TranquilTurmoil

Love, Loving-Kindness, Bonds, Attachment

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I was just reading this article which was an excerpt of a dhamma talk by Ajahn Chah :https://www.lionsroar.com/nibbana-is-giving-up-letting-go-and-being-free/

 

The article as well as TTC got me thinking... is it universally wise that we ought to temper our love for the individuals we care about? Our family, friends, love interests, pets? Or is this more applicable to the Theravada tradition Ajahn Chah practices that seeks to totally transcend Samsara? Im thinking in relation to my life while I had and hope to have again (to as strong an extent) universal loving-kindness, getting too close to individuals has led me to be emotionally burnt. While this isn't inherently "bad" or "misfortune", it doesn't seem like something worth repeating.

 

So I'm wondering what various perspectives you all might have on skillful and beneficial uses and cultivation of universal love (as in relation to personal bonds with loved ones), how to avoid the pitfall of attachment (or at the very least unhealthy attachment), when loving-kindness in a detached and universal sense is more appropriate than love and the connections/bonds formed upon it.

 

Even further, I'm wondering if even loving-kindness needs to be moderated as strong loving-kindness can lead to strong love and the risk of attachment/unhealthy attachment.

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I find it is not a matter of being distant vs being attached to person bounds but instead you can both have personal bounds with loved ones and still be 'unattached'. It is a sense of enjoying the moment with someone but understanding that like a dream this time won't last and being Okay with the dream ending.

 

(Don't know if what I said makes sense or if I'm 'qualified' to talk about stuff being new to 'Buddhism'.)

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Strong loving kindness needs to go hand in hand with jnana (wisdom) for one to become more fully fledged as a human being. Loving kindness without wisdom will result in one being an empath and lots of unpleasant states of being, including but not limited to burnouts, exhaustion, constructions and tensions in body, etc. Great wisdom without metta results in excessive cunningness, vying for mundane things while forgetting the grand scheme of things.

 

So if you work on the two of them together, there will be no reason to moderate loving kindness. Just let it expand and cover the whole cosmos, while you stay rooted in the mundane reality.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/29/2021 at 7:49 AM, TranquilTurmoil said:

I was just reading this article which was an excerpt of a dhamma talk by Ajahn Chah :https://www.lionsroar.com/nibbana-is-giving-up-letting-go-and-being-free/

 

The article as well as TTC got me thinking... is it universally wise that we ought to temper our love for the individuals we care about? Our family, friends, love interests, pets? Or is this more applicable to the Theravada tradition Ajahn Chah practices that seeks to totally transcend Samsara? Im thinking in relation to my life while I had and hope to have again (to as strong an extent) universal loving-kindness, getting too close to individuals has led me to be emotionally burnt. While this isn't inherently "bad" or "misfortune", it doesn't seem like something worth repeating.

 

So I'm wondering what various perspectives you all might have on skillful and beneficial uses and cultivation of universal love (as in relation to personal bonds with loved ones), how to avoid the pitfall of attachment (or at the very least unhealthy attachment), when loving-kindness in a detached and universal sense is more appropriate than love and the connections/bonds formed upon it.

 

Even further, I'm wondering if even loving-kindness needs to be moderated as strong loving-kindness can lead to strong love and the risk of attachment/unhealthy attachment.

 

 

 

 

 

[This reply was posted without having read the article link]

 

 

In order to really understand the answer to this question, you must first understand the True Nature of love. Love is not an object, nor is it bound to forms. It has no dependencies, no entanglements and ultimately no inter-relationships: thus, it is not a state of attachment. This is how love is itself unconditional. Once you attach it to things or conditions- including yourself and others, you trivialize it and divest it from its essence.


Yet even though this is so, to come into enlightened understanding of this, you must begin with the cultivation of a deep regard and care for all things (metta), until you can understand the Nothing in all the 'somethings'.


This love which we can illuminate all things is not found in the conditions of empathy; instead it is a recognition in a very deep wisdom that results in profound compassion. Such a deep compassion comes from not only wisdom and knowledge of the transcendent, but also from insight born of great humility that begins firstly through a process of self-recognition and understanding. This self-realization when profound leads beyond the self, and when that entity of self is dissolved it is through that that you recognize the transcendent universal or the Original, and eventually also the Emptiness. These conditions and the actions born from them cannot be prematurely or naively contrived in yourself through mere willingness and arbitrary decision because they are not a process of ordinary mind, emotion or unconscious spirit. This is also why love itself cannot be ordinary, and when it is True and deep, it is extraordinary and transcendent, and thus from that state it is also selfless and compassionate.


