Attachment/Detachment and the Contemplative Path

As per Larry’s suggestion I have initiated a fresh post to continue the discussion on issue like the role of meditation and/or detachment in our faith lives. Also a place to talk about Buddhist/Christian similarities/contrasts.

Of course if folks have more more to say about such issues than a comment to this posting folks can post their own postings.

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3 responses

  1. I speak as one whos atnds outside of Buddhism. And I’m aware of how I might feel hearing soemone else try to articulate my experience without consulting me.As I understand Buddhism seeks detachment form this world. But it recognizes certain individuals — freed from the cycle of attachments who return to help others on the path to elightenment — these are Boddisatvas. Engaged Buddhism teaches that a fruit of detachment is compassion and teaches people to work for justice from that centre.Christianity teaches love — not the feeling but an ethical/political stance. A contemplative tradition has arisen teaching appropriate detachment — and attachment to God/Jesus. This tradition also teaches a cycle of purgation/illumination/union with God in Christ.Based on this they (Christianity and Buddhism) start from different places and meet in the middle someplace as they pass each other on their separate paths.Again this si also sort systems analysis — on the Christian walk — I keep cycling thru purgation/illumination and back into purgation again. In Buddhist terms I keep reattaching so never get to the engaged or Boddisatva stage.Socrates however would like me — I know myself at least. :0)

  2. Thank you, David. Your vision of Buddhism certainly enlarges and improves on mine.As you have described it, there’s certainly a difference between detachment and appropriate detachment.Detachment per se seems like withdrawal from the world and from life (ie. denying life). Appropriate detachment comes when we withdraw from unworthy feelings and actions.Christians are taught that the world (and this life) are not evil; God pronounced it good, and to be enjoyed. Christians also understand that it’s fallen. Jesus calls us to engage in the problems of the world, suffer with the needy and be nurtured thereby.I take it from what you’ve said that these Boddisatvas have a similar call. Jesus says “many are called, but few chosen”.Thanks again for being willing to face with me issues that are undoubtedly uncomfortable for many people.As the saying goes, talk about anything but religion and politics. But those two things seem to me the only thing worth talking about, unless you enjoy the trivial.

  3. I don’t know enough about buddhism (or christianity) to write about the similarities and differences, but I do see some differences on a personal level … my sister, my best friend, is a follower of buddhism and I see the different choices we made in religion reflecting our different personalities.My sis dislikes strong emotions, even happy ones, and tries to remain level emotionally. I appreciate passionate intensity.She is not comfortable with God being a “person” but sees him more as a kind of underlying energy. I really like Jesus/God being a “person” I can have a relationship with.My sister believes a person must be perfected before they can “be” with God (through living many lives). I’m glad I have the example of the sometimes dopey disciples to tell me I don’t have to be perfect to be with God.I say all this not to inply one way is better than the other … I think they are both valid. Buddhism is better – for her. Christianity is better – for me :-).

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