Can there be love without attachment?

Yogi: Can there be love without attachment? I love my daughter and care for her, her health, etc. I see this is attachment but I don’t see it as a bad thing. Could you define love and attachment; explain what is different or similar…?

Sayadaw: Love is the nature of mind. This is not the problem. The problem is the habit. You love someone; there is “someone” in your mind. There is attachment in the mind. To be free from attachment, we must remove “someone” or “something” from the mind. We must disconnect something and the mind. We must not think about something, not even about ourselves. This habit is possible if you practice. In this way, the mind will be without attachment for something or someone. That mind is very powerful; that mind can live alone, can live by itself.

Yogi: So how does one practice that?

Sayadaw: You must abandon the habit of the mind; the habit of something; the habit of humans from the mind.

Yogi: What do I replace it with?

Sayadaw: With the Truth. The Truth is mind and matter, five aggregates (perception, feeling,  mental formations, consciousness, matter) , and Ever New Impermanent Nature.

Try to love this Truth: There is no something, no someone, just mind and matter. You can love that Truth. This Truth is permanent.

No one is permanent; nothing is permanent but the Truth of mind-matter or Ever New Impermanent Nature is permanent. Love the Truth and your mind will be strong; your mind will be stable.

If you love someone, your mind will be unstable. Your mind will be weak; you have to worry because of attachment to someone. Everyone must die, become old, must suffer. This is why you must love the Truth which is mind and matter or Ever New Impermanent Nature. In this way, our mind can be free from worry and fear, sorrow. This is real freedom.

No one can be free because the Truth is not someone. The freedom from the misunderstanding of something or someone is real freedom. Not freedom from present or from life cycle or from Universe; the real freedom is freedom from misunderstanding.

What am I attached to?

Yogi: How to figure out what I am attached to?

Sayadaw: You are attached to… you are paying attention to what you are doing, to yourself, to your family, this is your habit. But this habit is concerning everybody. Everybody, even animals, have that habit: they are thinking only about themselves, their family, and their home. It is necessary to abandon this habit. Doing with our own habit is wrong… Doing-only without habit is right.

Doing-only is right; doing with grasping is wrong. “I am meditating”, knowing like this is wrong. As well as: “I am a meditator”. This kind of knowing is with grasping; grasping to one self, to one’s actions, this is wrong, using with grasping is wrong… so with this right understanding, you must abandon paying attention the habit of paying attention to yourself and to your present action.

Yogi: So scanning the body is not a good approach?

Sayadaw: You can, this is also one of the methods you can use but what you need to do is to not pay attention to your present action. You can be mindful of your body, of your mind but you must not pay attention to what you are doing now.

I had to suffer from cold and coughing but I can detach from that suffering. If I am not attached so no problem. Even if I feel cold or I am coughing, my mind is free from worry. But other people suffer from worrying because they cannot stop paying attention to what is happening to me.

See the problem: I am the one who is suffering from coughing and cold but I am not suffering from this situation; indeed, other people even they are not the patient who is suffering, they have to suffer.

The real problem is the habit. Many people will have to suffer from old age but this nature is also to use-only, to experience-only. But instead of experiencing-only they are grasping their habit of thinking of something. Your body might feel pain but your habit, your mistake are physical: You are not doing-only, you are using as you are habitually using, this is why you have to suffer pain. You must not worry.
Now you are grasping the pain so you are suffering while you meditate. What you must do is to abandon your habit of paying attention to the pain, to your suffering. The pain is not your suffering.