When you objectify love by projecting onto illusions (maya) and engross your emotions in empathy through a process of attachment you create entanglement within the stream of unconsciousness that is integral to the perpetuation (karma and thus also the commonplace place movement of the wu xing) of unconsciousness in people. It is not that you cannot have insight and recognition of other's pain and suffering- which is one aspect of empathy, but to take on their suffering or psyche as your own (which is a hallmark of empathy), is to subsume yourself in the unconsciousness resonance. To begin to dissolve these attachments while remaining in the integrity of what is inherent and rightful, what is essential and truly good, helps you develop a clear spirit that acts from and lives from the essence of rightfulness- untangling the wounds and confusions: the sufferings of karma. This then, is the foundation of enlightened place from which a true compassion is born, from which love can emanate and illuminate without the desire, the 'burn',  the confusion of self and other, and the tumultum that you speak of.


Similarly, love which feels weak or strong, more or less, is a love divested of Source- of Nirvana, and diminuates it to thing, which is why it becomes quantity. When you hold it essential, it bears quality and its depth of quality is in direct relation to your own cultivated depth of nature, mind and heart.


How then can you become as love itself as the Buddha had? Like the Buddha or an Immortal Sage, all people must go through a process of laying a foundation. These foundations are discussed in different ways, using different language according to time, space, and context (these include the language and perspective of language that are a part of the orientation of a collective awareness of a time. Therefore, True teachings of any time should not be trivialized into intellectual debate but instead recognized, felt and lived in their essence*) of a true teacher; but if you can see it from the perspective of enlightenment (and not in the pettiness of an ordinary discriminating mind that gets mired in social politics of seemingly competing theories) then you understand that the Eight-Fold Path (Eight-Fold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness) like the 5 Virtues in Taoism (Integration of the spirits in: benevolence, wisdom, propriety, righteousness, and integrity which are also essences of how we conduct and unify our energy) are essentially one in the same though seemingly diverse (in the maya) of their method: that is that we must foundationally use the energy of this life, this body and the conditions of our existence to become truly good people, people worthy of enlightenment ('worth' here is not so much about deservence and therefore also undeservence, but rather meant as the alignment of our own true integrity in true value). This essential worth is in all of us to manifest regardless of form and condition. And this in turn requires the cultivation of our lives in health of mind, body, spirit and relationships to all things, as well as (self) insight to develop the rightfulness in all action and eventually in all Being.

 

So for all those- Taoist, Buddhist or none at all, if your care is to be in truth and resolve the conditions of suffering, then you must give care to all things and all processes from it's essence, not because of what it is or how it seems but simply because you yourself find the value in and feel the beauty of loving-kindness inherently in yourself, free of attachment and yet inherent as part of life in its illusions and also eventually, free of it's illusions. To love so truly and deeply we must move beyond the notion of loving things by purifying ourselves of things and our fixations upon them (ie. forms- political, social, indentifications, the intellectual concept, the personal- all constructs and projections- the xi shen which is acquired consciousness that creates imbalance, factions and existential falsity) even as we apply it to things (eg. this body, our health, living, relating) so that when you touch all things, even in their illusions of form (and your own), you can help dissolve it, resolve it, and bring it back to Emptiness.

 

 

 

 

 

(*The more Conscious you are, the more you realize the Truthfulness in the enlightened teachings regardless of circumstantial presentation and not waste yourself on argument and but instead apply yourself with sincerity and diligence to living rightfully as best as you know how in each present moment. So, do not debate amongst yourself and argue against your teacher for intellectual-ego superiority, you can instead find the self-humility, deepest care and sincere receptivity to ask the questions to sages and also of your highest self- what it is that you need to do, be, learn and understand in order to live and be a more profoundly good human being. You have to care about truly understanding- experiencing it fully through sense and heart-mind, and not conflate this with the desire to know and obtain knowing of things which are the workings of a ordinarily high-mind and super-ordinary ego. This question and sincere understanding requires the deepest self-examination, and in this a fearlessness to be utterly truthful with yourself... a form of utter revelation in a transparency of self amongst the sacred, and is best done not only in self-contemplation when necessary, but also in silence and through learning progressively deeper forms of empty meditation.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Small Fur
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Posted (edited)

Small Fur,  Thank you for those very far reaching reflections!

