of them and learn to keep your kind in check whenever you come across exaggerated reactions to certian situations. To think that the Dhamma demands strict monasticism ignores its accessibility to devoted lay life as it is shown that lay perons have also achieved Nibbana.

Dont think like that. If your commitment spans the ability to want to achieve it then go for it. Not all people are ready for monk or nun life so attempt to integrate much as possible in your life as yoqu can. Apply equanimity, joy, metta etc etc.

I'm rambling too much but do what you think is best and whatever your choice is: May you be free from affliction and be well, happy and peaceful.

With metta, Mike
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Re: A question about non-attachment and still living

Postby santa100 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:50 pm

Well, just like anything else in life, you've got to give up something to gain something. Think of education, there're different levels of "attainments": high school diploma, 2-year degree, bachelor degree, masters degree, and doctorate degree. The higher the level, the more effort and time you'll have to put in. To get a doctorate degree, you'll certainly have to significantly cut back all your "fun" time hanging out with your buddies at the clubs, time for entertainments and hobbies, activities, etc.. as compared to getting a 2-year degree or a bachelor degree. Now, these are only "worldly" attainments, which are no where near the scale regarding the level of dedication and effort as compared to "un-worldly" attainments like stream-entry, once-return, non-return, or arahant. And just like education, the higher level of attainments is directly proportional to the sacrifice you're willing to make. "You get what you pay for" as they used to say. But don't think that it's totally futile if you only give up this much of attachment. If you let go a little bit of attachment, you'd gain a little bit of liberation. You let go a bit more, and you'd gain a bit more... Until one day, when you completely abandon all your attachments and defilements, then you'll gain that highest level of liberation and put an end to suffering for good..
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Re: A question about non-attachment and still living

Postby ohnofabrications » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:11 pm

Slenderman you can be mindful no matter what you are doing, you can renounce desire without renouncing its objects (try just paying close attention while eating some chocolate.) what you renounce via your actions though has a big impact. Remember Buddhism doesn't have to start out as all or nothing, start up a dedicated practice of mindfulness with some sitting but mostly daily-life paying attention and figure ur own way.
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Re: A question about non-attachment and still living

Postby Slenderman » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:54 pm

Hi Chris,

Those links were useful to me and provided me with a lot of material to read through when I have the time. I'm not sure how to come to terms with being a lay Buddhist though.... as I said, I got this all or nothing approach and it's preventing me from starting out small (because I'll feel under pressure to delve deeper into it). Do you have any ideas on how to overcome this?
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Re: A question about non-attachment and still living

Postby puppha » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:44 am

Dear Slenderman,

Slenderman wrote:Those links were useful to me and provided me with a lot of material to read through when I have the time. I'm not sure how to come to terms with being a lay Buddhist though.... as I said, I got this all or nothing approach and it's preventing me from starting out small (because I'll feel under pressure to delve deeper into it). Do you have any ideas on how to overcome this?


Where does this 'pressure' come from? Is anyone prozelyting you in becoming a buddhist? Or is it just yourself?

There is a saying I like from Ajahn Jayasaro: "Buddhism is not a belief system, it's a training system".
In other words: (1) there is no doctrinal point to blindly accept, and (2) the buddhist path takes time and effort, just like a student trying to get good grades at university.

Whatever your endeavour is in life, nothing comes immediately and you have to pay a price. Say you decide to become a pianist, having never done any music whatsoever in your life. Are you going to be able to play some Chopin or Mozart within a day? That will take you many years of daily practice. Say you want to become a doctor, a builder, a software developer, or develop a happy relationship with your girlfriend, parents, relatives, etc. that's all the same: it does not come immediately, you have to start from somewhere, it takes time and effort, and their are failures to cope with along the way.

Lao Tseu famously said 'a 1000 miles journey starts with a single step'. Don't expect too much of yourself, get your mind to relax.

Starting Buddhism with complete renunication is certainly bound to fail. To me, it looks a bit like if you want to go from city A to city B starting from city B, that just doesn't make sense. If that the only way you can look at Buddhism, that's no wonder you can't find any sense in it.

You can start with the 5 precepts. Just keeping them diligently will require a lot of work and effort, believe me! Also practise generosity. 99% of buddhists just do that their whole life and can lead very happy and fulfilling lives.

Remember this: nothing and nobody is trying to force some beliefs on you. Don't accept what you see as unacceptable. Nobody can rightly blame you for that. If the doctrine of kamma is not acceptable to you, put it aside. If the doctrine of rebirth is not acceptable to you, put it aside. Do the same for all doctrinal points that you don't agree with.

If you still think Buddhism is not for you, no worries! Just try to avoid doing evil to others and yourself, try to do good to others and yourself, and you will be just fine!

:heart:

I wish you all the best.
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Re: A question about non-attachment and still living [solved]

Postby Hanzze » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:35 am

Slenderman wrote:Edit 2: After doing some deep thinking this whole day I've come to the conclusion that Buddhism is not for me. I have to let go, which is something I've ironically learned from Buddhism. I've learned many great lessons, including not obsessing over possessions or yearning for new ones often, accepting things that are beyond my control, living simple and not getting upset so often (which was a real issue for me - I used to get into arguments and discussions with a roaring passion). I've also learned to see what's important in life and what's not (and what to put energy into), and that is perhaps the greatest gift I'll ever receive.

However, what I cannot accept is that I have to renounce life or even parts of it. It seems inherently wrong to me and that a better way is to take the ticket and buy the ride, but be aware of the arising of both joy and sorrow and learn to accept it as an integral part of life. I see nothing wrong with either of them, they're just a part of existence (I've never really bought the concept of karma I might add and there is no basis for assuming that the six realms of existence is real - it's just blind faith(no offense, just my thoughts after much reading on the subject)).
Rather than shying away from life, like monks or devout laypeople do(they face another part of life, which I really do respect), I want to make the most of it. I want to make sure that I live a fulfilling and eventful life, composed of both joy, sorrow, pain and love ...that I can look back upon with pride when my time to die comes. I want to do my best to make the world a better place through hard work and much strife, something along the lines of what Theodore Roosevelt called 'The Strenuous Life'.

My way will then carry similarities to Buddhism, yet be very different. In the end I have to follow what I think is right, and I'm afraid Buddhism would only lead me into an endless cycle of feeling bad for not being good enough or practice hard enough (having wordly needs etc).

Buddhism has turned me into a better and more patient man, but it's time to move on. By posting here I was able to finally see it and not continue to cling to something that was not working for me. I wish all of you the best in your practice and I hope that the path you've chosen will be the right one for you.

Sounds like you have found some very importand things. Good jouney and like you did now, its always possible to change ones way or directions.

Benefits to be Obtained (from Wealth)
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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