Attachment and my new baby daughter

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom
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bodom
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Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby bodom » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:32 pm

I am so afraid that i have just brought the biggest sense of attachment into my life with the birth of my first daughter. How do i balance my practice of non-attachment and non-clinging with my daughter? How do i love her unconditionally without being in any way attached? To the parents here with young children how do you handle this dilema?

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:37 pm

bodom_bad_boy wrote:I am so afraid that i have just brought the biggest sense of attachment into my life with the birth of my first daughter. How do i balance my pratice of non-attachment and non-clinging with my daughter? How do i love her unconditionally without being in any way attached? To the parents here with young children how do you handle this dilema?


Don't worry about it. Just continue to do the practice. You will in time find the balance. It is not something you can force.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby adosa » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:10 pm

Congrats Friend!, :smile:

The most important thing now is your daughter. Raise her with the values of the Dhamma and I'm sure everything will be fine.



Ron
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby Annapurna » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:30 pm

bodom_bad_boy wrote:I am so afraid that i have just brought the biggest sense of attachment into my life with the birth of my first daughter. How do i balance my practice of non-attachment and non-clinging with my daughter? How do i love her unconditionally without being in any way attached? To the parents here with young children how do you handle this dilema?

:namaste:


You have brought a responsibility into your life. :smile: Just do your best for her. One step at a time.... :anjali:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby Jechbi » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:33 pm

bodom_bad_boy wrote:How do i love her unconditionally without being in any way attached?
Here's a thought: The moment you love her unconditionally is the moment that you are not attached. Until then, your love is conditional.

Parenthood can be a great teacher, because we're in a position to give selflessly. Part of that process is not to worry about "my attachment." Go straight into it heart-first for her benefit, and don't let your attachment to your ideal of non-attachment get in the way of being the best dad in the world.

:toast:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby cooran » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:33 pm

bodom_bad_boy wrote:I am so afraid that i have just brought the biggest sense of attachment into my life with the birth of my first daughter. How do i balance my practice of non-attachment and non-clinging with my daughter? How do i love her unconditionally without being in any way attached? To the parents here with young children how do you handle this dilema?

:namaste:


Scary isn't it? :smile: For the first time, there is someone for whom you would literally sacrifice your life ...
The Buddha understood this and used it in a simile to describe one of the highest mental states - the pure, boundless and cherishing heart ...:
.....
Even as a mother protects with her life Her child, her only child, So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings; Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies, And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded, Freed from hatred and ill-will. Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down Free from drowsiness, One should sustain this recollection. This is said to be the sublime abiding. By not holding to fixed views, The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision, Being freed from all sense desires, Is not born again into this world.
.....
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .amar.html

metta
Chris
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---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: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:42 pm

Greetings BBB,

bodom_bad_boy wrote:How do i balance my practice of non-attachment and non-clinging with my daughter? How do i love her unconditionally without being in any way attached? To the parents here with young children how do you handle this dilema?


Try to make it a form of selfless service.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby genkaku » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:51 am

The great thing about parent-dom -- assuming anyone likes their children -- is that, perhaps for the first time in your life, you have to pay attention. Sometimes it is light as a feather. Sometimes it's a terrible grind. Either way, attention, attention, attention. No more chitchat about compassion or altruism or enlightenment ... change the diapers, wipe up the spilled milk, pick up the toys, and find that all of your senses have been somehow elevated to see and hear and attend to what requires attention. Waxing lyrical is not enough ... only attention is enough.

And it is that attention, in all its forms, that teaches an honest Buddhism ... at least for my money.

My Zen teacher -- a Japanese fellow -- said to me twice (which for a Japanese person is about like a Marine Corps drill sergeant screaming in your ear): "Take care of your family."

And bit by bit, over time and with attention, the meaning of family takes root. It ain't just the people who live under the roof with you.

Parent-dom is a great blessing.
And a great curse.
But in the end, it is a true blessing.