 

On the opposite end would you also reflect on evil, great willful destructive and malicious evil, both human and demonic, that for whatever reasons it seems most people at this site do not want to address or comment on, with some seemingly sounding as if they are far above such lesser conditions or the subjects of;  yet I'd say there is no enlightenment or Love without also facing the "dark side" (potential of or actual evil)  both within and without of ourselves, besides our so called normal human ego type of challenges in the context of what you describe as "utter revelation"?

 

There are several sayings in tangent that could be gone into such as, "Love thine enemy" which could turn into a dangerous exercise if misapplied... or the La La land of "new age" type of love that does not include hard and tough wisdom lessons and exacting dharmic ways and responsibilities.   And there is the factual saying that the further we climb the further we can fall, thus and along that line in Buddhist history there is  the story of Milarepa and his fall into black magic, which he fortunately recovered from.  On a different note there is the story of how the historic Buddha recognized and gave witness to the goddess of the Earth who helped him in his battle against evil/mara,  which btw I've noticed that to some Buddhists such gods and goddesses are dismissed as being unimportant or even demeaned as just more and mere illusions... ?

 

In addition to a Small Fur replying or not,  anyone else is welcome to speak up. 

Edited by old3bob

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Posted (edited)

 

11 hours ago, ťěŹšłČŚ≠Ě said:

This means Tao friends 'cannot love each other, because if they love each other will tie up their hearts. Cannot not love each other, because having no love will abandon each other emotionally.

 

Love without falling in love, find the middle path of these, that is suitable.'

I hope¬† ťěŹšłČŚ≠̬† doesn't mind, that I am quoting this from another thread, but I found it also fitting here and would like to pose in a question regarding 'the middle path of these' combined with what Small Fur said in this thread

 

On 28.6.2022 at 3:12 AM, Small Fur said:

This love which we can illuminate all things is not found in the conditions of empathy; instead it is a recognition in a very deep wisdom that results in profound compassion. Such a deep compassion comes from not only wisdom and knowledge of the transcendent, but also from insight born of great humility that begins firstly through a process of self-recognition and understanding. This self-realization when profound leads beyond the self, and when that entity of self is dissolved it is through that that you recognize the transcendent universal or the Original, and eventually also the Emptiness. These conditions and the actions born from them cannot be prematurely or naively contrived in yourself through mere willingness and arbitrary decision because they are not a process of ordinary mind, emotion or unconscious spirit. This is also why love itself cannot be ordinary, and when it is True and deep, it is extraordinary and transcendent, and thus from that state it is also selfless and compassionate. (...) It is not that you cannot have insight and recognition of other's pain and suffering- which is one aspect of empathy, but to take on their suffering or psyche as your own (which is a hallmark of empathy), is to subsume yourself in the unconsciousness resonance. To begin to dissolve these attachments while remaining in the integrity of what is inherent and rightful, what is essential and truly good, helps you develop a clear spirit that acts from and lives from the essence of rightfulness- untangling the wounds and confusions: the sufferings of karma. This then, is the foundation of enlightened place from which a true compassion is born, from which love can emanate and illuminate without the desire, the 'burn',  the confusion of self and other, and the tumultum that you speak of.

I understand willingness and arbitrary decision will not help, if one hasn't been lead beyond the self, to act on compassion instead of empathy (unconscious resonance)... but is there no way to 'get there by approximation' like the graph of a mathematical function that goes close to zero, even while never reaching it?

 

What would you say is the difference in it... what is compassion, that empathy is not?

 

 

Ideas on this, - anyone ?

Spoiler

The association that came to my mind was the picture of Jesus de Nazareth and Mary Magdalene in the garden, with his words of 'noli me tangere' (probably not it latin, though: 'don't touch me', in english), stopping her from having her love being entangled for only his personality - as at that time, he probably might have already lost it, - would be my guess. What would have been her task, her lesson learned here?


