Non-attachment vs Care-less

Cultivating non-attachment does not mean a careless detached attitude, instead it is a very active concerned
care and love for others. By non-attachment, we remove, or at least initially reduce, our strong emotional upheavals, moving our focus and attention from ourselves to others.

Attachment leads to much emotional baggages in us that does not help us or our loved ones; they mostly create the friction between us!

4 thoughts on “Non-attachment vs Care-less”

  1. Dear Venerable,
    Thank you for the insightful yet entertaining dhamma talk today (13 Oct 2010) at NTU. 
    I was actually going to ask a question regarding this matter. At which point does compassion towards others turn into a form of attachment? 
    The second question which may not be related to the first one is this. If we should set the dog poo (dissatisfaction) aside and turn it into a fertiliser, what do we do if we happen to step on something 'good' instead? What do we do after acknowledging that the happiness, like other happiness, will not last forever?

  2. Dear Andhi,

    Thanks for your comment and question; glad that you enjoyed the talk that day.

    > At which point does compassion towards others turn into a form of attachment?

    While attachment appear to come from compassion or appears to be related to it, in fact is not quite so. Observe ourself, what are we attached to? Mostly, it would be to things that interest us, something or someone that we had a good experience to begin with. In this case, it starts from our experience, the initial experience, sensation we had of it. Attachment typically stems from that.

    Compassion on the other hand, is concerned with others’ welfare and benefit. It has the quality of removing suffering. It stems from recognising others’ suffering, and recognising the universal quality in sentient beings of fearing pain, of not wanting pain. It results and translates to actions that removes suffering.

    > what do we do if we happen to step on something ‘good’ instead?

    That reminds me, I’ve not penned down the dog-poo sharing. 😉

    So what do we do if we happen to step on something ‘good’? If we step on something good that conduces to happiness that has lesser, minimal or no greed, anger and delusion, then we should develop it and help it bloom. We should also know how we ‘stepped’ on it, so that we can allow such good to arise again in the future. Qualities that endears ourselves to care for others, to be open-handed, to be thoughtful, considerate, mindful, wise etc, are the mental ‘gold nuggets’. Develop them and nourish them.

    > What do we do after acknowledging that the happiness, like other happiness, will not last forever?

    Worldly happiness, indeed do not last. While we can recognise and acknowledge that, we may still feel drawn towards it. We should work towards equanimity towards it so that we do not go into the usual emotional rollercoaster ride driven by worldly happiness or unhappiness.

    If we can really internalise it already, then let me know. I’ll tell you what to do next.
    Suki hontu! ^_^

    1. Dear Venerable,

      My apologies for taking so long to reply. It took me a while to bring my attention back to this matter with all university stuff (+other worldly distractions) all around. Then there was a problem on comments posting. Thank you for fixing the bug.

      Imagine a person named X who strives to make other people happy. Then he realises that everyone around him is already living their happy and satisfied lives even without having X around. Finding the lack of purpose in his life, X feels very sad and depressed. What should X do and feel at this point?

      I realised the things that I am attached towards are the things I love to have/do. Upon reflection, I also realise that they do cause the emotional turmoil that you mention
      about. However, I find that some of these attachments make us function better as a human being. For example, the desire to get A’s enables us to study hard for the final examinations. The desire to get a promotion forces us to work even harder. Surely laypersons have some things they should get attached to to motivate them to contribute to the society, right?

      I’m not sure of the meaning of the word “Equanimity”. The word “indifferent” came to my mind. From my understanding, to be indifferent towards something is to be emotionally untouched by its presence or absence. So does that mean that the right thing to do is to deny our emotions towards these worldly things?

      I have also been wondering what should laypersons ideally strive to do/achieve in their lifetime as a human? Is it to generate as much happiness/to reduce as much pain as possible? Is it to make as much spiritual development as possible? Or is it something else?

    2. Dear Venerable,

      My apologies for taking so long to reply. It took me a while to bring my attention back to this matter with all university stuff (+other worldly distractions) all around. Then there was a problem on comments posting. Thank you for fixing the bug.

      Imagine a person named X who strives to make other people happy. Then he realises that everyone around him is already living their happy and satisfied lives even without having X around. Finding the lack of purpose in his life, X feels very sad and depressed. What should X do and feel at this point?

      I realised the things that I am attached towards are the things I love to have/do. Upon reflection, I also realise that they do cause the emotional turmoil that you mention about. However, I find that some of these attachments make us function better as a human being. For example, the desire to get A’s enables us to study hard for the final examinations. The desire to get a promotion forces us to work even harder. Surely laypersons have some things they should get attached to to motivate them to contribute to the society, right?

      I’m not sure of the meaning of the word “Equanimity”. The word “indifferent” came to my mind. From my understanding, to be indifferent towards something is to be emotionally untouched by its presence or absence. So does that mean that the right thing to do is to deny our emotions towards these worldly things?

      I have also been wondering what should laypersons ideally strive to do/achieve in their lifetime as a human? Is it to generate as much happiness/to reduce as much pain as possible? Is it to make as much spiritual development as possible? Or is it something else?

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