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    Modern version of the Eternal Knot by Charles Huttner
A View on Buddhism
Teksty w jezyku polskim     Deutsche Seiten

Quotations on:
Attachment, Gasping & Craving

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The Buddha

I have killed all of you before.
I was chopped up by all of you in previous lives.
We have all killed each other as enemies.
So why should we be attached to each other?

Let me tell you about the middle path. Dressing in rough and dirty garments, letting your hair grow matted, abstaining from eating any meat or fish, does not cleanse the one who is deluded. Mortifying the flesh through excessive hardship does not lead to a triumph over the senses. All self-inflicted suffering is useless as long as the feeling of self is dominent.
You should lose your involvement with yourself and then eat and drink naturally, according to the needs of your body. Attachment to your appetites - whether you deprive or indulge them - can lead to slavery, but satisfying the needs of daily life is not wrong. Indeed, to keep a body in good health is a duty, for otherwise the mind will not stay strong and clear."
Discourses II

You should lose your involvement with yourself and then eat and drink naturally, according to the needs of your body. Attachment to your appetites--whether you deprive or indulge them--can lead to slavery, but satisfying the needs of daily life is not wrong. Indeed, to keep a body in good health is a duty, for otherwise the mind will not stay strong and clear."
Discourses II

What is this laughter, what is this delight, forever burning (with desires) as you are?
Enveloped in darkness as you are, will you not look for a lamp?

The Tempter masters the lazy and irresolute man who dwells on the attractive side of things, ungoverned in his senses, and unrestrained in his food, like the wind overcomes a rotten tree.
The Tempter cannot master a man who dwells on the distasteful side of things, self-controlled in his senses, moderate in eating, resolute and full of faith, like the wind cannot move a mountain crag.

In the same way that rain breaks into a house with a bad roof, desire breaks into the mind that has not been practising meditation.

Don't indulge in careless behaviour. Don't be the friend of sensual pleasures.
He who meditates attentively attains abundant joy.

'I've got children', 'I've got wealth.' This is the way a fool brings suffering on himself.
He does not even own himself, so how can he have children or wealth?

Surely, the path that leads to wordly gain in one, and the path that leads to Nibbana is another; understanding this, the Bhikkhu, the disciple of the Buddha, should not rejoice in worldly favours, but cultivate detachment.
Dhammapada v. 75

A man who gives way to pleasure will be swept away by craving and his thoughts will make him suffer, like waves.
Dhammapada v. 339

A man's joys are always transient, and since men devote themselves to pleasure, seeking after happiness, they undergo birth and decay.
Dhammapada v. 341

Just consider...Suppose we came to possess a very expensive object. The minute that thing comes into our possession our mind changes...'Now, where can I keep it? If I leave it there somebody might steal it'...We worry ourselves into a state, trying to find a place to keep it. And when did the mind change? It changed the minute we obtained that object -- suffering arose right then. No matter where we leave that object we can't relax, so we're left with trouble. Whether sitting, walking, or lying down, we are lost in worry.
Ajahn Chah

Question: Wouldn't life be boring without attachment?
Answer: No. In fact it's attachment that makes us restless and prevents us from enjoying things. For example, suppose we're attached to chocolate cake. Even while we're eating it, we're not tasting it and enjoying it completely. We're usually either criticizing ourselves for eating something fattening, comparing the taste of this chocolate cake to other cakes we've eaten in the past, or planning how to get another piece. In any case, we're not really experiencing the chocolate cake in the present.
On the other hand, without attachment, we can think clearly about whether we want to eat the cake, and if we decide to, we can eat it peacefully, tasting and enjoying every bite without craving for more or being dissatisfied because it isn't as good as we expected. As we diminish our attachment, life becomes more interesting because we're able to open up to what's happening in each moment.
Thubten Chodron, Buddhism for Beginners

Hundreds of stupid flies gather
On a piece of rotten meat,
Enjoying, they think, a delicious feast.
This image fits with the song
Of the myriads of foolish living beings
Who seek happiness in superficial pleasures;
In countless ways they try,
Yet I have never seen them satisfied.
7th Dalai Lama from 'Songs of spiritual change' translated by Glenn Mullin

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Buddhist notion of attachment is not what people in the West assume. We say that the love of a mother for her only child is free of attachment.