(https://images.fineartamerica.com/images/artworkimages/mediumlarge/1/noli-me-tangere-anton-raphael-mengs.jpg)
noli-me-tangere-anton-raphael-mengs.jpg

 

Edited by schroedingerscat
clarity I differentiation

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On 6/28/2022 at 8:04 AM, old3bob said:

Small Fur,  Thank you for those very far reaching reflections!

 

On the opposite end would you also reflect on evil, great willful destructive and malicious evil, both human and demonic, that for whatever reasons it seems most people at this site do not want to address or comment on, with some seemingly sounding as if they are far above such lesser conditions or the subjects of;  yet I'd say there is no enlightenment or Love without also facing the "dark side" (potential of or actual evil)  both within and without of ourselves, besides our so called normal human ego type of challenges in the context of what you describe as "utter revelation"?

 

There are several sayings in tangent that could be gone into such as, "Love thine enemy" which could turn into a dangerous exercise if misapplied... or the La La land of "new age" type of love that does not include hard and tough wisdom lessons and exacting dharmic ways and responsibilities.   And there is the factual saying that the further we climb the further we can fall, thus and along that line in Buddhist history there is  the story of Milarepa and his fall into black magic, which he fortunately recovered from.  On a different note there is the story of how the historic Buddha recognized and gave witness to the goddess of the Earth who helped him in his battle against evil/mara,  which btw I've noticed that to some Buddhists such gods and goddesses are dismissed as being unimportant or even demeaned as just more and mere illusions... ?

 

In addition to a Small Fur replying or not,  anyone else is welcome to speak up. 

I would stay focused on the Love. 
Trust Love.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, zerostao said:

I would stay focused on the Love. 
Trust Love.

 

yea that is the saying , but without aligned power to back it up it is idealistic and impressionable which can also be dangerous.  (and there are those waiting for such to come along)

Edited by old3bob

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1 hour ago, old3bob said:

 

yea that is the saying , but without aligned power to back it up it is idealistic and impressionable which can also be dangerous.  (and there are those waiting for such to come along)

What is more powerful than Love?

I didn’t say it to be saying a saying.

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11 minutes ago, zerostao said:

What is more powerful than Love?

I didn’t say it to be saying a saying.

 

we could say "love" ranges from a A-Z  so it depends on what you mean by it.  Remember the "free love" movement that was often not free at all with STD's and painful phycological impacts.  It sounds like you mean the Love from God but that too is open to major differences about its workings...  

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4 hours ago, schroedingerscat said:

What would you say is the difference in it... what is compassion, that empathy is not?

 

 

Ideas on this, - anyone ?

 

 

empathy has it's boundaries, sometimes the suffering of the other is so vast that empathy just breaks down. Compassion is boundless. 

 

"Noli me tangere" is the Latin version of the original Greek expression "mê mou haptou". These three words can be translated in different ways: "don't touch me", "don't hold me" or "don't approach me".

 

sometimes I think that it's " do not touch me" as your body  will not be able to stand up to this high energetic state,

but mostly I feel it's " don't hold me ( back) , let go of your attachment to me"

 


 

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The air that enters one's body, though one says, "I breathe...my breath", in reality, there's no ownership, and no real source. Compassion is pretty much similar. Like space (or air), there's an infiniteness to genuine compassion. The idea that it's merely attributable within the limits of persons (like empathy, for example), is a mistake. Vision sensitive to expansiveness enables the witnessing of compassion in the whole of existence. It can be seen and felt in the smallest processes of nature, to the grosser, more directly cognized flows and ebbs of human to human relationships, and also human to the subtle processes in the natural world. Though without location, it is always possible to harness its potential. 

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when relating to someone who is suffering a lot of things can happen.

trying to fix it for instance, or telling the sufferer to understand it's not that bad, or judging the sufferer as he or she should ... whatever, change her/ his behavior and/or  his/her attitude. Mostly we try to change something when confronted with the suffering of a fellow human being.

 

empathic behavior is based on the ability to feel what the other feels, sort of. So to be able to sit with the pain of the other. I always like this video to explain it.

 

 

Well, there are many forms of suffering that I cannot even begin to think I can relate to, thankfully. We have refugees from Ukraine living here in our village, I do not know what they've been through, what there still going through as their husbands, fathers and sons are still there. They are uprooted. I can think lots of things about it but I do not know, cannot know what they feel, so I can't really empathize uh...

