Non-attachment in a Materialistic World

If you live a “normal” western life in which the pursuit of career, family and social standing is important to you it is likely that you will be attached to all sorts of things. These might include your reputation, your children, your car, the pet budgerigar, your money in the bank, your self-image and your view of the world, your ideas on what constitutes life the universe and everything. You may well be prone to arguing the toss about mundane and trivial things. You may even imagine that you have a life philosophy of sorts. If you are so minded, missing the observation of grown men kicking a bag of wind around in front of tens of thousands of other “grown” men and women is something that you would prefer not to do. You may find it difficult not to care who is where in the premier league football results table, which on occasion you will feel impelled to check.

It is beyond your comprehension that anyone may not be attached to worldly and mundane things in a similar manner to you. You will have no concept or feeling or understanding of what non-attachment means. It might exist as a pseudo-intellectual possibility in which some geezers wearing funny robes, probably of Indian or Asian extraction and maybe be monks are non-attached. But it would be very hard to reconcile that someone you once knew, who was fond of a shandy or two, could be non-attached. Therefore, you would perhaps project your own attachment on to him and imagine that he had similar attachment-based drivers and motives as you do.

You would find it really difficult not to become attached to any thoughts which might arise in the mind, partially because you like to argue the toss. If you believe in binary answers like right or wrong, you would be seeking certainty and absolute certainty if possible. You may find it difficult to detach from your thoughts or rather the internal dialogue which masquerades as thought. You will live largely in a world parametrised by your internal dialogue and the social conditioning which surrounds you and into which you are a fully paid up and subscribed member.

If someone said to you read the Diamond sutra, you might read it, but could you attain it?

Pseudo-intellectual exercise and living practice differ considerably. The diamond sutra contains an intellectual trap for those keen on debate.

If you are keen or adamant on being right because you suffer from self-diagnosed omniscience the very first line will possibly slip by unregistered, because if you do fully register it AND agree with it your entire world view will come tumbling down.

All appearance is delusion.

Your view of yourself as a human being is a bit off. Your picture is assembled by mind.

What your eyes see is probably different from what you cognitively assimilate. If you think about it even a little, your pictorial images in your mind are built from a cis-trans isomerism photochemical reaction and yet you imagine yourself as some serious important dude or a glamorous chick!!

People are greedy, they covet all sorts of stuff. There is a psychologically manipulative industry which encourages covetousness, it is called advertising. We have this new species “influencer”, allegedly.

Inherent in the Diamond sutra is the teaching of impermanence, everything changes and fades.

I view this sutra as saying, please stop taking yourself so God dammed seriously, admit you don’t know everything, live fully in the moment, relax a little {if you can} and stop being so attached to shit because existence is fleeting, savour and respect it whilst you can.

My view is that we do not own anything we temporarily have a loan of things and can be grateful for that. We can appreciate instead of demand, insist and covet.

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Here is a little exercise.

Fill a sink partially with some water.

Open your hand and make a palm. Pick up some water with your hand.

How much can you hold and how long for?

Next place your hand under water and try to grab some water with your fist. Clench your fist as tight as you can.

How much can you hold and how long for?

Which of these two is best?