And attachment is a bond that is created between the Self and its image with something /somebody else. They can be material, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual.
As soon as such bond is fastened, the risk of suffering may or will appear because:
Everything is transient and without our control for whatever reasons or
Because, if they give pleasure, we are looking for more and more of it to get more and more.
Being part of our self-image, attachments are an integral part of our ego.
If attachments are a potential source of suffering then, can we let them go or even eliminate them?
We will see later.
4 main types of attachments:
Material also called sensorial in Zen:
We can be attached to a zillion of material things such as food, car, money, traveling, sex, drugs, etc.
As I said, these material objects can /will disappear anytime because they are transient or we may be searching for more and more of them. Therefore, all of these may /will cause suffering.
Idea, opinion, belief, thought, judgment, illusion are also creating zillions of attachments.
Unless cultivating an open mind as suggested in Zen, these intellectual attachments will last forever,
trapping our minds and preventing serenity.
Probably the #1 cause of attachment and potential suffering.
Desire ( I want, I like ), expectation, ( I wish), hatred ( I don’t want, I dislike ), and all kinds of delusion or
illusion that Zen calls Ignorance that is not been able to differentiate factual reality from the fictional one. They form the 3 poisons of life based on the Buddha teaching.
Being attached to our religious faith may bring serenity but also suffering. History is full of examples.
“Because of the potential risk of suffering, I want to get rid off of my attachments,” said the student.
“Don’t ever try” replied the teacher….. It is impossible for 2 reasons “she/he added.
1 “By trying to let them go, you are adding another attachment on the top of the others and this one is almost masochistic”
2 As a primal instinct, the idea of self that is – me-mine-myself- is innate in all living things from birth to death. This belief of self is critical for survival and yet, being by definition self-centered, the image that we have created from is also part of our ego and source of attachments.
Jo just bought a beautiful red Ferrari. This car becomes Jo and Jo becomes the car at least at his
subconscious level. Defining ourselves socially using material stuff is well known.
If we seek to find, to define or to project ourselves only through our attachments, any attempt to break the bond is almost like an implosion of our self-image and its consequences.
When an outside cause – which is in most cases- is breaking our attachments, the result is the same
even worse is de-personalization.
“ So, what do I have to do ?” asked the student.
“Be mindful to your attachments that are in accepting them as they are but don’t associate
yourself to them.
Jo’s Ferrari is not Jo and Jo is not a car. Instead of asking “ Who is attached to x, y, z,
ask yourself “ What is attached to x, y, z ”?
This “What” is not you – that is your genuine self – but just the image of yourself what you have
created over the years in your subconscious in order to satisfy and even enhance your ego.
This is this perception of self and ego that generates attachments.
Always remember that everything is transient. It will help you not to identify yourself that is to “disconnect” somewhat from the source of your attachments and from your ego.