Attachment as in Yoga and Buddhism

“What is attachment?”

Due to ignorance, the mind is functioning/operating under the influence of egoism, where there’s attachment towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, that brings along multiple identifications/identities identifying with impermanent and selfless names and forms that representing ‘I’ and ‘my life’ and ‘my relationships with everyone and everything in my life’ that aren’t ‘the truth’ or don’t ‘exist’ (there’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘not I’ in selflessness) with boundless passionate worldly desires of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, which leads to all kinds of action and reaction and the fruit/consequences of action and reaction, activating the loop of endless births and deaths, and the consequence of all that – Restlessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, aggressiveness, defensiveness, offensiveness, fear, worry, stress, regret, guilt, grief, painful sorrow, or suffering/peacelessness exist within the modification of the mind, which are also subject to impermanence and selflessness, governs by the law of nature – cause and effect, action and the fruit/consequence of action.

The fundamental attachments that exist in most minds are worldly life existence attachment, individual being existence attachment (‘I am an existing individual being with certain quality of name and form’, ‘this is I/this is not I’, or ‘I am this/I am not that’), physical attachment, mental attachment, emotional attachment, relationship/companionship attachment, material/object/possession attachment, family/friends/relative/race/nationality attachment, thinking and belief attachment, life experiences attachment, social/cultural/spiritual/religious attachment, gender/sexual orientation attachment, connection/networking attachment, ability/achievement/jobs/contribution attachment, the sense of meaningfulness/positiveness/goodness/righteousness/happiness attachment, environmental/living condition attachment, and personal or group thinking/belief/values/practice/likes and dislikes/agreements and disagreements attachment.

From the idea of ‘I’, existing as an individual being of certain quality of name and form, there’s attachment towards the restless/selfless modification of the mind perception of a fleeting selfless worldly life existence of the impermanent and selfless decaying physical body and intellectual assertive thinking mind, attachment towards the physical activities/conditions/appearances/abilities/disabilities/limitations, the mental/thoughts/emotional activities/states/conditions/abilities/disabilities/limitations, the actions and reactions and the fruit/consequence of actions and reactions, the pleasant and unpleasant sensations, feelings and emotions, the sights/smells/tastes/sounds/feelings/sensations/thoughts, the relationships/connections/interactions/learning/memories/knowledge/talent/skill, the inputs/outputs/expressions/points of view/ideas/creativity, the accomplishment and non-accomplishment, the many individual/group/community/social/professional/cultural/spiritual/religious identifications/identities/images/status, the accumulation of possession towards objects and relationships, the ambitions/inspirations/aspirations, the instinct for creation and reproduction, the judgment and expectation from oneself and from others towards oneself and the world/society/environment, and so on.

When there’s attachment, the mind is unwittingly being determined and disturbed by all the impermanent and selfless perception/experience of names and forms. There’s craving/clinging/longing towards the names and forms or experiences or conditions that the mind desires, likes and agrees with, and there’s aversion towards the names and forms or experiences or conditions that the mind doesn’t desire, dislikes and disagrees with. The mind is being restless due to endless boundless desires waiting to be fulfilled/gratified, trying to satisfy not just the physical hunger and thirst, but also the endless mental hunger and thirst towards the sense of satisfaction, meaningfulness, positiveness, righteousness, goodness, togetherness, connection, happiness, accomplishment, confidence, well-deserving, well-loved, well-worthed and well-lived.

Absence of attachment, the mind perception of names and forms of all the impermanent and selfless desirable/undesirable, pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable worldly life experiences is just what it is, neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither right nor wrong, neither meaningful nor meaningless, neither precious nor preciousless, neither enjoyable nor suffering, neither peaceful nor peaceless. Dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, aggressiveness, defensiveness, offensiveness, fear, worry, stress, regret, guilt, grief, painful sorrow, or suffering, don’t exist upon the void/absence of attachment.

The Yoga and Buddhism practice is all about silencing this restless modification of the mind, annihilating ignorance and egoism, of endless desire and attachment, and the consequences of that. And this is nothing to do with the different condition, situation, experience, learning, practicing, ability, disability, qualification, certification, limitation, strength, flexibility, stamina, fitness level, performance, intelligence, knowledge, talent, skill, title, status, skin colour, race, nationality, gender, spirituality, religion, culture, belief and disbelief, time, space and causation. It transcends all the names and forms, qualities, intellectual thinking and analysis, time, space and causation of duality, separateness, past/present/future, condition/situation, cause and effect, good/bad karma, birth and death.

