Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

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Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby nem » Fri May 10, 2013 5:31 am

What practices do you use, to eliminate clinging other than meditation?

I listened to a talk of Ajahn Brahm a few months ago, wherein we visualize ourselves with 2 suitcases, one in each hand. One is the past and one is the future. We simply visualize setting both of those on the floor, and we can leave them and stand free of the burdens. I liked the analogy. I found this useful. He also spoke of his mother in England, how she keeps souvenirs in a knick-knack cabinet, and the uselessness of this, and it only brings pain.

Hearing this, I had undertaken destruction of different objects that have sentimental value to me. In December, I undertook a search through my house evaluating each thing in my path. If I found it had a memory or sentimental value to me but no particular utility in the present or near future, I threw it in the trash or burned it. Now my house is much more tidy and without these hinderances. Sometimes I look for something, and realize, hey I got rid of that..then I realize that it is not needed anyway.

In particular, I had an object which gave me an association to treasured memories, and I broke it intentionally to remind me that it was broken and impermanent from the first moment when I received it in the past, along with the memory of experiences that came with it, which was basically a bunch of false promises and lies told to me by someone, which are no more real, than the value that I placed on the worthless object. I had begun to think of it, as link to a time when I had a future which this person has now made impossible and will not exist. So, now I realize that I was making that thing an idol..really it was a practically worthless ceramic cup but was given to me by someone I thought was special. Whenever I saw the cup, I would think of the time when I received it, and the good time I associated with that. So, I broke it which was like killing a dragon, and then work on the mental aspect like memories of my delusions in the past, that created such a clinging to even such a stupid thing as a piece of ceramic. Then also, I remember not to receive objects like souvenirs or gifts, or to trust words and cling to them. that could cause a preoccupation with the past. We just can't trust in anything or cling to anything, it's very dangerous and I can see that more and more.

I was surprised to discover how much reluctance I had to destroy a ceramic cup given to me by a person, who was special to me, even though now I realize that this person is, basically like embodiment of Māra's daughter Taṇhā, to make canonical reference. I liked the idea of what I thought she was, before I realized the dhamma content of her. Also, I destroyed some airline boarding pass stubs from trips overseas that were special to me, and realized my clinging..because it was hard to destroy my only tangible link to those trips! Pieces of paper...

What are your practices, for identifying and eliminating clinging? I think this practice of just trying to throw everything away, and finding out what is hard to throw away, that is one easy way for me to find my clinging.
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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby Ben » Fri May 10, 2013 7:09 am

I am concerned, nem, that you might be throwing the baby out with the bath water. I think you will find that the wilful destruction of objects will do nothing to abate your attachment. May I suggest you engage in the practice of sila (morality), Samadhi (samatha meditation) and panna (vipassana meditation), this I believe will provide you with the tools you need to eliminate attachments.
kind regards,

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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby pegembara » Fri May 10, 2013 10:38 am

In particular, I had an object which gave me an association to treasured memories, and I broke it intentionally to remind me that it was broken and impermanent from the first moment when I received it in the past, along with the memory of experiences that came with it, which was basically a bunch of false promises and lies told to me by someone, which are no more real, than the value that I placed on the worthless object.


A cup is just a cup like any other. It is not worthless. Just like that person who is just like any other person. People are what they are. Some are good and others not so. You feel pain if you expect them to be what they are not. Ask yourself what was so special about the cup if not for your memories about it.

The only worthless things worth throwing away are the painful memories and unrealistic expectations. That is why meditation like anapanasati which effectively trains the mind to stay anchored to the breath instead of wandering to the past or future is so effective.

Throwing things does not mean the clinging is gone. You can only claim this if you are able to see the person without the feeling of anger arising.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby binocular » Fri May 10, 2013 5:01 pm

Ben wrote:I am concerned, nem, that you might be throwing the baby out with the bath water. I think you will find that the wilful destruction of objects will do nothing to abate your attachment.

There are some positive things to be said about decluttering, though.
The internet is full of webpages that give advice on how to do it, and to a greater or lesser depth give some insight into how come we keep stuff we don't really want or need.


For example - http://zenhabits.net/zen-clutter/
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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby FatDaddy » Fri May 10, 2013 5:11 pm

nem wrote:What practices do you use, to eliminate clinging other than meditation?


