4

When we consider attachment as something we want to stay present with, and aversion as something we try to push away, can we say there is a continuum present?

More specifically, does reducing attachment simultaneously reduce aversion, and vice versa? I have diminished a lot of attachments lately, and I still dreadfully struggle to tackle aversive tasks and engage in effort.

Are they completely unrelated?

EDIT: Also, what is the best way to tackle aversion?

Thank you.

2

From the point of view of Theravadin Buddhism, which views mindfulness meditation that generates insight to be the only way to Enlightenment, detachment has a very specific purpose. It is viewed as a preparation or enhancement of upacara samadhi, which is an objective, calm, undistracted, and focused state of mind that is conducive to psychological insight (which, in turn, is required to overcome suffering and achieve Enlightenment). From this point of view, the only kind of attachment that needs to be temporarily suppressed is one that prevents the meditator from gaining upacara samadhi. This kind of attachment cannot be equated with pleasure. For example, some people experience the physical world and the physical presence of their body in that world as the only reality. This experience can be pleasant, unpleasant, or neither, depending upon the circumstances. Such a person is “attached” to this physicality because he or she experiences it as the only reality. When such a person practices mindfulness meditation, the only insights that make sense to him or her are those that make sense in the context of this experience. The kind of insights needed for Enlightenment are beyond this frame of reference. Such a person may be advised to practice the contemplation of the stages of decomposition in order to detach from this frame of reference. Perhaps surprising to the person who has no understanding of the psychology of this contemplation is the fact that often results in a blissful state of mind. If not practiced correctly, it can result in a morbid state of mind. In contrast to this sophisticated understanding of detachment, there is the common, ignorant, and false view that all forms of pleasure are forms of attachment and that progress towards Enlightenment consists of suppressing (becoming detached from) all forms of pleasure. Unfortunately, the suppression of pleasure does not generate the psychological insight needed to make real progress. The same can be said for the suppression of aversion. There is no continuum between attachment and aversion because they are not opposites. If by “diminishing attachments” you mean the avoidance, suppression, or reduction of pleasure, then you are not practicing any traditional form of Theravadin practice. And, if you “dreadfully struggle to engage in effort” to meditate, then you may be undermining your capacity of upacara samadhi. But, in all fairness, I would need to know a lot more about your situation to offer you any advice.

1

When ignorance is present, from attachment as a condition, only two results can arise:

  1. Suffering or
  2. happiness that ends in suffering.

There are many ways in which we suffer.

One of them is being aversive when we don't want to be aversive.

You stated in your question that you "dreadfully struggle to tackle aversive tasks". From this, I assume, you're being aversive when you don't want to be aversive. Thus, this aversion that you have is creating a kind of suffering for you. Or lets just say that this aversion is not pleasant for you ... you want to get rid of it.

The aversion you're experiencing is because of your attachments.

To get rid of aversion, you must destroy attachments.

How?

Totally calm your mind. Empty your mind.

From total emptiness, make an effort to arise any thought you wish.

Observe how the thought arises.

Once the thought arises, observe it. Look at it. Note it.

Then, in the same way you made your mind totally calm and empty, repeat it and observe how the thought ceases.

Do the above many many times. Don't do it just with thoughts. Try it with anything you can feel with the mind sense.

Do it with sounds. Listen to a sound in your mind. Then, in the same way you made your mind totally calm and empty, repeat it and observe how the sound ceases.

Do it with any mental formation, like a visual or sensation of smell or sensation of taste or an idea or a concept ... anything that you create in your mind. Then, in the same way you made your mind totally calm and empty, repeat it and observe how the mental formation ceases.

Do it when you're hungry and you crave to eat something delicious. Then, in the same way you made your mind totally calm and empty, repeat it and observe how the craving for food ceases.

Do it with your emotions, like fear or anger or sadness or nervousness. Then, in the same way you made your mind totally calm and empty, repeat it and observe how the emotions cease.

Do it when you're bored to death. Then, in the same way you made your mind totally calm and empty, repeat it and observe how the boredom ceases.

Then, do it with aversion. Then, in the same way you made your mind totally calm and empty, repeat it and observe how aversion ceases.

If you can do the above successfully, as described, you'll see why aversion arises and why it ceases. You'll see it. You'll see it. Seeing it, you'll know. You'll know.

Knowing why it ceases, you'll make it cease whenever you wish. And no, you won't need to go in meditation in order to make it cease. You'll just do it. Like moving a finger.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.