2015 numbers of Thabarwa Dhamma Center

Thabarwa Dhamma Center, Thanlyin Township of Yangon, Myanmar
Updated Numbers for March 2015

      Land size: 58 acres
      Residents in total: ~ 2545
      Monks: 310
      Novices: 27
      Nuns: 246
      Children: 25
      Volunteers: 140
      60+ years old: 613
      Meditators: ~ 1100

Patients in total: 516
Diabieties: 100
Cancer: 4
Stroke: 82
HIV: 27
Tuberculosis: 31
TB + HIV: 4
Mental patients: 49

Number of buildings: 112
      Dormitories: 42
      Single yogi houses: 29
      Meditation halls: 3
      Medical buildings: 3 (1 traditional Burmese medicine, 1 dental clinic, 1 western medicine clinic)
      Schools: 2 (1 for Novices and 1 for young nuns)
      Kitchens: 3
      Public toilets: 6

Good Will village is a place where a 15×15 feet area including a bamboo hut was given for free to anybody in desperate need of a shelter to live in by Sayadaw U Ottamasar.

Information about the Good Will village, Thanlyin (15 minute walk from Thabarwa Center)

Land size: 28 acres
Residents in total: ~ 8600
35+ years old: 4600
18-35 years old: 1500
Students: 600
Children not in school: 1900
Housing units/Huts: 2450
Schools: 0
Hospitals/clinics: 0
Community halls: 0
Multipurpose hall: 1  (present function: school)
Markets: 1 (small shops: 192)
Public toilets:126

The Right Understanding about Tradition

Question: What is the value of rituals, such as bowing down, wearing specific clothes and having fixed time for meditation?

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Answer: The same as greeting someone in society, by shaking the hands or smiling, these are customs of people, so also for elder persons or monks. Even between monks, we have to pay respect to the elder one; this is the custom in Buddhism. If we don’t do this, the Buddhism will disappear. This is the custom of Myanmar people, of Chinese people, so it is also the custom in Buddhism. It is necessary. This habit must be done without attachment. You must try to be doing-only, with detachment.

The problem is attachment; because of attachment for not doing this, it is difficult for the beginners to worship the Buddha, to pay respect to the senior monks, to pay respect to the Sayadaw, but most of the Buddhists are doing with attachment. What they are doing is right but doing with attachment is the problem.

You must try to be doing-only; if we are not doing like this, it is wrong. If Buddhists are not following the rules, if the yogis are not meditating, it is wrong. If they are meditating with attachment to oneself and to their own actions it is wrong. If you don’t meditate…not meditating is one mistake and attachment for not meditating is also a mistake. You might be doing a lot of mistakes; this is why this attachment will be stronger and stronger; if you try to worship Buddha and the monks, if you try to meditate, you are correcting the mistake of not worshiping those who are worthy to be worshiped. But even though you are able to pay respect to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, attachment will still remain in your mind. That attachment will destroy your right actions. If you cannot detach you cannot believe in Buddha or whatever. That attachment might change you not to other religions.

The way of meditation, the way of worshiping might be different from one time to another time, from one place to another place but these are also not to be attached to. If you are staying in Myanmar, you must be able to follow Myanmar traditional Buddhism. If you are staying in Thailand, you must be able to follow Thai traditional Buddhism. That is necessary. In order not to reject a tradition, you must follow and in order not to be attached to it, you must be mindful. If you like this tradition it is wrong; if you dislike the other traditions it is also wrong, you must be able to be using-only, without attachment.

The problem is not concerning the time, place or method it is just concerning the attachment in the mind.

The Truth is Impermanent Nature

Dhamma Talk at Wat Palelai in Singapore

The Truth is present moment happening or Impermanent Nature. We should try to find the Truth by the practice of mindfulness and detachment. Be mindful of the present moment happening and try to detach from the idea of something or someone. Be mindful and try to be doing-only without attachment.

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We must be mindful. But we should not grasp that what we know and what we are doing as right. Knowing should be knowing-only; doing should be doing-only.  We should not grasp each knowing and each action of doing as something that we own. We’re used to grasp the idea of something or someone. In fact, there is no something, no someone, only Impermanent Nature. The Truth is just cause and effect, right and wrong, just good and bad. We use the Truth with the idea of something or someone this is why we misunderstand that all actions are done by something or someone. All good or bad experiences are suffered by something or someone. We misunderstand that something or someone is good or bad, right or wrong. The Truth is not something, not someone. Doing is doing-only. Good or bad happenings are just happening-only. Good deeds are just good deeds, to do-only. Bad actions are just bad actions, to avoid-only, to abstain-only. Right actions are just right actions, to do-only. Wrong actions are just wrong actions, to abandon-only.

