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Has anybody personal experience in trying this ? Is it not natural to have some attachment? I realize attachment is a cause of suffering but is suffering not natural?

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Attachment to that which is impermanent will result in suffering. Attachment is clinging or holding onto something, resisting change, seeking to duplicate past experiences when that is simply unreliable or even impossible.

One can live a normal life without attaching - we can do this by ceasing to fall prey to our habitual judgements and reactions, cultivating a mindfulness that sees things as they are, without a faulty bias or colored glass to see with. When we are not mindful of our feeling, perceptions, or judgements, we get carried away with the proliferation resulting from that. One can enjoy music or a garden without becoming attached to it - you know these flowers will wither, and the music will fade to silence, yet they are still pleasant. As long as you are aware of their Impermanence and the fact you judge them as pleasant, you'll be fine.

Seeing clearly, without judgements, leads to Equanimity, which leads to non-attachment, which leads to peace, which is freedom from suffering. The more Equanimity, the less suffering. When we see clearly, we see all things as impermanent, not capable of satisfying our desire, and therefore not worth attaching to or identifying with. When one truly knows attachment as the precursor of suffering, it is easy to avoid, like you avoid putting your hand in open flame.

When attachment arises, become mindful of it. Ask, is it skillful, leading towards relinquishment and freedom? Ask, is this attachment permanent, satisfying, or truly mine? Then, simply observe as you let it go. How does it feel to release an attachment, to watch a desire fade away? When you resist the urge to eat that candy bar, how do you feel? Try it out. Come and see. ;)

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I think it's important to define what do you mean by "natural".

Are you defining it as "statistically normal/frequent", or maybe as "intrinsic and necessary to the human condition"?

If it's the former, then I'd argue than a lot behaviors are normal, but that does not make them wholesome, beneficial nor necessary; if it's the latter, then I'd ask you: how do you know that suffering is necessary and inseparable from the human condition? Is it because most people say so? Is it because you've never seen someone that could've gone beyond suffering?

And from those last questions, I'd ask: How do you define "suffering"?

Remember that the Buddha used the word "dukkha" to describe the mental phenomenon he wanted (and, in my opinion, successfully did) to eradicate through the Path he (re)discovered: the Noble Eightfold Path.

"Dukkha" is polisemic word, that is, it has multiple possible renderings: sure, one of them might be "suffering", but such translation is too broad and culturally loaded. Some translators prefer instead "stress" or "pain". I think the most optimal term might be "unsatisfactoriness".

And thus, the Noble Eightfold Path is the training to uproot insaisfaction, through the eradication of its conditions; namely, craving/greed (tanha/raga), aversion (dosa) and ignorance (avijja/moha).

By getting rid of such conditions, insatisfaction cease to be present. By reaching this state, the person is at peace, no matter what outer conditions may arise or cease. In other words, such peace is unconditioned, and not dependent on having this or that. Physical pain may still arise, but the mind becomes unshakable and not influenced by it.

Kind regards!

  • It's been awhile since I have read much on Buddhism. I have been reading quite a bit on non attachment through Anthony De Mello but im aware it's a Buddhist teaching. Anyway I don't think you answered my question. It was a personal question to get the experiences or stories of others. But I do agree with you that attachment is not necessarily positive. On the whole it isn't if at all. – Barryseeker Aug 28 at 12:16
  • @Barryseeker Ideally an answer is based on something e.g. based on experience or a reference. But this is a "Question and answer" site and not a discussion forum, and "What is your experience with X?" is seen as a "polling question" (where you're "polling" users) and not a good type of question to ask on this site. So I'm not surprised that people answer it as if you had asked, "What does Buddhism mean by 'attachment' and isn't that just natural and not a problem?" An ideal question type is instead something like, "I have a problem with X" (for example, "What does X mean?" or "How do you X?"). – ChrisW Aug 28 at 14:22
  • Thanks for clarifying that Chris but you still didn't deal with the kernel of my issue. Sometimes a person's experience of trying something is illuminating. I don't feel academic responses or citing rules is all that helpful. This ain't a court of law. Rules can be stretched or non attached ! – Barryseeker Aug 29 at 15:58
  • @Barryseeker I suppose someone could answer your questions with "Yes (some people do try this), and yes (attachment and suffering are kind of natural)." Theoretically that would answer your question, but wouldn't be interesting, would it -- maybe that suggests that your question isn't specific enough, isn't a question. – ChrisW Aug 29 at 16:06
  • Chris you indeed have a point. It was quite vague. I was hoping to find that people had actually tried this and it worked for them. Their suffering declined. But perhaps that is an attachment too ? I will read something more on the topic. I have had personal issues with mental health but feel a lot of the approaches simply move the bomb from your lap to Under your seat to quote Anthony De Mello. The bomb being attachment. I think Buddhism provides a way to defuse the bomb – Barryseeker Aug 29 at 16:12
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Attachment and aversion are the results of ignorance. Eliminating Personality view (Sakkaya Ditthi) is the first step of eliminating ignorance hence attachment and aversion. Start developing right view first then the rest comes naturally.

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