Enjoy yourself.

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:56 am

Go straight into it heart-first for her benefit, and don't let your attachment to your ideal of non-attachment get in the way of being the best dad in the world.


Jechbi and others said it well.

I would just add that you can never be "too attached" in the first two to three years of their life. Later on there might be some times to let go and practice non-attachment more. But in the first few years of life, there is no such as thing as giving them too much attention or too much love. :heart:

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby Individual » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:06 am

bodom_bad_boy wrote:I am so afraid that i have just brought the biggest sense of attachment into my life with the birth of my first daughter. How do i balance my practice of non-attachment and non-clinging with my daughter? How do i love her unconditionally without being in any way attached? To the parents here with young children how do you handle this dilema?

:namaste:

Total avoidance seems to be the only guaranteed way to completely cut off attachment to one's immediate family.

However, being impractical for laypeople, it's simply a bit of a gamble in that the more you emotionally invest in them, the bigger the payoff, and the bigger the loss. Just remember and be prepared for the fact that one day, all of them may die, perhaps even sooner than you might want.

TheDhamma wrote:I would just add that you can never be "too attached" in the first two to three years of their life.

I would have to disagree.

Example:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/ ... eachy-head

A grieving couple plunged to their deaths at Beachy Head clutching a rucksack containing the body of their five-year-old boy after he died of meningitis, it emerged today.

Neil and Kazumi Puttick drove to the beauty spot in East Sussex a day or two after their son Samuel died at home in Wiltshire. They are thought to have leapt together with two rucksacks, one holding the body, the other filled with some of the child's favourite cuddly toys and a model tractor.

The child in that case was five... But let's say that instead he was 2 or 3. Would it have made a difference?

As an extreme example, a person is too attached to their child if they could not go on living after the child is gone, but there are less extreme possibilities as well. Spending money foolishly for the sake of the baby is one other possible and less extreme example.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:26 am

Individual wrote:
A grieving couple plunged to their deaths at Beachy Head clutching a rucksack containing the body of their five-year-old boy after he died of meningitis, it emerged today.

Neil and Kazumi Puttick drove to the beauty spot in East Sussex a day or two after their son Samuel died at home in Wiltshire. They are thought to have leapt together with two rucksacks, one holding the body, the other filled with some of the child's favourite cuddly toys and a model tractor.

The child in that case was five... But let's say that instead he was 2 or 3. Would it have made a difference?

As an extreme example, a person is too attached to their child if they could not go on living after the child is gone, but there are less extreme possibilities as well. Spending money foolishly for the sake of the baby is one other possible and less extreme example.


Okay, those are pretty extreme examples. I mean you do not need to worry about "being too attached" by giving them too much love. There are some who say "you are spoiling, so and so (insert name)." But for a small toddler, they are dependent upon their parents for everything and need their parents love. I would say that those extreme examples are not real love or attachment, but more in the line of foolishness.

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby Individual » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:55 am

TheDhamma wrote:
Individual wrote:
A grieving couple plunged to their deaths at Beachy Head clutching a rucksack containing the body of their five-year-old boy after he died of meningitis, it emerged today.

Neil and Kazumi Puttick drove to the beauty spot in East Sussex a day or two after their son Samuel died at home in Wiltshire. They are thought to have leapt together with two rucksacks, one holding the body, the other filled with some of the child's favourite cuddly toys and a model tractor.

The child in that case was five... But let's say that instead he was 2 or 3. Would it have made a difference?

As an extreme example, a person is too attached to their child if they could not go on living after the child is gone, but there are less extreme possibilities as well. Spending money foolishly for the sake of the baby is one other possible and less extreme example.


Okay, those are pretty extreme examples. I mean you do not need to worry about "being too attached" by giving them too much love. There are some who say "you are spoiling, so and so (insert name)." But for a small toddler, they are dependent upon their parents for everything and need their parents love. I would say that those extreme examples are not real love or attachment, but more in the line of foolishness.