The selfless yogis either renouncing and retreating from the world of worldly life, relationships, affairs and activities that based on egoism and feed egoism, or, performing actions in the world while living among the worldly society but without attachment, are neither selfish nor unselfish. All are impermanent and selfless.

In another term, when the state of the mind (under the idea of ‘I’) is being determined by the impermanent changes of the physical condition/appearance/ability/disability/performance and the modification of the mind of thoughts activities/feelings/emotions, where there’s presence of low or high self-esteem/confidence/self-value being determined by the relationships with everyone, being determined by the names and forms of desirable/undesirable experiences/conditions/situations and the likes and dislikes/agreements and disagreements towards what the mind perceives through the senses of whatever the mind experiences in this present moment, or remembering towards the past experiences, or projecting into the future, being determined by actions and the fruit of actions/achievement and non-achievement, being determined by the condition and situation in the world, being satisfied/dissatisfied, meaningful/meaningless, happy/unhappy, confident/non-confident, where there’s identification/acknowledgement of “I am good/not good enough/bad/positive/negative/optimistic/kind/unkind/unselfish/selfish/weak/strong/superior/inferior/hurt/healed.” that is attachment.

If there is attachment, identification, desire and expectation, there will be hurts, anger, disappointment, fear or regret upon coming in contact with undesirable/unpleasant/undeserving experiences/situations that are “not the way that I would like it to be or not the way that I think how it should be.”

If attachment, identification, desire and expectation are absent, there’s no hurts, anger, disappointment, fear or regret upon coming in contact with undesirable/unpleasant/undeserving experiences/situations that are “not the way that I would like it to be or not the way that I think how it should be.”

‘Equality’ and ‘non-discrimination’?

Many people think and believe that in order to achieve ‘non-discrimination’ in the society then everyone should be perceived/treated ‘equally’ in all aspects/fields regardless of everyone’s different qualities of names and forms.

But ‘non-discrimination’ is really nothing to do with ‘everyone is being perceived/treated equally regardless of different qualities of names and forms’.

‘Non-discrimination’ and ‘equality’ are two different things.

Inequality is the truth of all and everything that come in different qualities of names and forms. It’s not a ‘negative’ or ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ understanding/thinking. All the different qualities of names and forms are indeed being unequal or different from one another.

Worldly egoistic minds desire to be better or more superior than others, want to achieve a higher social status, to achieve higher results than others, or deserve to enjoy higher reward/salary/profit than others whom one thinks are less good/experience/qualification than oneself, or don’t work/achieve as much as one does. And there’s nothing wrong with some people earn more than many others doing the same kind of work, as some people are more efficient and productive than some others, regardless of among the same or different gender/race/nationality/educational background, and etc.

It’s impossible to have everything ‘being equal to one another’ as all and everything come with their very own distinctive qualities of names and forms, and there’s nothing wrong or discriminating for being unequal or different to one another, or having different function, duty, responsibility, ability and disability, but, it’s possible to be free from ‘discrimination’ among all the ‘inequality’ or ‘differences’ among the different qualities of names and forms.

Just like it’s impossible to defy impermanent changes or death/the end of this life, but it’s possible to go beyond impermanent changes and death/the end of this life, by accepting and respecting the law of impermanence and going beyond/transcending death/the end of this life without attachment and identification towards the impermanent and selfless existence and function of the physical body and the mind perception of a worldly life existence of all kinds of relationships/experiences/actions and the fruit of actions.

For example, many women want to be seen/perceived/treated as equally to men by trying to do things that men do, and vice versa, in order to fight against gender discrimination.

The truth is, there’s nothing wrong or discriminating when women can’t do certain things that men can do, or when men can’t do certain things that women can do. It’s perfectly okay when some people can do certain things that other people can’t do, and vice versa, restricted by physical and/or mental limitation, regardless of whether among the same gender or among the different gender.

Non-discrimination is about accepting and respecting everyone as they are, regardless of everyone’s different gender/genital organ, sexual orientation, appearance, nationality, family/educational background, race, culture, political view, social and financial status, physical and mental abilities and disabilities, thinking and belief, behavior, personality, intelligence, interests, talents, skills, livelihood/job/profession, values, practice and way of life, achievements and non-achievements, and so on.