 

compassion does none of the changing behavior or attitude, neither does compassion need to be able to feel what the other is going  through

 

compassion acknowledges there is suffering, that's all. It's the ultimate "sitting with the pain"

The person who is the recipient of compassion feels seen, heard, feels his hurt, her suffering is totally accepted, that her pain, his anguish is acknowledged.

From the viewpoint of the sufferer this is enormously soothing, like you can breathe again. ( but i suspect the result is also a possibility to develop further into how you relate to suffering. As, by having it acknowledged, you can start to acknowledge it yourself.)

 

thinking of Quan Yin, she who heard the crying of anguish from the world and went back to that world.

 

APWHB30-F.jpg

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, blue eyed snake said:

when relating to someone who is suffering a lot of things can happen.

trying to fix it for instance, or telling the sufferer to understand it's not that bad, or judging the sufferer as he or she should ... whatever, change her/ his behavior and/or  his/her attitude. Mostly we try to change something when confronted with the suffering of a fellow human being.

 

empathic behavior is based on the ability to feel what the other feels, sort of. So to be able to sit with the pain of the other. I always like this video to explain it.

 

 

Well, there are many forms of suffering that I cannot even begin to think I can relate to, thankfully. We have refugees from Ukraine living here in our village, I do not know what they've been through, what there still going through as their husbands, fathers and sons are still there. They are uprooted. I can think lots of things about it but I do not know, cannot know what they feel, so I can't really empathize uh...

 

compassion does none of the changing behavior or attitude, neither does compassion need to be able to feel what the other is going  through

 

compassion acknowledges there is suffering, that's all. It's the ultimate "sitting with the pain"

The person who is the recipient of compassion feels seen, heard, feels his hurt, her suffering is totally accepted, that her pain, his anguish is acknowledged.

From the viewpoint of the sufferer this is enormously soothing, like you can breathe again. ( but i suspect the result is also a possibility to develop further into how you relate to suffering. As, by having it acknowledged, you can start to acknowledge it yourself.)

 

thinking of Quan Yin, she who heard the crying of anguish from the world and went back to that world.

 

APWHB30-F.jpg

 

 

 

true enough which in no way negates or limits any other ways spirit may try to reach out,  for instance a wise master may come along and knock us up the side of the head (mostly figuratively although that may not always be the case) and that too can work as a different form of connection/teaching. 

Edited by old3bob

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21 hours ago, natural said:

Does commensurate play any role in this?

 

think my command of the english language is failing me here.

You mean whether it is 'large' or 'small' suffering?

 

Methinks Quan Yin would hear all voices, regardless of the reason or the 'amount' of suffering.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, blue eyed snake said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by natural
double post

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Posted (edited)

 

1 hour ago, blue eyed snake said:

 

think my command of the english language is failing me here.

You mean whether it is 'large' or 'small' suffering?

 

Methinks Quan Yin would hear all voices, regardless of the reason or the 'amount' of suffering.

 

 

 

Yes, wouldn't a shout gather more attention than a whisper?

Edited by natural
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12 hours ago, natural said:

 

Yes, wouldn't a shout gather more attention than a whisper?

 

True, perhaps with the only exception being the careless kind, according to Wham. 

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On 7/1/2022 at 5:43 AM, C T said:

The air that enters one's body, though one says, "I breathe...my breath", in reality, there's no ownership, and no real source. Compassion is pretty much similar. Like space (or air), there's an infiniteness to genuine compassion. The idea that it's merely attributable within the limits of persons (like empathy, for example), is a mistake. Vision sensitive to expansiveness enables the witnessing of compassion in the whole of existence. It can be seen and felt in the smallest processes of nature, to the grosser, more directly cognized flows and ebbs of human to human relationships, and also human to the subtle processes in the natural world. Though without location, it is always possible to harness its potential. 

If there is compassion then, must non-self also be realized and embodied in the practicioner?