But what is "love"? Love, in english, is a very convoluted term which can often be very harmful. You can never give too much of the brahmaviharas to anybody, any time, but you can't say this of love. Even a young parent can be obsessive. They might feel tremendous grief if the child dies suddenly and this grief is the result of attachment. Even if the child lives, they might constantly feel great anxiety that something bad might happen to the child. I would never separate any kind of foolishness from attachment, the two are virtually synonymous, and never justify any form of attachment of any kind -- the second noble truth applies to all circumstances.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby nathan » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:52 am

bodom_bad_boy wrote:I am so afraid that i have just brought the biggest sense of attachment into my life with the birth of my first daughter. How do i balance my practice of non-attachment and non-clinging with my daughter? How do i love her unconditionally without being in any way attached? To the parents here with young children how do you handle this dilema?

:namaste:


I don't have children but I do have family and they are easy to love as they are very kind and virtuous people. So, I have given this some thought and I hope that you might see some value in what I have to suggest despite the fact that I do not have any children.

What I would suggest is that you simply feel whatever it is that you feel and feel it mindfully. The way to effectively overcome attachment to self and other selves is rarely by mere avoidance. For one, you can't avoid yourself, you go where you go. The way to work towards overcoming attachment to self and others is to see self and other beings for what they are and that is by means of insight, which means insight into the three characteristics and the true nature of all things. So, I would suggest that you do the insight work. As one regularly practices insight meditation and increasingly comes to see their own self for what it is they will develop an increasingly healthy, mature and accurate set of attitudes. One will determine correctly through insight that there is a great deal that one can not change and so one will come to accept these things simply for what they are. On the other hand one will also come to see that all things arise and pass and so one will both appreciate things appropriately when they arise and let go of them without sentimentality when they pass. In addition to this one will increasingly be able to discern what is wholesome and meritorious from what is unwholesome and de-meritorious both for oneself and for others, which is a great aid and support for raising a child.

Congratulations and best wishes
take care
:smile:
upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby Rui Sousa » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:54 am

A child will induce some extreme feelings, during the first years of love and dedication, latter on of exasperation and concern as well. I believe that this way feelings become apparent and if we can pay them proper attention we cab develop our wisdom.

Attachment, compassion, kindness, friendship and concern are all very different. Compassion, kindness and friendship will make experience sukha, attachment, concern and exasperation will make experience dukkha.

There will be many moment in which the Dhamma may become a safe refuge, away from the dukkha of seeing a child in pain, with high fevers, or sad for some reason.

:hug: :heart:
With Metta

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:41 pm

bodom_bad_boy wrote:I am so afraid that i have just brought the biggest sense of attachment into my life with the birth of my first daughter.

I think whether or not you had a baby you're level of attachment is the same. It is within you. All the baby does is serve as an object for that attachment. It is like a chair sitting in a dark room - even though you can't see the chair it is still there. Having the baby is like turning on the light in the room - now you can see the chair clearly. In this way the baby is very helpful to you as she provides the opportunity for you to see your chair... I mean your attachment... clearly. In this way you know you still have work to do and how much and what kind.

For example, my daughter revels to me that I still need to develop patience, energy, and loving-kindness. She has given me plenty of opportunities to develop these things, and I know these qualities have gotten stronger as a result, but I can see I still have more to go.

There is a Buddhist story (maybe from Zen?) about a monk who spends years in a cave and thinks he has perfected his qualities so he goes down into town to start teaching others. On a busy road a villager accidentally bumps into him. The monk immediately gets angry and yells at the villager to watch where he is going! The point of the story is the anger was always inside of the monk but in the cave there was nothing to reveal it.

I hope this is helpful, from one new father to another. :)
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:33 pm

Individual wrote: I would never separate any kind of foolishness from attachment, the two are virtually synonymous, and never justify any form of attachment of any kind -- the second noble truth applies to all circumstances.