Non-discrimination is there as it is, naturally, effortlessly, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, upon the realization of selflessness, where the mind is free from being conditioned or determined by all the different qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless, including the condition, appearance and ability/disability of the physical body and the modification of the mind, and the realization of compassion, the unconditional selfless love of everything that supports/allows all and everything to be co-existing here.

There’s nothing wrong for being unequal/different to one another.

Some people are more smart and intelligent while some are less smart and intelligent. Some are more hardworking while some are less hardworking. Some are more educated and highly experienced while some are less educated and less experienced. Some behave nastily while some behave nicely. Some are more loving and forgiving while some are less loving and forgiving. Some are more strong and flexible while some are less strong and flexible. Some are more patient and tolerant while some are less patient and tolerant. Some are more successful and have easier life condition while some are less successful and have harder life condition. Some are more healthy and active while some are less healthy and less active. Some are more sociable while some are less sociable. Some are more obedient while some are more rebellious. Some are fairer while some are darker. Some are taller/heavier while some are shorter/lighter. Some are more talented and skillful while some are less talented and less skillful. Some are more expressive while some are less expressive. Some are extrovert while some are introvert. Some are more aggressive while some are less aggressive. Some like the taste of sourness while some dislike the taste of sourness. Some like spicy food while some dislike spicy food. Some believe in spirituality and God while some disbelieve in spirituality and God, and so on.

Above all, what people want, is about having ‘equal rights’ to live and move freely in this world. That’s what most people are fighting for, to have ‘equal rights’ regardless of all the different qualities of names and forms. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

All these matter very much to those who don’t know thyself, who haven’t realize the truth of names and forms, or ‘who/what I am’, and whether wittingly or unwittingly, there’s discrimination from oneself towards oneself and towards others due the attachment and identification towards certain qualities of names and forms that one likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. There’s always comparison, competition, judgment, criticism and expectation towards oneself and others based on the particular standard of quality of names and forms that one likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. There’s longing for acknowledgement, acceptance, respect, agreement, deserving treatment, cooperation and support from others towards one’s thinking/belief/actions/advocacy/ambition/desires. There’s fighting against something that the mind think is ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘unfair’, or ‘undeserving’.

But the existence and non-existence of all the different qualities of names and forms, and the worldly political/social/religious/cultural game of ‘equal rights’ and ‘non-equal rights’, really doesn’t matter to those who know thyself, who realized the truth of names and forms, of impermanence and selflessness, or who/what is this ‘I’.

Oneself is free from judgment, expectation and discrimination towards all the different qualities of names and forms, while allowing others who have judgment, expectation and discrimination towards oneself and others to be what they are, without being disturbed or determined by the judgment, expectation and discrimination from others, or not being given the ‘equal rights’ or ‘deserving treatment’. One is not interested in ‘equal rights’ or ‘deserving treatment’. As whether everyone is being given ‘equal rights’ and ‘deserving treatment’, or not, it doesn’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness, and it doesn’t guarantee/determine that all the minds will be free from ignorance and egoism and suffering, or not.

Be free.

Women doesn’t need to compete with men, or with other women, and vice versa, to show that one can be as good as or better than the other. No one are equal to one another. None need to be having the same/similar/equal quality/ability/achievement like one another. No doubt that there will be higher and lower quality existing in all the different names and forms, which are subject to impermanence and selflessness. It’s okay if some people are ‘better’ than some others in certain things, and vice versa. There’s also nothing wrong that in all kinds of competition, where somebody will standout, excel and win while the others didn’t win. Somebody wins a competition because there are the others who don’t standout/excel as much as the one who wins that allows ‘this person’ to win, it doesn’t mean that those who didn’t win are ‘bad’, or ‘not good’, or ‘not good enough’. Those who understand this will never feel bad or bitter when they didn’t win in any competition.

Acknowledging, accepting and respecting all the differences among each other. Each has their very own duty, responsibility, function, condition, limitation, ability and disability, while all and everyone/everything existing to be complementing and supporting one another.

Beyond all the different qualities of names and forms, it’s selflessness, oneness, non-separateness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness. There’s neither discrimination nor non-discrimination. There’s neither equal rights nor non-equal rights.

In the end, everyone will realize that all are equal, anyway, where all and everything will pass away, regardless of all the different qualities of names and forms, having easy life or difficult life, and be given ‘equal rights’ to do and achieve what we want to do and achieve, or not.