 

I understand and much appreciate @blue eyed snake 's post/viewpoint on compassion (and the shoutout to Guan Yin :) )... yet this is such a point of confusion for me. A year ago I confined in a Theravada monk who I befriended that I felt bad that I wasn't wholeheartedly suffering with my brother when him and my sister-in-law lost their first daughter to stillbirth... my friend asked me, "Why in the world would you cultivate dukkha?" in a way to encourage me and re-assure me that this was beneficial for me to me emotionally removed. I said Thich Nhat Hanh use to say karuna translates to compassion in english but in reality means more "To Suffer With". I was listening to the audiobook "Being Peace" by Thich Nhat Hanh a month or two ago and he said when he would write letters to Vietnamese orphans... first he would Become Them. At the one retreat I was at where he was in physical attendance in the Summer of 2013, he would talk to the audience as that he was also us, that he was also a tree, that he was also a cloud. He talked about the hardest thing being "not to get lost in despair". HIs poetry (Call me by my True Names is a book/collection of his poetry and also a super powerful poem of his touching on the non-seperation of self and other) seems to reflect this, and the absurd amount of suffering witnessed living so many of his formative years during the Vietnam War, him, his people, and his spiritual kin being persecuted in many different directions. At the intro of the book "Call me by my True Names" he has a brief poem:

 

"If you deeply touch the historical dimension,

You touch the Ultimate Dimension.

 

If you deeply touch the Ultimate Dimension,

You never left the historical dimension".

 

(I quoted that from memory so might have missed a thing or two).

 

My other favorite teacher, Sheng Yen seemed to have the very same devotion and aspiration and seriousness about the suffering of others and all beings, but from what I remember he seemed to say that enlightened/enlightened bodhisattvas don't suffer, they just spontaneously respond to causes and conditions out wisdom and compassion... seeing through appearances in the midst of appearances, reflecting emotions without letting them solidify or getting lost in them, staying rooted in clarity and wisdom.

 

Besides the metaphysical inquiry, It's curious for me how to relate to this still in my life, probably about a year after I made the initial post. I can see how getting lost in the suffering of others debilitates me, leads me to fearful self-negation, and ends up depleting me of my capactites to help others or myself, and thus in a very real way is harmful. But the flipside of this seems to be a protective detachment/emotional withdrawal, which also depletes me of feeling love... for myself or others, or without object. I end up in this very self-involved loop of trying to make myself good enough in whatever confused way that is to compensate for my yearning for purpose and love.... that is tangible, has roots, and makes life seems viscerally meaningful, as it feels like I have limited capacity to keep all things in a natural uncontrived harmony. All of my emotions and mind and aspiration get so entangled, ensnarled, confused. But even in the midst of profound transformation, healing, growth... it continuously has a baseline of "Is this it?" and the relative emotional resignation that comes with it, and the repression of nearly a decade of intense suffering that is hard for me to make sense of, and thus integrate.

 

Going back to Guan Yin in conclusion, I think of the story of Miaoshan (who is sometimes seen as a manifestion of Guan Yin i think)... skipping a lot of the details of the story, she ends up sacrificing herself to her father who was a greedy, unkind king, plucking out her own eyeballs to cure him or something like that. After her physical death, the story goes that she either plunges into or visits the hell realms, sees the unfathomable suffering that is there, gives away all of her merit boundlessly... to the point where Yama (the king of hell I think) starts pleading with her to stop, that her doing this could empty the hell realms, which he would not like!

 

Whether I summarized that succinctly and accurately or not, and whether it be inspirational fable rooted in non-wisdom, or inspiration parable rooted in genuine aspiration, the point is the same and my confusion remains.

 

One last last thing! I think of the quote my a famous Tibetan teacher from centuries ago,

"To view all sentient beings

As your only child

Falling into a pit of fire"

 

And the image by another Tibetan teacher that the rareness and preciousness of encountering the Dharma is like a turtle drifting through the ocean getting his head caught in a golden ring.

 

So I hope to understand, treasure, enjoy my rare opportunity, and I hope to figure out how to navigate the confusing and messy universe of love, empathy, kindness, compassion, detachment, independence, inner and outer truthfull/clarity/wisdom, and equanimity+peace.

 

-Elliot _/\_

 

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@TranquilTurmoil

 

Hi Elliot... 

 

Deep appreciation for sharing your thoughts. 

 

I'm familiar with the poem, "Call me by my true names." Thay was a wonderful teacher. 

