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Alienist
17 Mar 2014, 11:28
It sort of seems restrictive that you're supposed to free yourself from attachment, but I am wondering if I'm understanding this correctly. How can one have a wife and children and reach Nirvana at the same time? Attachment causes pain and when you lose your family due to old age or whatever, it hurts. It sort of seems like you'd have to be a monk to free yourself from the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Could you still have a family and stuff and still attain Nirvana?

B. de Corbin
17 Mar 2014, 12:32
Detachment (non-attachment) is the separation of "self" from the emotions one feels toward things. One can still feel emotions, but one lets go of the hold they have over one's self.

In other words, one is not ruled by feelings that one can not control. They don't go away, but one has learned to let them go (I.e. You are. You are not what you feel).

Alienist
18 Mar 2014, 07:31
So what you're saying basically is that there really isn't anything wrong with wanting a wife and family and having money or wealth isn't really bad as long as your desires don't blind you?

anunitu
18 Mar 2014, 07:55
One idea I have read about is at the time of dieing,YOU must NOT desire anything from your life that would draw you back to reincarnating and also at least in Zen,you must battle your way through all your negative demons in order to find your way to nirvana. There are things somewhat like that in Egyptian afterlife events also.

SleepingCompass
18 Mar 2014, 09:03
Perhaps I shouldn't respond to this because I've only made a very casual study of Buddhism, but I kind of wanted to throw my two cents in.

The way I've always understood it, achieving nirvana is like a huge deal, equivalent to saint hood, sort of. It seems to me you would have to pretty much be a monk to achieve it; no significant others or children or wealth because the temptation of attachment would be too great. But reincarnation is part of the process; even if you don't achieve nirvana after your current life, working towards it will still advance you closer to achieving nirvana for your future lives.

Alienist
18 Mar 2014, 09:42
I doubt that, seeing how the Buddha himself had a wife as well. Also many other Buddhists have families. If they are trying to attain Nirvana, why even have a family or wealth. I think desiring something is not bad as long as you don't obsess over it.

B. de Corbin
18 Mar 2014, 10:40
Perhaps I shouldn't respond to this because I've only made a very casual study of Buddhism, but I kind of wanted to throw my two cents in.

The way I've always understood it, achieving nirvana is like a huge deal, equivalent to saint hood, sort of. It seems to me you would have to pretty much be a monk to achieve it; no significant others or children or wealth because the temptation of attachment would be too great. But reincarnation is part of the process; even if you don't achieve nirvana after your current life, working towards it will still advance you closer to achieving nirvana for your future lives.

Buddha taught the "Middle Way," meaning that, to follow his teachings, one does not need to indulge in austerities, or excessive sensuality.

Achieving Nirvana is a big deal. It causes you to laugh a lot.

Dez
18 Mar 2014, 10:45
Apologies for any spelling errors...I haven't been well lately.

It seems to me that some of this confusion might be due to treating Buddhism as a cohesive whole. Just like any of the other large faiths, being Buddhist is an umbrella term for a rather interesting group of possible paths, most of which come to very different conclusions about how to break the cycle of attachment. These are very vague over-generalizations, so realize that if anything perks your interest, it is much more complex then I am making it. I'm also bouncing all over between terms from different parts of Asia, so my apologies.

Mahayana, which is itself a pretty vague umbrella term, usually focuses on finding the Buddha Nature. Some branches emphasize reverence and assistance of Bodhisattvas (similar to patron saints; those who could have been a Buddha, but remain behind in order to help others). The Chinese Chan school, and it's direct descendant Zen in Japan, teach that asceticism is not necessary; to reach enlightenment one must be (in terms of Zen) "A finger pointing at the moon". This means that one needs to realize that we are already enlightened, however we don't realize it and continue about our day-to-day lives oblivious of what we are truly capable of. A concept in Western philosophy that it is often compared to is Plato's famous Cave. Chinul, a 12th century Korean master, argued that this sort of sudden enlightenment could happen to anyone, but required years of study and action based on the realization to bloom into becoming a Buddha. Pure land Buddhists deemphasize enlightenment, claiming that only a very few will ever reach such a state, and instead focuses on the extremely merciful Bodhisattva Ahmida, who was said to prepare a land in the next life for the good...possibly even if they only called on his name once in this life. Tiantai emphasizes emptiness, often seeking to attain a perfect stillness through breathing:

All things arise through causes and conditions.

That I declare as emptiness.
It is also a provisional designation.
It is also the meaning of the Middle Path.

Others, like Nichiren Buddhism, have a flavor similar to some branches of Christianity, with an emphasis on devotion in the face of persecution and martyrdom.

Those are all just a few different subgroups of Mahayana! The Theravada branch Has a completely different set of complicated subgroups, as do even smaller branches like Vajrayana.

B. de Corbin
18 Mar 2014, 11:05
Technically (and this may not jibe with everybody, 'cause I'm a red-neck Buddhist), Buddha taught only two things - the cause of suffering, and the release from suffering (the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path). Everything else was elaboration, which means that a Buddhist is free to believe anything he/she wants - as long as he/she accepts the 4 & the 8.

That gives a lot of leeway for a lot of flavors.

Alienist
18 Mar 2014, 12:12
True. Some have said it's a requirement to be vegetarian but none of the Buddhas said that and even the Buddha himself ate pork.