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There is no something or someone behind cause and effect, good or bad, right or wrong. Causes and effects are not controlled by someone or something. By doing good deeds and practicing meditation, or mindfulness, we should detach from the idea of something or someone. We should not like or dislike something or someone. Using the idea of something or someone with attachment is wrong.  Something or someone is just Created Truth which is to use-only, to experience-only, to know-only, to do-only without attachment. We are used to think about someone or about ourselves. We should try to abandon that kind of mental action. The Truth is not to attach, not to reject, to do-only, to use-only. Try to accept the Truth and apply it in your daily life and meditation.

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Be mindful, be natural. Be present.
Detach from the limited time and be able to use limitless time which is present moment time. We can use our life with the understanding of present moment time. If we don’t understand the present moment time, we will misunderstand that the life of all living beings is real. We will also misunderstand that all non-living beings are real. All limited beings are just Created Truth, to use-only, to experience-only, to do-only, to know-only. We are traditionally using the Created Truth without knowing the Original Truth.

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The Only Middle Way is using the Created Truth to understand the Original Truth.  What we know is just Created Truth. What we are able to do is just created actions. What we are facing is also just created experiences. Knowing Created Truth as Created Truth is right. We should not misunderstand Created Truth as being Original Truth. The Created Truth is caused by something or someone; the Created Truth has limits; the Original Truth is caused by Nature, the Original Truth is permanent. 

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The Original Truth is free from limits. If we don’t know the Original Truth we will think only about the Created Truth.

Practice all the time, everywhere

I am training to be mindful and to detach anytime, anywhere, in any circumstance and in any posture. Now we are meditating here in Bodhi Heart Sanctuary, tomorrow we will be doing good deeds and meditating in Johor Bahru. Different places, different times, people and circumstances are objects to be mindful of and to detach from.

The practice of mindfulness at any time and any place by ourselves is necessary. So also the practice of mindfulness and detachment in any place, any time and circumstance is necessary.

We must be mindful with detachment alone or with others, here or there, sitting or standing, walking or lying, speaking or listening. People in the community stay alone or with others, sit or stand; walk or lye; speak or listen; read or write but they are not mindful. They don’t detach. They emphasize Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha only for a while, not all the time.

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I am training to be busy with mindfulness with detachment in every place, at every time, in every condition or circumstance. Practice makes perfect. Practice makes development. Without practice, no development, no perfection. I have been teaching and training like this for over thirteen years. I am teaching year after year, month after month. Week after week, day after day, moment by moment. That is why anyone can join at any time. Day after day, year after year, more and more people get their own experience, self-practice about mindfulness and detachment.

Doing good deeds and practicing meditation with mindfulness and detachment can cause good deeds and merits to both, teacher and students. We did in the past, we are doing at the present moment, we should continue in the future.

Mindfulness and detachment is the best of all we can do. Don’t lose the present action of mindfulness and detachment.  We might be young or old, sick or healthy, male or female, our mind might be stable or unstable, light or heavy, and we should use the present condition of our body and mind to be mindful with detachment. Whether we are mindful or not is important. Whether we are young or old, male or female, sick or healthy, alone or not alone is not important. Be aware of the present action we are doing. We will lose our health, our wealth, our home, our family; it is sure for all to lose everything and everyone. But don’t lose our present moment mindfulness and detachment.

Living alone or with our family, having our own job, our own earning, our own place is not the best we can do. Living with mindfulness, moment by moment is the best we can do. We should try our best. I may continue to do good deeds and practice meditation until the last moment of my life, so also you should try to do good deeds and practice meditation all the time. We should try to fully rely on doing good deeds and meditation or mindfulness and detachment.