Monday, July 26, 2004

Attachment, Non-Attachment

Attachment, NonAttachment
From Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki

      "All we want to do is know things just as they are.  If we know things as they are, there is nothing to point at; there is no way to grasp anything (Idolize–my word); there is no thing to grasp.  We cannot put emphasis on any point.  Nevertheless, as Dogen [-zenji] said, ‘A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows even though we do not love it.’"

      What this means to me is that people we love fail us.  We put them up on a pedestal and worship some ideal of them like some kind of idol.  They don’t live up to our Idol of them.  We don’t live up to our Idol of ourselves, either.  We love our flowers, hate our weeds.  Don’t roses get brownspot? Don’t dandelions bloom? We are the rose that we love, the weed that we hate.  Aren’t other people the same way?  Love them and ourselves as they are, hate them as they are.  Either way, accept what we love, non-accept what we hate and know that both are the same thing–an expression of Buddha, God, Creation.  This true for how we treat ourselves, as well.

      "Because you create (Idolize) some idea of unity (idol) or variety (imperfection), you are caught by the idea.  And you have to continue the endless thinking, although actually there is no need to think."


L said...

This is beautiful. I like this passage a lot, and I think you have captured the meaning. I wonder though, if ultimately we have to accept what we hate as well as what we love. I think he's talking about a radical acceptance.

The Crazy Shaman said...

Thanks for the comment.

First, love to Suzuki means unconditional acceptance. Definitions out of the way, let me say that the point is to know things as they are. Being attached to them gets us a step away from that because they are then filtered through our self-importance. Then we only know things as they are attached to us, not how they exist as they are. Accepting things that way is a conditional way, and that's not the right understanding of things as they are.