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From: Keith (
Subject: Attachment
Date: December 19, 2005 at 9:22 am PST

In Reply to: question for keith posted by vv on December 18, 2005 at 9:28 pm:

Your question seems to be implying that relationship = attachment. While it is true that most relationships do involve a large amount of attachment (and some are nothing but attachment), this is not necessarily true of all relationships. From a Buddhist point of view, the ideal relationship would be one without attachment.

However, we live in a world that is far from ideal, and I have never seen an unattached relationship either. I try to live my relationship with my wife as well as I am able, and I try to put my Buddhist beliefs and practices to work in my life and relationship as well as I am able. But I am far from perfect, and I admit to having a fair amount of attachment in my relationship.

All that that means is that I am not enlightened yet! Where my Buddhist practice come into it is that I am aware of my attachment, and I am aware that I will pay a price for it.

A big part of Buddhist practice is making it work in the real world. It is too easy to get caught up in exotica or to play mind games in meditation. The challenge is to make it real in daily life. The biggest part of that challenge is balancing an acceptance that one is not yet perfect, not yet enlightened with the wish to make progress towards enlightenment while maintaining awareness that the wish to make progress is dangerously close to being an attachment itself. It is a delicate balance, and all Buddhists wobble around it to some degree.

Pleasure is not a bad thing. Even attachment to pleasure is not a bad thing, though it will cause us suffering eventually. A mature relationship can provide emotional, intellectual and financial stability as well as a considerable amount of joy. If we can enjoy these benefits while remaining unattached to them, there is no price to pay. Even if we have attachments to them - for example, we want them to last forever, or we want them to be other than they are - if we know the price for them, we may be happy to pay it.


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