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We Buddhists talk about non-attachment in our relationships, but after breaking all the samsaric attachments, how do we break the last attachment with the Buddha and may be also His teachings?

When the Buddha said 'appo-dipo bhava' ('be a light unto yourself') is that what he is pointing towards?

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  • Would you not rather Ask why anyone might want to do that? Quite separately, how could 'appo-dipo bhava' ('be a light into yourself') affect the Question? Mar 29 at 19:12
  • Why is there an attachment with Buddha in the first place?
    – Mast
    Mar 29 at 19:58
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For those attached to the form or personality of the Buddha, he taught to focus on the Dhamma (teachings) instead.

From Vakkali Sutta:

“For a long time, venerable sir, I have wanted to come to see the Blessed One, but I haven’t been fit enough to do so.”

“Enough, Vakkali! Why do you want to see this foul body? One who sees the Dhamma sees me; one who sees me sees the Dhamma. For in seeing the Dhamma, Vakkali, one sees me; and in seeing me, one sees the Dhamma.

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This question is analogical to the question 'how do we abandon the desire to abandon all desire?'

The answer to these questions is like this:

"'This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears, 'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now.' The thought occurs to him, 'I hope that I, too, will — through the ending of the fermentations — enter & remain in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for myself in the here & now.' Then he eventually abandons craving, having relied on craving. 'This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"'This body comes into being through conceit. And yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears, 'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now.' The thought occurs to him, 'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now. Then why not me?' Then he eventually abandons conceit, having relied on conceit. 'This body comes into being through conceit. And yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said. - AN 4.159

As to how to do, by developing the four frames of mindfulness, the four right exertions, the four bases of power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors of awakening, the noble eightfold path.

Here is on attachment to Dhamma:

Monks, I will teach you the Dhamma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: "Suppose a man were traveling along a path. He would see a great expanse of water, with the near shore dubious & risky, the further shore secure & free from risk, but with neither a ferryboat nor a bridge going from this shore to the other. The thought would occur to him, 'Here is this great expanse of water, with the near shore dubious & risky, the further shore secure & free from risk, but with neither a ferryboat nor a bridge going from this shore to the other. What if I were to gather grass, twigs, branches, & leaves and, having bound them together to make a raft, were to cross over to safety on the other shore in dependence on the raft, making an effort with my hands & feet?' Then the man, having gathered grass, twigs, branches, & leaves, having bound them together to make a raft, would cross over to safety on the other shore in dependence on the raft, making an effort with his hands & feet. [7] Having crossed over to the further shore, he might think, 'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands & feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having hoisted it on my head or carrying it on my back, go wherever I like?' What do you think, monks: Would the man, in doing that, be doing what should be done with the raft?"

"No, lord."

"And what should the man do in order to be doing what should be done with the raft? There is the case where the man, having crossed over, would think, 'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands & feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having dragged it on dry land or sinking it in the water, go wherever I like?' In doing this, he would be doing what should be done with the raft. In the same way, monks, I have taught the Dhamma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Understanding the Dhamma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dhammas, to say nothing of non-Dhammas." - MN 22

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  • I feel like this clearly illustrates the Why, but not the How.
    – Mast
    Mar 29 at 20:00
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    It's not an answer people want to hear... the four frames of mindfulness, the four right exertions, the four bases of power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors of awakening, the noble eightfold path. People want a different answer, more practical, less to study, in simple terms, in a few words, in own words, easy to understand, an improvement to their already sophisticated knowledge, psychologically pleasing, bias conforming, mindblowing and no meditation required... If there was an illustration on how to Arahantships with a 5 minute breathing exercize i would tell you.
    – user8527
    Mar 29 at 21:11
  • The How is a fruit of zazen. Mar 29 at 23:30
  • @Buddhism. I'm baffled by this as well - people keep asking how to do it like there's some new recipe. We have the Buddha's teaching and the way to freedom is The Noble Eightfold Path. It seems like this wanting to add something new to the teaching is a Western phenomena. I don't see this happening in Asian culture. The Buddha's teaching is a complete teaching in and of itself and needs nothing added to it or subtracted from it.
    – user19910
    Mar 30 at 10:17
  • @Andromeda Perhaps it's a matter of not understanding, not of going for the shortcut. There are no shortcuts, all journeys worth taking are long, but it helps to understand the directions.
    – Mast
    Mar 30 at 15:26
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This is (again) the old allegory of the finger pointing at the moon.

  • When we are far away from the Buddha (at the beginning of the path) we just see the Buddha with his arm upraised
  • When we get closer we see that he is pointing at something, though we can't quite see what that is
  • When we get closer still, we start to get a sense of what he's pointing at, but we still look back to him to try to trace the path of his finger
  • When we are right beside him we suddenly see the moon, and we never need to look at the Buddha again

The Buddha is the finger pointing at the moon, and while there's nothing wrong with showing reverence for that, he would not have wanted us to be stuck staring at him when there is a moon to be seen.

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Just observe the arisen defilement with mindfulness until you can be free from it.

Letting go is not something you actively do - it happens through impartial observation (Vipassana meditation) which leads to understanding of things as they are, which in turn leads to letting go. It's a process.

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By the very proceeds of practice grows a balance sheet the sum total of which later becomes the finalising figure in a spiritual curriculum vitae. It denotes the personal fortunes one has amassed that now define your current identity and which is carried around and flaunted in various ways.

The teachings, which have touched you deeply, now become like golden chains. In that sense, we walk into a bit of a booby-trap - yet again.

Chogyam Trungpa nails this question with such a masterful wisdom in his book called Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. I highly recommend you get hold of this book. It's full of absolute gems for people wishing to rid themselves of the spiritual identities obtained from the context they have been working within. Here is a small excerpt...

Ego is able to convert everything to its own use, even spirituality. For example, if you have learned of a particularly beneficial meditation technique of spiritual practice, then ego's attitude is, first to regard it as an object of fascination and, second to examine it. Finally, since ego is seeming solid and cannot really absorb anything, it can only mimic. Thus ego tries to examine and imitate the practice of meditation and the meditative way of life. When we have learned all the tricks and answers of the spiritual game, we automatically try to imitate spirituality, since real involvement would require the complete elimination of ego, and actually the last thing we want to do is to give up the ego completely. However, we cannot experience that which we are trying to imitate; we can only find some area within the bounds of ego that seems to be the same thing. Ego translates everything in terms of its own state of health, its own inherent qualities. It feels a sense of great accomplishment and excitement at have been able to create such a pattern. At last it has created a tangible accomplishment, a confirmation of its own individuality. If we become successful at maintaining our self-consciousness through spiritual techniques, then genuine spiritual development is highly unlikely. Our mental habits become so strong as to be hard to penetrate. We may even go so far as to achieve the totally demonic state of complete "Egohood."

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Worldly attachment is due to wrong view. Per Noble 8 Fold Path, right view is to understand 4 Noble Truth, is not by attaching to Buddha; is to understand how the dhamma work, is not to attach to the dhamma because it is HIS teaching. Attaching to Buddha has no benefit to us, as we are the one who walk the path of liberation, thus how can one have attachment to Buddha if we truly learn and practice what he said (dhamma)?

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