You are describing the ideal, of course. Not all of us are arahants yet. The Buddha allowed for lay people and lay people were allowed to engage in sexual relations even though it is not the ideal and of course not done by arahants or the ordained. From Ven. Dhammika:

While accepting that sex is a normal part of lay life, the Buddha generally had a poor opinion of it. He disparaged it as ‘a village thing’ (gāma dhamma, D.I,4); i.e. common, unsophisticated and worldly. He understood that a heightened desire for sensual pleasure (kāmacchanda) causes physical and psychological restlessness and that this diverts one’s attention from spiritual aspirations and hinders meditation. He encouraged his more serious disciples to limit their sexual behaviour or to embrace celibacy (brahmacariya). Monks and nuns, of course, are required to be celibate. However, experience shows that taking a vow of celibacy when one is not ready for it can be anything but helpful. Constantly struggling against and denying sexual desire can create more problems than it solves and in fact can even be psychologically harmful.

(from BuddhismAtoZ,com)

In the same way that lay people are allowed to engage in sexual relations and also have children, there comes responsibilities with that. I'm not saying parents should be obsessive, but certainly there is a greater love or attachment or whatever you want to call it given by a parent to their children than what is done to others. And this is done out of necessity and care for the children.

There was good reason the Buddha did not allow the monks and nuns to get married and have children; all of the attachments and worldly concerns that come with it. Parents can still practice the Dhamma and especially the brahma viharas, but for their infant and toddler children, a greater care is needed. But most parents will find that the practice does test them and makes them grow and then when the children pass those critical first years, the practice can even get better.

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby bodom » Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:05 pm

Peter wrote:
bodom_bad_boy wrote:I am so afraid that i have just brought the biggest sense of attachment into my life with the birth of my first daughter.

I think whether or not you had a baby you're level of attachment is the same. It is within you. All the baby does is serve as an object for that attachment. It is like a chair sitting in a dark room - even though you can't see the chair it is still there. Having the baby is like turning on the light in the room - now you can see the chair clearly. In this way the baby is very helpful to you as she provides the opportunity for you to see your chair... I mean your attachment... clearly. In this way you know you still have work to do and how much and what kind.

For example, my daughter revels to me that I still need to develop patience, energy, and loving-kindness. She has given me plenty of opportunities to develop these things, and I know these qualities have gotten stronger as a result, but I can see I still have more to go.

There is a Buddhist story (maybe from Zen?) about a monk who spends years in a cave and thinks he has perfected his qualities so he goes down into town to start teaching others. On a busy road a villager accidentally bumps into him. The monk immediately gets angry and yells at the villager to watch where he is going! The point of the story is the anger was always inside of the monk but in the cave there was nothing to reveal it.

I hope this is helpful, from one new father to another. :)


Thank you peter for that. That is a very helpful to me. Thanks to everyone for your input.

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:17 pm

getting rid of attachment completely is only possible only at the non returner stage. I take it you are not there yet! so dont worry about this now- prematurely taking on such a huge project like getting rid of attachment is not likely to succeed at an early stage. so continue with your practice the best that you can and try not to have aversion that your child in the way of your practice somehow- she is not. Make it an opportunity to develop new things- like selflessness. there are always other areas of your mind to work on, other than attachment.

with metta
:namaste:
With Metta

Karuna
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& Upekkha

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Re: Attachment and my new baby daughter

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:26 pm

rowyourboat wrote:getting rid of attachment completely is only possible only at the non returner stage. I take it you are not there yet! so dont worry about this now- prematurely taking on such a huge project like getting rid of attachment is not likely to succeed at an early stage. so continue with your practice the best that you can and try not to have aversion that your child in the way of your practice somehow- she is not. Make it an opportunity to develop new things- like selflessness. there are always other areas of your mind to work on, other than attachment.


Exactly! That was my point, it is just that you (ryb) said it better. :smile:


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