Saturday, September 30, 2006

Love and Attachment

Dharma Quote of the Week from Snow Lion Publications:
Love and Attachment People often wonder how to reconcile the Buddha's teachings on non-attachment with those on love. How can we love others without being attached to them? Non-attachment is a balanced state of mind in which we cease overestimating others' qualities. By having a more accurate view of others, our unrealistic expectations fall away, as does our clinging. This leaves us open to loving others for who they are, instead of for what they do for us. Our hearts can open to care for everyone impartially, wishing everyone to be happy simply because he or she is a living being. The feeling of warmth that was previously reserved for a select few can now be expanded to a great number of people

--from Taming the Mind by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, published by Snow Lion Publications


Steve said...

"The feeling of warmth that was previously reserved for a select few can now be expanded to a great number of people."

I still don't understand how this applies to loving our spouses, partners, or boyfriends/girlfriends, or our families, or our closest friends. Is the Buddhist ideal not to love these people any more or differently than we love the rest of humankind? If not, what is different about the kind of love or "warmth" that we feel for people closest to us? I wonder how can we love them in a special way being unwisely and unhealthily attached to them.

william harryman said...

Hey Steve,

The goal, as I understand it, is to love friends, family, or spouses with an absence of attachment, without conditions. The goal is to see them and love them exactly as they are, without our egoic preconceptions distorting our view of them or our feelings for them.

If we can do that -- and doing that is asking a lot -- then we can begin to love others in the same non-judgmental, non-attached way. The idea is to perfect how we love those close to us in the relative sense (the cold, hard world of samsara) so that we can apply that love to all, both in relative reality and in absolute reality (where it really counts).

That's my admittedly basic (and possibly wrong) understanding of it. I hope to read that book at some point -- maybe then I can give a better answer.