He spoke to the heart. Thank you for honouring his wisdom thru your reflections _/\_

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On 7/29/2021 at 10:49 AM, TranquilTurmoil said:

I was just reading this article which was an excerpt of a dhamma talk by Ajahn Chah :https://www.lionsroar.com/nibbana-is-giving-up-letting-go-and-being-free/

 

The article as well as TTC got me thinking... is it universally wise that we ought to temper our love for the individuals we care about? Our family, friends, love interests, pets? Or is this more applicable to the Theravada tradition Ajahn Chah practices that seeks to totally transcend Samsara? Im thinking in relation to my life while I had and hope to have again (to as strong an extent) universal loving-kindness, getting too close to individuals has led me to be emotionally burnt. While this isn't inherently "bad" or "misfortune", it doesn't seem like something worth repeating.

 

So I'm wondering what various perspectives you all might have on skillful and beneficial uses and cultivation of universal love (as in relation to personal bonds with loved ones), how to avoid the pitfall of attachment (or at the very least unhealthy attachment), when loving-kindness in a detached and universal sense is more appropriate than love and the connections/bonds formed upon it.

 

Even further, I'm wondering if even loving-kindness needs to be moderated as strong loving-kindness can lead to strong love and the risk of attachment/unhealthy attachment.

 

For me the important thing is to recognize that there is a tendency to over identify with the wide variety of roles I play in life.

It is not about tempering my love for anyone or anything, it is about the false limiting of my sense of self as a consequence of the relationship. In any situation, I can see that I over identify with my side of a relationship or interaction. It can be my job, my role as a father, a lover, a husband, an addict, a member of a political affiliation, an illness, or a religion, and one of the trickiest is that of a spiritual practitioner. Whatever it is, my identification with my role is only a fraction of who and what I am. There may come a time when I recognize that I am unbounded by any particular definition and profoundly interconnected with everything I experience. Unconditional love is a natural consequence of the recognition of the unbounded and unrestrained nature of our fundamental being but it cannot be created or cultivated, IMO. We create the proper conditions and allow it to blossom. When that happens it is clear that there is no need to limit ourselves, especially when it comes to love and relationships. 

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4 hours ago, steve said:

 

For me the important thing is to recognize that there is a tendency to over identify with the wide variety of roles I play in life.

It is not about tempering my love for anyone or anything, it is about the false limiting of my sense of self as a consequence of the relationship. In any situation, I can see that I over identify with my side of a relationship or interaction. It can be my job, my role as a father, a lover, a husband, an addict, a member of a political affiliation, an illness, or a religion, and one of the trickiest is that of a spiritual practitioner. Whatever it is, my identification with my role is only a fraction of who and what I am. There may come a time when I recognize that I am unbounded by any particular definition and profoundly interconnected with everything I experience. Unconditional love is a natural consequence of the recognition of the unbounded and unrestrained nature of our fundamental being but it cannot be created or cultivated, IMO. We create the proper conditions and allow it to blossom. When that happens it is clear that there is no need to limit ourselves, especially when it comes to love and relationships. 

My most overwhelmingly positive spiritual experience came when I was 21. In the midst of the spontaneous unfolding of peace, insight, and potent vitality, my heart filled with love. This love itself arose spontaneously, but given my relatively unique causes and conditions, this experience came into being with a fully intact ego (which swelled immediately during and after the experience). The love I felt was both within me and directed outwardly to anyone in front of me and anyone from my past on my mind. As I was so severely traumatized in the year and specifically 6 months or so prior to the experience, had become misdiagnosed with schizophrenia at that time (which stuck with me for the next 6.5 years) and lost all of my relationships I had formed in this lifetime... even though the experience was profoundly healing, and opened a window into a world/realm I had only read about in books... I didn't actually feel whole from it. It was inspiring and wonderful, but I still felt I needed objects for my love to become whole again. I have only found objects for that love in fleeting moments, weeks, months experiences in the 8 years that followed, and my heart is still quite open given minimally supportive conditions that my conditioned mind doesn't irrationally reject in a spirit of grasping what I feel I was deprived of/aversion to what I feel I wanted/needed all of these eyars.

