Thursday, October 02, 2008

Attachment, Impremanance and Buddha

So, here I am back at a thought I keep tripping on. It speaks to the differences between Men and Women, how we move through time and space, and what the big question is. We know the answer is 42, but what was the question right?

Buddha teaches us that life, this world, the things and even people in it don't last, so why get attached to anything right?

Well hold on here fella, not so fast!

The "attrition rate" in my life is incredibly high. So many people I love and care about have died. People I've even "hated," have died. Everything and everyone I know now, have known, or will ever know will one day be gone. It's Impermanence in action. One day, POOF! All gone, bye bye, no more, is all gone! So, Buddha says, don't get attached knowing it will one day vanish from existence like it never was before.

Chauncer talked about "Wyrd" the impersonal fate that awaits all of us, and how important it is to leave behind a monument so as people will know we were once here. Beth Neislen Chapman talks about Stone being sand and water, and a million years gone by. Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote:
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Way back in 1850. Smart guy.

And how does this relate to Buddha? When you break it all down, break him all down, as a famous meditation on attachment suggests, you find that Buddha was just a man. A man living in a time and place, dealing best he knew how, with this plane of existence. While more than the sum of his parts, his experiences, his view, his perspective which has survived for thousands of years longer than the new kid on the block (The Late, Great, JC himself!) was limited by his search for enlightenment.

We all filter the world through our own existence, and somehow must transcend it, even while we are experiencing it if we are to find enlightenment. It's kind of amazing when you look at it. But, back to my much belabored point. Buddha was a Prince who felt that no-one should be suffering. A noble thought indeed! He felt so strongly about it he walked away from everything in his life, to spread kindness while walking toward enlightenment. He's still walking. A friend's sister met him once, and he was still walking then. I say, more power to him, he's found his Wa. There's a kind of magic in that kind of existence, but there is more to the 'verse than that.

Men and Women look at life through different filters, each of us regardless of gender, can look at exactly the same thing, and see something completely different. Men tend to be less attached in general to many things that nurture and enrich a woman's soul. Take "porn" for example. Guy porn and girl porn are often so dramatically different as to leave guys (and us) scratching our heads going "I don't get it..." Quite often this is true. Things that turn a guy on do utterly nothing for me, in fact, some of it I find rather repulsive. Things that get me going? A guy will observe it and go "I don't get it..." We are different, and that's okay, even good, because the sexes compliment each other in many ways. Variety is good right? Infinite diversity in infinte combinations according to Spock of Vulcan. You know, for a fictional character, he's a pretty smart guy too, the whole race, pretty smart.

So how does this relate to attachment? Impermanence? Buddhism as a whole? I'm "attached" to the people and things that enrich my life, nurture my soul, and leave me with feelings and memories I'll treasure forever. Like bobby socks and rollerskates, working at the drive in when I was a kid, before the universe hit me. That was back in the fifties, in Denver. People, places, things that don't exist anymore. A ME even that doesn't exist anymore because I took my own life in 1961. Wait, WHAT? How can she be blogging if she killed herself?

Exactly!!! And herein is the rub. Those people, places, things are no less important to me now that they are all, even the me that was then, gone. I'm a better person for having lived it, experienced it, known them. And I'm left with the thoughts and feelings I had then. I was even left with the anger I had then that killed me. Been working on that one, it's this lovely thing called Karma in action. My life, the details, circumstances, and lessons I should have learned last trip, where worse this time. Yup, not three fold as the Wiccan version of Karma says, but certainly enough so as to get my attention, and to encourage me to work a little harder. I was also given Empathy this trip, and learned a vital lesson about perspective. Combined, this is the ultimate eticket for really getting compassion. So, as bad as things have been, I've been majorly blessed too.

Now for the kicker? I chose this. Yup, harder life, all the bits that went into it, the lessons to learn and so on... The "ultimate" Karmic judge? Me. Sitting on the other side with "all the answers" so to speak, and a level of wisdom difficult, but not impossible to achieve in the physical world, I put this all into motion before I took this life, this body.

Admittedly I altered the circumstances of the test. One is not supposed to remember, to know, all the stuff from the other side, or all of one's past lives. One agrees to a short (very short) term memory wipe so that your current life and the lessons here are not tainted by the past. Most of the time, this is a good thing, valuable even as it doesn't throw the whole thing off. Well, your also NOT supposed to take Anger and hostility with you to the other side either. So, to quote "Sarah (but I like shooting other living things from a helicopter) Palain" I'm a bit of a Mavrick.

I remember everything now. I'll be honest, it's a bit like waking from a coma. Slowly things come back to you. Slowly you start to remember, and regain what was lost. It's been like that for me. Some of the things I've learned, well just WOW! So I'm learning things I never expected to find out. Amazing stuff, powerful stuff, and stuff that is going to stand me in good stead for the trip back, which right now I'm no longer in a rush toward.

So, I guess my point is that there is a certain value to "attachment" and even emotion in the long run, because it's the only things you CAN take with you. Doesn't make me love Buddha any less, just's helps me put his perspective into the right context in my over all life. Doesn't show me any less value in Dharma, in the eight fold path, quite the opposite, makes it that much more important to me because anyone I can see, meet, or have anything to do with here, can be, or has been, part of my life before, or again. The four noble truths?

Well here I come to an interesting point to ponder. Buddha was after all a guy. Nothing inherently wrong with that, some of my closest friends are guys. However, they are raised, and socialized in a fashion that tends to somewhat limit their options in terms of emotion. They have a course view, and typically lack the detail, and or the language to express it, deal with it, or value it in terms of their life.

"All emotion is pain" Eh? What? You mean when I stand watching a spectacular light show of a sunset, totally engrossed in being utterly present, I'm hurting myself? That the love I feel for the children in my life is pain too? That the breath taking gasp the whole world takes around three or so in the morning is also painful? That the plants I nourish with love, kindness and Reiki is causing them and me pain? Oh dear, what have I been doing all this time? That the one plant that my sister-in-law was killing slowly that was all but dead is alive because I didn't want to see it suffer and die? Wow, silly me! I could go on, but shant, the point I think has been well met.

I do not now, nor in the thousands of years I've been pondering it, feel that all emotion is pain. Yes, I'm a failure as a Buddhist I guess. Poor deluded soul that I am... (Tongue very much in cheek here...)

So, on I go, walking the middle path and touching as much of the world with kindness, compassion, empathy, perspective and synergy as I am able.

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