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October 12th, 2013 (November 21st, 2013)

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)


I regularly point out that Buddhism does not require you to abandon your family (, that non-attachment is what actually allows  you to manifest Love… by accompanying the evolution and the growth  of the loved ones, by staying present to their impermanent 'self' —rather than stuck with an outdated idea of who you projected them to be, since you met them years ago.

Just like the path is not about "leaving home" in a naïve literal sense (, the path is not about 'isolating' yourself from your loved one in order not to feel anything.

The belief is "isolation from the possible cause of pain" is actually a root delusion!
A major reason why selflessness is key in Buddhism is precisely to reject this idea that you may isolate yourself from the source of pain by controlling conditions and circumstances, i.e. by clinging enough to your well-being that you could avoid suffering thanks to being smart or disciplined enough. Such an extreme view about non-attachment (the 'isolation' view) is only selfish attachment to one's individual bliss…

The Buddha did not forget his mother, or his son, or his wife! When they later met him, he acknowledged them as such, and took care of them too. Non-attachment is a different way to relate  to people, but it's not  the cessation of relationship.

Six pāramitās  are commonly listed: generosity, proper conduct, patience or tolerance, diligence, control of one's attention, wisdom. How would this not encompass how you'd like to manifest love for your close ones? Relating differently  is far from non-relating.


Invariably, in relation to such teachings, married teachers (lay or not) are accused of just clinging to their lifestyle, of just promoting these teachings out of self-interest, of just not having "left home" enough to know (erroneously interpreted as "not being monastic enough")… even though nibbāna  is an unconditioned dhamma!  Here are the very same teachings (Attachment 38'21'') uttered by a monk. Hopefully, this will allow my marital status not to get in the way of the message!

Your lifestyle may provide more or less favourable conditions for the practice… but the 'conditions' are not what it's about, your response is!
If you're in a relationship (or in love, or out of love!), it's not about rejecting or denying the situation. It's about what you do  with it, it's about how you manifest Wisdom in such a particular specific context, here&now!

h/t +Jason Decker