 

In the midst of that experience I could see that what manifested in me was beyond the limited self I had identified with for 21 years, and yet the limited self grabbed it for it's own pride and ideation. In the last year, after painfully breaking from my life as a solitary devotee to the I Ching after people on this forum thankfully convinced me that I had been led astray by my experiences and translation I relied on, the more positive identities of my limited self largely dissolved or were at least buried underneath the pain of all of that, and all that i endured in a spirit of self-sacrifice, faith, hope, extraordinary use of will... bursting through without genuine spaces to help me process, intergrate that experience in a spirit of genuine care, curiousity, loving-kindness, compassion. My discriminating consciousness/ego/manas/"I,Me,Mine" is still quite intact though. In the past couple of months, since starting to work with a Taoist teacher in combination with the Buddhist mentors, therapist, and dharma friend or two I have connected with, and learning how to honor my experience and not minimize myself in a contrived and self-negating fashion, I have made profound leaps toward re-integration, while still maintaining the lack of a solid identity. This was coincidentally preceded by an excruciatingly painful breakup with my first girlfriend in a decade, and I have found in these past couple of months, in the midst of experiences of wonder, open-heartedness, spontaneous pleasure/happiness/appreciation... the pleasant experiences don't stick or take root in my psyche, whilst the painful ones leave a disproportionately large imprint. 

 

I think my middle way right to now is to recognize that my attachments to people, ideas, identities, come from the false discriminating mind (xi shen in small fur's post), and that love arises spontaneously when causes and conditions are fertile enough for it to bloom... which sometimes are quite minimal. And yet, I don't know as of yet how to skillfully to seperate the arising of love from the objectification process, and that overly willfully trying to be independent of my attachments (as I recognize on some level their futility and continual collapsing into unsatisfactoriness) leaves me in a state that feels nihilistic and without loving connection to me. I'm sure this situation will evolve over time. Thanks to everyone who responded, shared, and cared.

 

 

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Thank you for sharing your path.

The potential for nihilism is high when we investigate the nature of self. It’s very important to focus not only on the illusory nature of self but particularly on the fullness of experience. On my path, there is practice with the openness and connection that gives rise to all experience which becomes a refuge of sorts that fills the void we may experience when releasing self-identification.

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1 hour ago, steve said:

Thank you for sharing your path.

The potential for nihilism is high when we investigate the nature of self. It’s very important to focus not only on the illusory nature of self but particularly on the fullness of experience. On my path, there is practice with the openness and connection that gives rise to all experience which becomes a refuge of sorts that fills the void we may experience when releasing self-identification.

I guess this is where my metaphysical inquiry/inner conflict always seems to get stuck. I assume what you are alluding to is the Nature of Mind and/or the Source, depending of my limited understanding of what these words point to, and my inner conflict is seeing it contrasted with samsara, which also seems to mean different things to different people, teachers, traditions, whether it is acknowledged or not. It just seems like samsara goes on for such an unfathomable amount of time for the overwhelming majority of beings... including almost all of the beings I have known and loved in this lifetime. I see the fullness of experience regularly enough now to make life worthwhile, which is an immeasurable gift even if it doesn't hit home yet. But I don't know how to make sense of all the relationships and bonds I have shared thus far, or how to reconcile a spiritual path that seems either resigned to the way things are, or has a deep trust in the way things are. I don't have nearly enough insight to have a deep trust in the way things are for all beings (or to understand no-self/nonself on a deeper level than I do in my discombulated state), and I don't know how to make sense of life experiencing pleasantness, wonder, reclaiming a sense of purpose in a vast ocean of suffering if it comes from a place of resignation to the way things are. It took so much forbearance, effort, perseverance, and lack of any other reasonable option just to get help before, during, and after breaking from the I Ching, and the only reason I had enough of that to survive and keep going was because of the absurdity I had to bear during that 8 year period. Most of the deeply suffering folks I have met in my journey don't have causes and conditions to get real help even if they wanted to I feel, and seemed bound to prolonged suffering. It's not my fault or spiritual teacher's and friends fault that that is thier current condition, but I find it all confusing to the point where I just release thinking about it with my surface mind and become inwardly focuses in a hyper-vigilant way.

 

Without overly contriving it, I want to find a way to end this post in a light-hearted or joyful way that I haven't yet figured out...

 

"A Pilgrimage Can't compare to a Good Laugh

A good laugh can't compare to simply Letting Yourself Go

 

Once you are at peace,

letting yourself go

And leaving Change Behind

Only then do you enter the Solitary Mystery of Heaven"

 

-Zhaungzhi

 

*Shrugs

 

_/\_      :) 

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