When I find myself suffering in any way I ask myself "what are you clinging to?" I see no point in randomly giving things up unless they are causing me to suffer.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby Viscid » Fri May 10, 2013 9:01 pm

Destroy taints, not teacups.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby ground » Sat May 11, 2013 3:13 am

nem wrote:What are your practices, for identifying and eliminating clinging?

There is no need to eliminate it. Just identify and be aware. That is ... you may drop the belief that there is any added value of having eliminated clinging other than just having eliminated it. :sage:
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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby perkele » Sat May 11, 2013 8:32 am

nem wrote:What are your practices, for identifying and eliminating clinging? I think this practice of just trying to throw everything away, and finding out what is hard to throw away, that is one easy way for me to find my clinging.

Doing some housecleaning like you did is a great thing for sure. Throwing away things that are useless and so on, I think that's a useful thing, also to see where you cling to something that's only imprisoning you, winning the fight and getting rid of it. Congratulations. I do that every once in a while. That way I don't have many things. Also, I don't need many things. It is good to see that, time and again, more and more clearly. It becomes easier and easier to throw away things that are useless and keep what is useful. It's kind of boring, actually. No more dragons to fight and so on. But hey, I think it's nice.

ground wrote:There is no need to eliminate it. Just identify and be aware. That is ... you may drop the belief that there is any added value of having eliminated clinging other than just having eliminated it. :sage:

Yeah, in the end it's like that. It's pretty boring. But so rewarding...


binocular wrote:There are some positive things to be said about decluttering, though.
The internet is full of webpages that give advice on how to do it, and to a greater or lesser depth give some insight into how come we keep stuff we don't really want or need.

We should start to declutter the internet. It's so full of garbage.
:coffee:

But hey, a teacup is useful, isn't it?



One other great way to declutter, though, is to give things away. It's nice. It brings joy. My father can only do it in that way. He has so much stuff that he clings to and cannot just simply get rid off by throwing it away. But when he comes here to visit and brings something that he has found among the big heaps of old stuff to give it to me or my sister, it makes him feel lighter. He's always relieved I think to have freed himself of a burden in a useful and giving way.

There's nothing bad or evil about throwing things away, though, no matter how useful others may consider all that stuff. But giving is generally a very nice way of giving things up. So maybe when someone complains about your throwing away emotional baggage, maybe you should try and give it to them. :tongue:
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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 11, 2013 8:56 am

Viscid wrote:Destroy taints, not teacups.
Which is more the point of the Dhamma.
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.

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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat May 11, 2013 9:01 am

FatDaddy wrote:When I find myself suffering in any way I ask myself "what are you clinging to?"


Yes, it's a good question. This passage from MN9 seems relevant:
"And what is clinging, what is the origin of clinging, what is the cessation of clinging, what is the way leading to the cessation of clinging? There are these four kinds of clinging: clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rituals and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self. "
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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby Feathers » Sat May 11, 2013 9:19 am

Viscid wrote:Destroy taints, not teacups.


Love this :smile:
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Re: Practices to find and/or eliminate clinging

Postby binocular » Sat May 11, 2013 11:34 am

nem wrote:What are your practices, for identifying and eliminating clinging?

Apart from the usual decluttering, I gradually developed this system:

I used to have many many notebooks of smart, insightful quotes and thoughts. There were so many, so much that it was not possible to manage them, or review them, even though I've collected them precisely for the purpose of revising them, learning them - to have some use from them.
So I decided to gradually write each single thought or quote on an A6 card, enumerate it, and place all of them in a box, so that they are easy to revise, easy to take away and add new things. I've limited myself to the number 1000 for the time being. I revise all of them about once throughout a week. Some of the cards are pictures.

Most thoughts and quotes are standard enough useful ones, such as "Better go to bed hungry than wake up in debt" or "You can't plough a field by turning it over in your head" etc.

This system turned out to be particularly useful for adding in things where I feel especially strongly that they are both true and not. This way, over time, I was able to clarify my stance on some things.

Also, it's very useful for things for which I feel both strong aversion and strong attachment. It seems that since there are so many other wholesome thoughts in the other cards, this builds a context in which it is easier to evaluate a particular problematic thought.
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