Attachment increases desire, without producing any satisfaction. There are two types of desire, unreasonable and reasonable. The first is an affliction founded on ignorance, but the second is not. To live, you need resources; therefore, desire for sufficient material things is appropriate. Such feelings as, "This is good; I want this. This is useful," are not afflictions. It is also desirable to achieve altruism, wisdom, and liberation. This kind of desire is suitable; indeed, all human development comes out of desire, and these aspirations do not have to be an affliction.
...when you have attachment to material things, it is best to desist from those very activities that promote more attachment. Satisfaction is helpful when it comes to material things, but not with respect to spiritual practice. Objects to which we become attached are something to be discarded, whereas spiritual progress is something to be adopted--it can be developed limitlessly, even in old age.
How to Expand Love

...several great Kagyu and Sakya masters... have expressed the stages [of sutra and tantra paths] in terms of the tradition known as "parting ourselves from the four forms of clinging."
First we part from clinging to this life. Instead of total involvement with affairs of this life, we involve ourselves with future lives. We accomplish this by thinking about our precious human life with all its freedoms and endowments for spiritual growth, how we lose it because of death and impermanence, and then the karmic laws of behavioral cause and effect that shape our future lives. Next we part from clinging to future lives and involve ourselves, instead, in the quest for liberation. By thinking about all the suffering of uncontrollably recurring rebirth, or samsara, we generate sincere renunciation of it--the strong determination to be free and attain the total liberation that is nirvana.
The Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra

The aim of desire is to be satisfied. If it dominates us and we are always craving for more, that goal is never reached and instead of finding happiness we only get suffering. These days we talk a lot about sexual freedom. But when one gives in to sexual desire without any restraint, merely for pleasure, one does not find any lasting satisfaction and creates a host of problems of which the negative consequences – the suffering of an abandoned partner, relationship break-ups, children’s lives turned upside down, venereal diseases, AIDS – are quite disproportionate to the brief moments of pleasure one may have experienced.

There is pleasure when a sore is scratched,
But to be without sores is more pleasurable still.
Just so, there are pleasures in worldly desires,
But to be without desires is more pleasurable still.
Nagarjuna, from Precious Garland

If the basic project of mainstream Buddhist practice is to unmask the ego illusion for what it is, one of the main prongs of attack is directed against desire. Desire gets a very bad press in the Buddhist scriptures. It is a poison, a disease, a madness. There is no living in a body that is subject to desire, for it is like a blazing house.
Now, desire lives and grows by being indulged. When not indulged by the application of ethical restraint and awareness, on the other hand, it stabilizes and begins to diminish, though this is not an easy or comfortable process, for the old urges clamor for satisfaction for a long time.
This kind of practice cuts directly against the main currents of modern consumer society, where desire is energetically encouraged and refined to new pitches and variations by the powerful agencies of marketing and publicity. But it also cuts against the more moderate desires-for family, wealth, sense-pleasures and so on sanctioned in simpler, more traditional societies, including the one into which the Buddha was born. We can never be at peace while desire is nagging at us.
John Snelling, from 'Elements of Buddhism'

Desire can be compared to fire. If we grasp fire, what happens? Does it lead to happiness?
If we say: "Oh, look at that beautiful fire! Look at the beautiful colors! I love red and orange; they're my favorite colors," and then grasp it, we would find a certain amount of suffering entering the body. And then if we were to contemplate the cause of that suffering we would discover it was the result of having grasped that fire. On that information, we would hopefully, then let the fire go. Once we let fire go then we know that it is something not to be attached to.
This does not mean we have to hate it, or put it out. We can enjoy fire, can't we? It's nice having a fire, it keeps the room warm, but we do not have to burn ourselves in it.
Ajahn Sumedho, in 'Teachings of a Buddhist Monk'

Our desires are not limited to the things we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Our mind runs after ideas as greedily as our tongue hungers for tastes.
Lama Thubten Yeshe

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Less desire means less pain, more satisfaction, more freedom in your life, more inner peace and happiness.

Make the total dedication right now in your heart and mind, because death can come any day or minute. The moment you think this, the painful mind of attachment goes away from your heart, so your mind is total peace and happiness. It is like an apple a day keeping the doctor away!

No desire means no disturbing emotions, pain of attachment, pain of anger, pain of jealousy and there is tranquillity, peace, openness, no barriers, space for sincere love and compassion.

The dissatisfied mind of desire is one of the main causes of stress.  Letting go of attachment is not a loss; you are not losing anything.  Truly, when you let go of suffering you gain inner peace and deep satisfaction.

You follow desire with the aim of getting satisfaction.  Your aim is worthwhile and you are right to wish to obtain it-- but the method is wrong and results only in dissatisfaction.
From How to Be Happy


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Last updated: December 11, 2016