Nibbana tangent part 1 (Agnosticism)

by David Turell @, Friday, May 17, 2024, 18:41 (27 days ago) @ xeno6696

MATT: I feel the issue you might have is less with equanimity and more with attachment. The best way I can explain this, is that attachment implies a notion of control. […]when you see the word "attachment" in Buddhism, you should be thinking more along the lines of a love that does not control or make demands. […] Any feeling that creates a sense of possession ought to be discarded. "This is ME! That is MINE!" are OK with a healthy detachment.

I have no idea why you think attachment implies control, especially in the context of love. Of course relationships break down if one partner takes no notice of the other’s needs. If you think that form of attachment implies control, you need a language lesson and a marriage guidance counsellor! And your last comment seems to me to be contradictory. I possess my house and my worldly goods, and my students thanked me for the help I gave them, and the audience cheered my last play production. I get pleasure out of “this is me and mine”. Why should I “discard” that sense? But then you say I needn’t discard it if I have a healthy detachment. Thank you! My view is that there is intrinsically nothing whatsoever wrong with possession or with thinking in terms of this is me/mine. But as in most areas of human life, something perfectly “healthy” can turn into something extremely unhealthy when carried to extremes, e.g. the only thing that matters in life is that I should own as much property as I can get, and to hell with the damage I cause to other people. (See Part Two for my concept of a "healthy" balance.)


I'll deal with the contradiction first: IN Buddhism you have the Four Noble Truths. It's placed in the context of rebirth, take that as you will, but you have to have some awareness of where the ideas come from.

1. There is suffering
2. The cause of suffering is craving, attachment, desire
3. The cessation of suffering is in letting go of the above
4. The Buddha's Eightfold path is what you do in order to achieve this letting go

The word "attachment" that you seem so hung up on... it directly implies ego in Buddhism. You can love without attachment. That's kind of the whole point of our english phrase "if you love something, let it go." To live without attachment in Buddhism, is to live without feelings of possession, to give up feelings of control, to always err against ego. You acknowledge this directly when you say "I needn’t discard it if I have a healthy detachment. ..can turn extremely unhealthy when carried to extremes..." You recognize that too much is bad. Monastic traditions in general, and Buddhism in particular, gives a set of practices to do exactly that. The practices on offer

The highest form of Love in Christianity is Agape. Agape is literally, "selfless love." You would give up your life for the sake of another, and ultimate expression of giving up control. In this, Buddhism and Christianity strive for the same thing. Attachment implies control because attachment involves the ego which wants everything to be "ME/MINE" and wants to hold onto everything forever--which it can't as there is nothing in this world that is permanent.

"My view is that there is intrinsically nothing whatsoever wrong with possession or with thinking in terms of this is me/mine."

Right... but at the same time every civilization that has ever existed has created social institutions to deal with me/mine precisely because if you don't muzzle it, that is what causes terrible problems.

In Buddhism, you're taught to acknowledge the "conventional" self, such that you don't bind too strongly with "Me/Mine." It's not that its intrinsically evil--nothing that every living being is subject to can be intrinsically evil--but that if you set your goal for Nibbana, you'll never get there without banishing that concept. If you don't want to give up your attachments, then don't set that goal, easy as that. It's not like Christianity, there's no commandment that any given practitioner get on the conveyor belt to Nibbana like there is with Christianity where only with belief in Jesus can you reach heaven. The kinds of problems you seem to have here I simply don't believe apply to anyone who isn't wearing monk's robes. Why aim for Nibbana? If you don't see the possible benefits, then its not for you.

I don't see or need the benefits, so it is not for me.


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